Opening Keynote, David McCandless

David McCandless is a British data-journalist, author, and information designer. He creates stunning infographics that explore new directions for journalism and discover new stories among the vast amount of data surrounding us. His three books  – The Visual Miscellaneum, Knowledge is Beautiful, Information is Beautiful – along with his blog help people visualize captivating and intriguing patterns and connections across economics, philosophy, art, science, health, and pop culture.

McCandless describes how combining the language of the eye with the language of the mind enhances our understanding of complex data. He believes that the Internet has turned us all into visualizers for whom processing graphic information is effortless. According to McCandless, data visualization is becoming increasingly important because it enables knowledge compression, allowing an enormous amount of information to be packed into a small space.

His design work has appeared in over forty publications internationally including The Guardian, Wired, and Die Zeit and his pieces have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Wellcome Trust gallery in London, and at the Tate Britain.


Baltimore Skyline
Hampden Street Shopping

Middle Keynote, Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is an author and cultural critic whose writing is widely revered for its reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism and social criticism. Her work garners international acclaim for her deft eye on modern culture and for the signature wit and ferocity of her critiques. She is the author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, and the forthcoming Difficult Women and Hunger to be published in 2017. An Untamed State, Gay’s novel about a kidnapped Haitian-American woman, is currently being adapted for film.

One of her latest projects is the new Marvel comic Black Panther: World of Wakanda that will premiere in November 2016. A companion series to Marvel’s Black Panther, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, World of Wakanda is co-written by Gay and the poet Yona Harvey. Gay is one of the first-ever black women to write for Marvel comics.

Roxane is also a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times, co-editor of PANK and was the non-fiction editor at The Rumpus. Her writing has also appeared in McSweeney’s, The Nation and many other publications. In addition, Gay fronts a small army of avid fans on Twitter.


Closing Keynote, Carla Hayden

Carla Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress. She is the first woman and first African-American to fill the post. After graduating from Roosevelt University and receiving her master’s and doctorate degrees in Library Science from the University of Chicago, she began her career as a children’s librarian at the Chicago Public Library. In 1993 she was appointed to the Director at Enoch Pratt Free Library. She was honored as the national Librarian of the Year by Library Journal in 1995 after she created an outreach program for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling.

Hayden served as 2003–04 ALA President and was vocal in her public opposition to the Patriot Act, saying the national security law passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks gave law enforcement “unprecedented powers of surveillance — including easy access to library records with minimal judicial oversight.”

Along with her objections of the Patriot Act, Hayden has done much in her career in outreach programs with an emphasis on equality of access. As ALA President she wrote: “At a time when our public is challenged on multiple fronts, we need to recommit ourselves to the ideal of providing equal access to everyone, anywhere, anytime, and in any format. . . . By finally embracing equity of access we will be affirming our core values, recognizing realities, and assuring our future.”

On February 24, 2016, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress. In a press release from the White House, President Obama stated, “Hayden has devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today’s digital culture. She has the proven experience, dedication, and deep knowledge of our nation’s libraries to serve our country well…” Hayden was subsequently confirmed by a 74-18 vote in the United States Senate on July 13, 2016.

Fortune magazine ranked Hayden among the World’s 50 greatest leaders in 2016.

Camden Yards

Dave Munch, Baltimore Sun Media Group