Press Releases 2003 May

May 9, 2003

Dear ALA Members, Vendor Partners and Staff:

As you can imagine, the past days have been difficult for everyone. The American Library Association’s (ALA) review of the health situation in Toronto required a great deal of time and thought, especially with events and information changing daily. It is my heartfelt belief that going to Toronto is the right thing for me and my family to do, and I hope you will join us there.

The ALA Executive Board spent hours consulting with international and national health officials about the occurrence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Only after weighing all of the issues, the Board made the unanimous decision to keep the 2003 Annual Conference in Toronto, June 19-25.

Planning for 2003 Annual Conference is on track, with an exciting line-up of speakers and programs, plus the Scholarship Bash featuring operatic sensation Three Mo’ Tenors and Canadian Blues/Rock phenomenon Jeff Healey. This first joint conference with Canada in more than thirty years promises to be a hit. However, the real key to our success is you -- both ALA members and staff – and your support and participation in this landmark conference.

As ALA has stressed all along, the health and well being of members, staff and the library community have been our primary concern. Of course, we will continue to monitor the health situation in Toronto closely. As information professionals, I urge you to visit the Web sites of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and make your own informed decision. Also, the ALA Web site will be updated continuously with the latest information regarding Toronto.

Thank you again for your patience, understanding and support. I hope to see you in beautiful Toronto.

Warmest Regards,

Maurice J. Freedman

2002-2003 President

American Library Association