Guest Blogger

Kal Penn Closes Out #PLA2022

I found it interesting that Kal Penn brought us back to the concept of Imposter Syndrome this evening as the closing speaker for #PLA2022. Of course, not everyone may have attended the Career Self-Care Session where Erin Collier-Plummer spoke of managing imposter syndrome, but I had and so it struck a chord. Why do so many of us not give ourselves enough credit for being the right person for a job – having the qualifications and the passion to do it and do it well?

Hearing Kal Penn’s journey from being a successful actor to serving as Associate Director of White Office for Public Engagement for President Barack Obama was inspiring enough. But after entertaining us with the details, I was surprised to hear Kal Penn talk of Imposter Syndrome – that even this accomplished individual was hesitant about his qualifications. What resonated with me was that it was his manager who shared that Kal was interested and who set things in motion in a passing conversation with First Lady Michelle Obama. May we all have such good friends in moments of self-doubt.

Kal Penn’s role in the White House may have been initiated by his manager, but the actor, writer, and producer champions the work of his colleagues – speaking glowingly of the author, screenplay writer, and director of Namesake, recommending his friend John Cho’s book Troublemaker, and finishing with a touching recognition of the role of librarians. In his youth, he spent time at the public library not only because of “the magical worlds that books bring us into, but also the immense possibilities”. Kal Penn says that librarians’ work and dedication make this possible. We should not doubt our abilities.


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

Guest conference blogger Melinda Sandkam (she/her) will complete the MSIS program at University of Tennessee this May. She attended the last in-person ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, January 2020, but sadly missed out on PLA in Nashville. She has enjoyed attending many conferences, webinars and symposiums online in past two years. As Melinda pursues a job in Outreach Librarianship, she looks forward to attending future conferences in person, but this time around is excited to enjoy her first PLA virtually. Melinda hopes that library associations will continue to offer virtual options moving forward in order to make them accessible to all. Whether in-person or virtual, dark chocolate is an essential snack for making it through a conference day!


#PLA2022 Conference Bloggers offered great overviews during the conference. Today we offer five more posts from the Public Library Association gathering in Portland last week. (This is post 5 of 5.) To see more posts, just search the ALSC Blog using the keyword #PLA2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.