Willie Calls All Eccentrics. (Will's World)

By Manley, Will | American Libraries, June-July 2002 | Go to article overview

Willie Calls All Eccentrics. (Will's World)


Manley, Will, American Libraries


If you're looking for a place to hold a big conference, it's tough to beat Atlanta--the city that best symbolizes the New South, in a unique urban setting that blends a traditional Southern culture with an innovative high-tech economy. Without a doubt, when I think of Atlanta I am reminded of Ted Turner, the man who is one part Rhett Butler and one part Bill Gates. No other city has been so closely identified with one man as Atlanta has with Ted Turner. No one dominated an American city like Turner dominated Atlanta. He's been the dashing and debonair swashbuckler who revolutionized the telecommunications industry. In a world of colorless entrepreneurs who take pride in their withdrawn geekiness, Turner has stood out boldly as a larger-than-life protagonist on the stage of high-stakes financial drama. This big brass band of a man is a throwback to the days when the captains of industry dominated the national scene. He's a present-day version of Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie. There's no one else like him. He's one of a kind, a man who can be captured by no stereotype or personality profile. Turner is also the man who put Atlanta on the map as the home of the Cable News Network (CNN) and the Atlanta Braves baseball team.

Atlanta, of course, is the place where librarians will gather June 13-19 from all corners of Libraryland for the American Library Association Annual Conference. This yearly celebration is the setting for many time-honored traditions--trade shows, programs, celebrity speakers, seminars, banquets, author signings, and scores of honors and awards. It's the one week during the year when we librarians get together and celebrate our many achievements and accomplishments. It's the week when we roll out the red carpet for our colleagues who have distinguished themselves as authors, managers, trustees, catalogers, Friends, storytellers, and reference librarians.

As fulfilling as these award ceremonies may be for the ones who are being honored, there is always an empty feeling for those library people who will never have an opportunity to win an award. …

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