Latest information regarding ALA Annual Conference in Toronto

May 28, 2003

Does the American Library Association (ALA) plan to cancel its conference in Toronto?

As of May 28, the ALA plans to continue with its 2003 Annual Meeting in Toronto, June 19-25.
Members of the ALA Executive Board talked today with a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) medical team to gather the most complete information possible. In addition, the ALA Executive Board discussed the most recent updates from the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). ALA leaders and staff continue to monitor the situation closely, and the Executive Board plans to meet regularly leading up to the conference.

ALA members are encouraged to review all information available from medical authorities in relationship to their own health situations and concerns and make the decision that is best for them.

Don’t the new SARS cases in Toronto change things?

While new cases of SARS have been reported in Toronto, the WHO and CDC are not now recommending any restrictions on travel to the city.
Based on current information from these health authorities, the ALA is continuing with plans to hold its Annual Conference in Toronto.

The CDC has re-instated a travel alert
providing advice about specific travel precautions, but has no plans at this time to issue an advisory since all of the reported cases have been hospital based and not in the wider community. For the latest information from the WHO, visit

Is it too late to cancel the conference?

No. The health of our members, staff, exhibitors and wider library community is our top priority.
The most recent SARS cases appear to still be contained in hospital settings.
If this were to change, the ALA would take this into consideration.
We will not ignore any new developments.

Can individuals get refunds on registration fees?

Although the original cancellation deadline was May 19, 2003, cancellations will be honored from now until Annual Conference. However, because of the proximity to Annual Conference, a $40 processing fee per event (pre-conference and regular registration) will have to be applied. If you would like to request a refund, you can e-mail your requests to or fax your request to 312-280-1538.

Can exhibitors get their registrations refunded?

The date for exhibitors to cancel and receive a refund was April 11.
Under these extraordinary circumstances, however, the ALA will be more flexible with policies.
Therefore, exhibitors who cancel after April 11 will receive a 50 percent credit towards ALA 2004 Annual Conference, after an administrative processing fee
of $100 per 100 square feet is deducted
So, if you had a 10 X 10 booth, you will receive an $850 credit toward your booth space in Orlando.
Unfortunately, the ALA cannot award a year of exhibitor seniority to exhibitors that do not attend the 2003 Annual Conference.

What are the current registration numbers?
Have people cancelled in light of the new cases?

As of May 30, about 9,860 attendees were registered. Since April, ALA has received about 1,400 cancellations.