| By Hilary Fox |
As I walked through the lobby to the ballroom where Chelsea Clinton was about to speak, there was a concert like buzz in the air for the closing session of TLA. Conference attendees waited in line for hours, occasionally rattling the locked doors in anticipation—all waiting to see the former First Daughter, now political advocate and notable author. The accomplished Dr. Clinton—she has her doctorate in international global governance with a focus on global health—did not disappoint.
After a lovely introduction by Terry Roper of ESC 10 in Dallas, Chelsea approached the podium with all the poise of a seasoned speaker. Chelsea is promoting her children’s book It’s Your World and her soon to be released picture book She Persisted. She noted her own childhood inspiration came from the book 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth and believes that advocacy can begin at any age with even the slightest gesture. Chelsea’s advocacy for education and the environment began early in her life and continue to be her primary platform today. Her grandmother, Dorothy, was huge influence throughout her life. Dorothy’s account of her childhood during the Great Depression shaped Chelsea’s view of our world and the importance of an education. She also spoke of young activists Haile and Celia—both who chose projects that spoke to their hearts and started campaigns that now have national notoriety. The common theme for both girls-persistence. The “I Will______ What Will You do? #itsyourworld” campaign encourages kids to look to the future, grasp the possibilities, and move toward an empowered tomorrow.
Dr. Rose Brock joined Chelsea on stage for a Q/A discussing Chelsea’s family, her writing processes, and her personal inspiration for writing. Chelsea’s own children shape her view of the world and her concern for the future. She is a champion for science and equal rights. She wants a country where all kids can close the imagination gap with unlimited opportunities through education and effort. Chelsea shared that she and her daughter, Charlotte, ritualistically read The Paper Bag Princess nightly. Story time combined with weekly trips to the library are turning Charlotte into an early book lover and creating critical thinking that Chelsea acknowledges, “can be challenging.” She will take on the challenge knowing those are the skills that serve us well in the 21st Century.
Chelsea closed with “there is a joy in purpose, possibility and persistence.” The library community would agree we are a place of inspiration and discovery, embracing those who persist in seeking truth in knowledge.