TLA Welcomes LeVar Burton to 2016 Annual Conference

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LeVar Burton to Deliver Opening General Session 
at 2016 Texas Library Association Conference

LeVar Burton 

Press Release  
February 22, 2016 

Sara Ortiz | Communications & Marketing Specialist | 512-328-1518

– February 22, 2016 – The Texas Library Association (TLA) announced today that LeVar Burton, Emmy-award winner and host and executive producer of the PBS series Reading Rainbow, will deliver the Opening General Session at the TLA Annual Conference in Houston, TX. The event will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 8:30am.

LeVar Burton, honored recipient of a Grammy and five NAACP Awards, is a household name. Known for this work in the landmark 1977 television production of Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation, the actor, director, and author is also a committed reading and literacy enthusiast. His work on Reading Rainbow has earned critical attention.

“TLA is thrilled to welcome LeVar Burton to Texas. He will share a passionate message of storytelling in a digital age,” said TLA Executive Director Patricia Smith. “We’re proud to share in his commitment to improving children’s education through innovative uses of storytelling. It’s what libraries do.”

In 2012 Burton launched RRKidz, a digital educational publishing company. Reading Rainbow was reimagined to combine today’s forms of media and technology with the goal of inspiring a new generation of children to love reading. The all-new Reading Rainbow is a digital reading service filled with over 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, newly produced video field trips and new content added every week. With over 16 million books and videos enjoyed since launch, Reading Rainbow is the number one educational app on iTunes and recipient of numerous awards.

Most recently, Burton turned to Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow to children everywhere, especially to classrooms in need. The campaign met its 35-day goal of raising $1 million in less than 11 hours and became the most popular Kickstarter campaign with a final tally of over $6.4 million. As a result, in 2015 RRKidz introduced Reading Rainbow EDU. Burton’s first children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, was published in 2014.

At the 2016 TLA Annual Conference, more than 7,500 industry professionals will gather over four days, with 200 information and library leaders, policy experts, and authors to cover topics including technology trends, makerspaces, literacy initiatives, advocacy, administration sessions, among numerous of today’s most pressing information and education issues. Continuing its tradition of serving as the premier marketplace of ideas and information services, the TLA Annual Conference will also host close to 500 companies, publishers, media outlets, and professional library services organizations.

General Session I is free for all individuals registered for the 2016 TLA Annual Conference.  The TLA Annual Conference, taking place in Houston, April 19 – 22, 2016, examines the practices and coming trends libraries are using to advance education, literacy, and robust digital citizenship. The 2016 conference theme is “Open Libraries: Open Opportunities.”

For more information and registration details on the 2016 TLA Conference, please visit

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About the Texas Library Association

TLA is the largest state library association in the country with over 7,000 members who work in public, school, academic, and special libraries and who support educational institutions. TLA offers a wide range of services, including advocacy, continuing education, research, and public relations. To learn more about TLA, visit TLA’s website or call 512-328-1518.

Created on Feb 22, 2016 | Last updated February 22, 2016


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