2003 Annual Conference registration remains strong

Larra Clark, Press Officer


For Immediate Release

May 9, 2003

2003 Annual Conference registration remains strong

Nader joins Atwood, Steinem, Smeal as featured speakers

American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference organizers announced today that 9,290 people have registered for the 2003 Annual Conference in Toronto, June 19-25.
In 2002, 7,811 people had registered for the Annual Conference in Atlanta prior to this date.

“The ALA Executive Board’s decision to keep the Conference in Toronto has received a lot of support. Registrants have evaluated the information available to them from health authorities regarding Toronto and attendance remains strong,” said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “Members have told us they are excited about the unique joint programs, and all of the vendors I have talked to remain committed to the conference.”

ALA Conference Services Director Deidre Irwin Ross added: “Members and the greater library community are still enthusiastic about going to Toronto, and we expect to have a very well-attended gathering. The joint ALA/CLA Annual Conference will be a success despite some bumps in the road, and we are looking forward to welcoming attendees and vendors to an educational and entertaining event in Toronto.”

The ALA Annual Conference is the world’s largest and most comprehensive library conference and exhibition. Drawing librarians, educators, writers, publishers and special guests, the conference includes more than 2,000 meetings, discussion groups and programs on topics affecting libraries. Exhibitors will feature the latest and best library products and services.

According to Jon Malinowski, president of the Combined Book Exhibit, a long-time ALA exhibitor: “Since the WHO (World Health Organization) lifted the travel advisory to Toronto, we’re more than happy to support ALA and our friends in Canada, as they did for us in NY after 9/11. We’ve known since last fall that we would have more than 50 publishing executives personally attending from the U.S., Germany, Spain and Mexico. To date, not one person has cancelled.”

This week the ALA also announced several additional feature speakers for the 2003 Annual Conference in Toronto, June 19-25.
Ralph Nader, consumer advocate and founder of the D.C. Library Renaissance Project; Naomi Klein, activist and author of “No Logo”;
Karen Nussbaum, founder of 9-5 Women’s Labor Movement; and architect
Gunnar Birkerts, who designed the National Library of Latvia and the combined San Jose Public Library/San Jose State University Library will take the stage as part of a series of ALA President Programs.

Acclaimed author and Canadian literary treasure Margaret Atwood and her seminal book “The Handmaid’s Tale” will take centerstage as part of the first-ever “One Book, One Conference” program.
Bringing a national movement to Annual Conference, the ALA Public Programs has organized six discussion sessions that culminate in the Public Library Association’s (PLA) President’s Program with the author.
As an added bonus, Random House has donated more than 100 of Atwood’s newest book “Oryx and Crake” to be raffled to conference participants.

“These are not your average discussion groups - where else will you have the opportunity to sit down and talk about a book with fellow librarians from across North America and not need to be in charge of organizing anything?” said ALA Public Programs Director Deb Robertson.

Canadian Jeff Healey will join headliners 3 Mo’ Tenors at the ALA Scholarship Bash Sunday night; Gloria Steinem and Eleanor Smeal will jumpstart the Auditorium Speaker Series Saturday morning; and dozens of authors will be on hand for signings and conversations on the exhibit floor.
Chuck Rosenberg, counsel to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will be the featured guest at a Saturday morning Washington Office briefing on the USA Patriot Act, and the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) will take up the topic Saturday afternoon with a program “The USA Patriot Act: Managing Libraries in the Age of Terrorism.”

ALA divisions also are anticipating a full house in Toronto.
Preconferences range from “Due North: A Cross Border Dialogue” to “Breaking Free: Recreating Your Library Web Site from A-Z” to “SLAM THIS! Poetry for and with Teens.”

“AASL (American Association of School Librarians) members are looking forward to the international flavor of the conference,” said AASL and YALSA Executive Director Julie Walker of ALA. “In addition to a joint President's Program and Reception, AASL and the Canadian School Library Association are jointly featuring almost two dozen events and programs that will allow school library media specialists and teacher-librarians from both sides of the border to share best practices in school librarianship.”

For the most up-to-date conference information, please visit the ALA home page and click on the “Annual Conference” icon on the right.