Imagine the Possibilities

Full Day Preconference

Understanding Identity, Power, Oppression + Liberation: A Justice + Equity Training

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 202 AB

Looking to embed equity work in your library? This preconference will engage dialogue and activities to build skills and organizational capacity to address institutionalized racism and oppression. Participants will explore our identities to understand how power and privilege operate interpersonally and institutionally; learn how oppression shows up in our communities and libraries; study historical and contemporary social movements that model equitable and anti-oppressive spaces; and develop action plans to advance equity work in your organization.

The free PLA on-demand webinar, “Understanding Power, Identity, and Oppression in the Public Library,” is an excellent primer to this preconference.

At the end of this session, participants will:

1: Gain increased awareness of how their identities, positions, and privileges inform their work and be situated to address those biases in their individual roles and in their institutions
2: Understand institutionalized racism and oppression, how they come to be established, and how they are perpetuated
3: Identify systems of oppression and articulate approaches to address them in their institutions

The session organizer(s) identified this session as appropriate for:
Level 1: People with no previous knowledge of the topic.

Tags: Preconference, Advocacy, Equity of Access, Hot Topics, Multicultural Services, Social Change


Amita Lonial, Program Services Manager
San Diego County Library , San Diego , CA

Amita Lonial (she/her/hers) is the Principal Librarian for Learning, Marketing and Engagement at San Diego County Library. Prior to becoming a librarian she spent 8 years in the non-profit sector organizing for racial and economic justice. She is deeply committed to exploring how libraries can create resilient and equitable communities through public programs and services.

Lois Langer Thompson, Director
Hennepin County Library , Minnetonka , MN

Lois Langer Thompson (she/her/hers) is Director of Hennepin County Library. She oversees 41 public libraries, the Hennepin County Law Library, a collection of more than 5 million items, an award-winning website (, and services to county residents who are homebound, or in senior residences or correctional facilities. Her focus on innovative, sustainable and accessible library service has helped ensure county residents have the opportunity and resources they need to read, graduate, engage, work and learn.

Mia Henry, Executive Director
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College , Kalamazoo , MI

Mia Henry (she/her/hers) is Executive Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. She has more than 18 years of experience in nonprofit management, social justice facilitation, leadership development, and civic and history education. Mia is also a consultant who leads justice+equity trainings and civil rights tour experiences throughout the Deep South for groups of all ages who wish to deepen their understanding about civil rights and social justice.


Registration for this preconference is now closed, but limited space may be available onsite.

For questions about…

Cancellation Policy

The PLA 2018 Conference is offered on a cost-recovery basis. PLA reserves the right to cancel all or any part of this event if there is insufficient registration or for other reasons. Neither ALA nor PLA is responsible for cancellation charges assessed by the airlines or travel agencies, or other losses incurred due to the cancellation of the workshops. All information listed on this website is subject to change.

Attendee Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until February 23, 2018, and are subject to a $30 handling fee. Refunds will be processed after April 23, 2018. According to PLA policy, all meal events require preregistration. The above cancellation/change information also applies to all preconferences, meal events, and tours. No meal tickets will be sold onsite.

Exhibitor Cancellation Policy

All booth space cancellation requests must be received in writing by Show Management (Corcoran Expositions). If space is reduced, the net reduction of space will be treated as a cancellation of that space. If Show Management receives a written request for cancellation of space on or before October 31, 2017, the exhibitor will be eligible for a refund less the nonrefundable deposit of $950 per 100 square feet of exhibit space. For cancellations received after October 31, 2017, exhibitors are liable for 100% of the cost of space.


Print and electronic advertising opportunities are available to reach PLA members and attendees both before and during the conference.


Interested in exhibiting at PLA 2018? Contact Carly DiVito, Corcoran Expositions, at 312-541-0567 or


Contact Macey Morales, Deputy Director, ALA Public Awareness Office, 312-280-4393 or Please review our conference media policy.


ALA and PLA membership is managed by the ALA Membership & Customer Service (MACS) unit. You can join or renew/rejoin/add to your membership using ALA’s secure online form; or you can print and fill out a membership form and fax or mail it in; or call 800-545-2433 and press 5. Direct your membership questions to MACS at or 800-545-2433 and press 5. MACS representatives are available Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM Central.

Registration & Housing

Problems or questions regarding registration or housing? Contact Experient at or 800-424-5249 (U.S. and Canada)/847-996-5829 (all other countries). Experient representatives are available Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–6:00 PM Eastern.


To discuss PLA 2018 sponsorship opportunities, contact Corcoran Expositions, Mary Michalik at 312-265-9650,; or Matt McLaughlin at 312-265-9655,

Thank You PLA 2018 Conference Sponsors!

Other Questions

Many commonly asked questions are answered in our FAQ. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for, please contact PLA at 800-545-2433 x5PLA (x5752) or Or the PLA Staff directory may help you find just the right person to ask.

PLA 2016 Archive

Looking for handouts and other information from the PLA 2016 Conference, which took place April 5–9, 2016 in Denver, CO? The PLA 2016 Conference website has been archived at

View the list of past PLA Conferences from 1983 to present.