American, Canadian associations convene hundreds of programs at world's largest library conference

Larra Clark, Press Officer


For Immediate Release

May 9, 2003

American, Canadian associations convene hundreds of programs at world’s largest library conference

Ralph Nader, Margaret Atwood, Gloria Steinem among featured speakers in Toronto, June 19-25

(Chicago) For the first time in 40 years, the American Library Association (ALA) and the Canadian Library Association (CLA) will convene together in Canada the world’s largest and most comprehensive library conference and exhibition.
Thousands of librarians, educators, writers, publishers and special guests will attend more than 2,000 meetings, discussion groups and programs on topics affecting libraries June 19-25 in Toronto.

Featured speakers include Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), sponsor of the Freedom to Read Protection Act, which would restore protections for the privacy of book and library records that were eliminated by the U.S.A. Patriot Act; 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.

The Opening General Session with Congressman Sanders on Saturday evening culminates a day of programs related to privacy and confidentiality in libraries.
Chuck Rosenberg, counsel to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and George Radwanski, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, will be the featured guests at a Saturday morning briefing on the Patriot Act and other legislation affecting the privacy of library users, 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.”

Award-winning author and broadcaster Rex Murphy and Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management at the University of Toronto Janice Gross Stein will keynote Wendy Newman’s CLA President’s Program on Sunday morning.

Nader will be the keynote speaker for Maurice J. Freedman’s ALA President’s Program Sunday afternoon for an exploration of the impact of current political and economic conditions on library funding and library salaries.

Acclaimed author 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.
To date, more than 140 communities in 49 U.S. states and Canada have hosted community-wide reading programs.
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.

A gala celebration to honor the 2003 winners of the Canadian Library Association Children's Book of the Year Award, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award and the Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year Award will take place Saturday evening.

Canadian Jeff Healey will be one of the performers 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.

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.”

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