A Record Crowd in Chicago
Much to the surprise of many, nearly 29,000 librarians and library supporters attended the American Library Association’s Annual Conference June 9-15 in Chicago. It handily outdrew last year’s conference in Anaheim by some 7,000 people, and in the middle of a major recession, set a new ALA conference attendance record. Christie Hefner keynoted the conference, while authors dotted the landscape, both inside the exhibit hall and in the Auditorium Speakers Series, which featured, among others, Cokie Roberts, Tracy Kidder, James, Steve Lopez, Gregory Maguire, Melba Pattillo Beals, and public television's Wanda Urbanska in a special American Libraries program on going green. As the nation's largest professional development event for librarians, the conference sessions were devoted to the plight of libraries during hard economic times, and then ALA President Jim Rettig offered a session titled "Coalition Building for All Libraries in a Tough Economy." ALA also tackled the issue of privacy, with the Office for Intellectual Freedom kicking off the year-long "National Conversation on Privacy." American Libraries Direct produced a special Annual Conference edition, featuring a roundup of coverage and commentary from around the web.