Librarians' Convention Was One for the Books

By Hyman, Julie | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 13, 1998 | Go to article overview

Librarians' Convention Was One for the Books


Hyman, Julie, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Librarians were too numerous to shush at the annual American Library Association Conference, held at the Washington Convention Center June 25 to July 3. The conference, the largest expected to come to the District this summer, boasted an attendance of 24,798. Tourism officials estimate the librarians and spent more than $34 million on hotel, meals, entertainment and transportation during their stay.

The ALA chose the District for its conference location because it is the nation's capital.

"We think it is a good idea to meet there periodically," said Linda Wallace, director of the ALA's public information office. The ALA rotates its conference site by region, and it was the East Coast's turn to host the event.

Accessibility was another reason for the location choice, and members responded; attendance at the event was one of the highest ever. Almost half of the ALA's 57,000 members, with 400 coming from other countries, came to the conference. They stayed at 36 area hotels, 26 of which were also used to hold meetings.

One important issue of the conference was technology, which "is having a huge impact on libraries," Mrs. Wallace said. Sessions discussed digital copyright laws and Internet legislation. Other sessions included debates between literary luminaries and tips on fund raising.

The ALA is the largest library association in the world, formed in 1876. It represents public and private libraries worldwide, and is headquartered in Chicago. The association performs various functions, from awarding the Newbery and Caldecott medals for children's books to lobbying the federal government.

As evidenced by the conference attendance, the library business is good at present. "As compared to the first half of the '90s, we're seeing a renaissance in public libraries across the country," Mrs. Wallace said.

ON THE MOVE

Four education associations are transforming themselves from renters to owners as they move into a newly renovated building.

The American Association for Teacher Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education will be moving to 1307 New York Ave. NW, formerly the Washington Herald newspaper offices, at different dates throughout the summer.

"Purchasing our own facilities with three other groups will allow us to work closer together," said Wayne V. …

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