Annual Conference offers tastes of New Orleans culture, history

Contact: Larra Clark

ALA Media Relations

For Immediate Release

May 10, 2006

Annual Conference offers tastes of New Orleans culture, history

Programs include "Politics, Race and Law," jazz breakfast, state poet laureate

CHICAGO – In addition to the New Orleans City Tour, swamp tours and Moonlight on the Mississippi tours, the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference will offer attendees a veritable stew of local culture and history through a broad range of programs in New Orleans. Music, literature, politics and community-building are all on the menu June 22-28, but time is running out for discount rates to attend. Preregistration for the conference draws to a close next Friday, May 19.

The ALA Diversity Office will kick off the conference with its second annual Many Voices, One Nation program. This free reading event starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and commemorates the tragedy and courage witnessed in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricanes.

Brenda Marie Osbey, poet laureate of Louisiana ("All Saints: New and Collected Poems, LSU Press, 1997) will take the LIVE @ your library® stage on the exhibit show floor Saturday, June 24, at 1:30 p.m.

The Association for College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Law and Political Science Section will host "Beyond Katrina: Politics, Race and Law" with three panelists specializing in Louisiana politics, the Louisiana legal system, and racial politics. They will discuss the complexities of doing academic research and the controversies surrounding Katrina Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Booklist magazine will bring together a panel of authors that use Louisiana settings, including NPR commentator Roy Blount and novelist Susan Straight, to discuss their new books and share ideas about recent events in New Orleans. The program runs 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 25.

The ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table will highlight "Drag Kings of New Orleans: Documenting Cultural History" Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Presenters from the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women will discuss their project to document the history of drag kings in New Orleans and across the United States.

The ALA Office for Literacy & Outreach Services (OLOS) will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a New Orleans jazz breakfast Monday at 7:30 a.m. The morning includes a tribute to past ALA President Carla Hayden and Virginia H. Mathews, who proposed the OLOS concept more than 30 years ago. Tickets are $43 in advance or $50 on site.

The ALA Office for Diversity will offer its second "diversions" tour, which affords conference goers an up-close and personal encounter with the host city’s diverse cultures. This year ’s "Hearts and Hands" tour will be to the Nora Navra branch of the New Orleans Public Library. The library was the second branch in the city created for African American users and is located in the Tremè neighborhood, which was home to "free people of color" during slavery. Participants will clean the branch for the first time after Katrina. The $65 tour heads out at 8:30 a.m. Monday and includes a southern-style lunch.

Multicultural roots form the core of New Orleans’ history. ACRL’s Western European Studies Section and the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) History Section will explore "Im migration, Ethnicities and Historical Research in New Orleans" Monday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Panelists will discuss the historical chronology and impact of immigration on the city.

Literacy advocates will enjoy an afternoon of library literacy conversation and New Orleans hospitality at the Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy Monday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. " Reaching into the Community and Discovering Services, Strengths, and Stories" will bring together Boggs Center staff and representatives from the Literacy Alliance of Greater New Orleans to chare organizational and personal experiences pre- and post-Katrina. The Boggs Center is located in the Monroe Library of Loyola University New Orleans.

ACRL and RUSA are divisions of the ALA.

The ALA Annual Conference will bring roughly $20 million in economic activity to New Orleans. It is the largest library gathering in the world, bringing together more than 2,000 meetings, discussion groups, special events, tours and programs on various topics affecting libraries and librarians. For more information on the conference, please visit

The ALA is the voice of America’s libraries.