ACRL 13th National Conference draws record-breaking attendance in Baltimore


Macey Morales

ACRL Media Relations


For Immediate Release

April 3, 2007

ACRL 13th National Conference draws record-breaking attendance in Baltimore

BALTIMORE - National Public Radio's award-winning legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg closed the13th national conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). More than 4,700 library staff, exhibitors, authors and guests packed the Baltimore Convention Center, March 29 - April 1, 2007. The conference brought more than $4.9 million dollars to the city of Baltimore, making it the 11th largest association convention scheduled to take place in 2007.

The conference theme "Sailing into the Future - Charting our Destiny," offered more than 250 programs where library leaders discussed pressing issues affecting academic and research libraries. Programs included a full range of invited and contributed papers, panels, poster sessions, workshops, forums, Cyber Zed Shed presentations, and roundtable discussions. Key areas of discussion included interactive gaming; social networking technology; the future of reference and online searching; open access to research; collection management, federated searching; distance learning; teaching and learning; 'Amazoogle' and its influence on librarianship and recruitment to the profession.

"To remain as an essential part of the learning community, it's important to continuously reinvent ourselves, and the many services offered in our academic libraries," said ACRL President Pamela Snelson. "This conference has given the academic community an opportunity to explore the changing nature and roles of academic and research libraries and librarianship."

Attendees who arrived early had their choice of six day-long preconferences that ranged in topics from digital copyright, knowledge management to strategies for outreach and integration.

A keynote session featuring best-selling author and scholar Michael Eric Dyson opened the conference. Dyson began his remarks by thanking librarians and library workers for their efforts to overcome the division of race and class by promoting literacy. "It's important to remind ourselves of the importance of literacy and knowledge," said Dyson. "You change lives as arbiters of enlightenment for the future of American civilization."

More than 2,500 conference goers attended the Keynote Luncheon headlined by filmmaker John Waters. A Baltimore native, Waters is known for films that push the boundary of conventional propriety and censorship. During the luncheon Waters discussed how libraries and librarians influenced his career, and offered suggestions on how to increase library usage. Waters' remarks were peppered with quotes like "we need to make books cool again," "there's a book for everyone" and "it's difficult to commit a crime when you're reading a book."

Waters' book signing, which took place on the exhibit floor shortly after the luncheon, also was well attended. Attendees lined up by the hundreds for the opportunity to meet Waters.

The exhibit hall was filled with more than 220 exhibiting companies who discussed and demonstrated the latest in products and services for academic libraries and their users.

Those who were not able to attend the conference in Baltimore were able to participate via the Web. The ACRL Virtual Conference, held March 30 - 31, offered live, interactive Web casts of select speakers, as well as text-based discussion boards, blogs, speaker materials and more.

The next ACRL National Conference themed "Pushing the Edge: Explore, Engage, Extend," will be held in Seattle in 2009 at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center from March 12 - 15.

ACRL is a division of the American Library Association (ALA), representing more than 13,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.