- LibLearnX 2022

ALA President Patty Wong in Conversation with U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono #LibLearnX

It’s not every day that the first female Asian-American U.S. Senator and the first Asian American ALA president sit down and talk together!

Today’s opening session was a kaleidoscope of thought, feeling, and action. Senator Hirono discussed her new memoir Heart of Fire, the story of her mother’s grit, grace, and resilience. The conversation developed into an intricate discussion of personal and professional values, including diversity, national identity, and using our voice.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Every person has a voice. Use it! 
  • Speaking out can mean small things.
  • Ask deep questions about systems and the world.
  • Books broaden our horizons and expand our thinking.
  • Be anti-racist: diversity makes our country strong.
  • Encounter each other with grace, not divisiveness.

ALA President Wong shared pieces of her family story as well. The two women together reflected on art, the state of the world, and then offered a call to action. They invited each of us to speak out in our own ways. 

A note: Halfway through the discussion, Senator Hirono mentioned her childhood librarian, Ms. Petry. “She awakened my love of reading,” Hirono said.

Never forget, my fellow children’s librarians: What we do matters. What YOU do matters. 


Conference Blogger Katie Clausen is the Early Literacy Services Manager at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL. Katie’s specialties include: early literacy, children’s literature evaluation, play-based learning, and best storytime practices. As a member of the ALSC Notable Recordings committee, Katie is most excited about collaborating with others to select the final list. A member of ALA and ALSC since 2012, and loves a conference snack of Ghirardelli peppermint bark.


Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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