Renewing Our Mission in New Orleans
New combined opening session/exhibits kickoff, an extended film series, and a host of authors and speakers are on tap for 135th Annual Conference
Posted Mon, 05/16/2011 - 11:09
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will host ALA's 135th Annual Conference.
Librarians, library support staff, vendors, and guests will once again bring their economic and muscle power to assist New Orleans’ public libraries, schools, and community rebuilding projects during the American Library Association’s 135th Annual Conference, June 23–28, taking place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, area hotels, and other venues.
ALA held the first major conference in the city during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated the Gulf Coast and caused heavy damage to libraries and museums (AL, Aug. 2006, p. 42–63). Librarians, armed with brushes, masks, and protective gear, took to the streets to assist. New Orleans is still in need of a helping hand as rebuilding efforts continue, and 2011 ALA conference participants in “Libraries Build Communities Volunteer Day” will arm themselves once again Friday, June 24 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers will be able to select projects of interest. Lunch, transportation, and a participation T-shirt are included in the $10 registration fee. Because of logistics and other considerations, there will be no onsite registration. Visit the Annual Conference website to purchase tickets, if available.
The annual Membership Meeting will take place Saturday, June 25 from 3:30 to 5 p.m., focusing on libraries and the communities the profession serves and supports. Two speakers from the New Orleans area will talk about post-Katrina rebuilding of their respective libraries and the impact these libraries have had on their communities. Linda Hill-Smith, curator/archivist, Center for African/African American Studies, Southern University; and Idella Washington, librarian at William Hart Elementary School in Gretna, Louisiana, and former librarian, Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans, will talk about the challenges and successes of serving campus communities after Katrina and the key role libraries played in their students’ lives. There will also be reports from ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels, ALA President Roberta Stevens, and ALA President-elect Molly Raphael on the state of the Association.
New combined Opening Session/exhibits kickoff
New for this year’s Annual is a combined Opening General Session and exhibits opening Friday, June 24 beginning at 4 p.m. Dan Savage, author of the syndicated column “Savage Love” and the editorial director of Seattle’s weekly newspaper The Stranger, is the Opening General Session speaker.
Last fall, Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, spearheaded the “It Gets Better” campaign by uploading a video to YouTube after a rash of suicides by gay teens who took their own lives because of bullying. Six months later, itgetsbetter.org has evolved into a nonprofit organization and a national movement, with over 10,000 videos and growing. President Barack Obama, Salt Lake City Public Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, politicians such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron, and celebrities such as Tim Gunn and Ellen DeGeneres have all created campaign videos. It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, edited by Savage and Miller, was released in March by Dutton. The pair will sign copies of the book at the conclusion of the Opening General Session.
The ALA/Exhibits Round Table Opening Reception immediately follows the opening session at 5:30 p.m. There will be free hors d’oeuvres and some of the more than 1,500 exhibitors will offer special giveaways in their booths. The ribbon-cutting ceremony starts at 5:15 p.m.
Exhibit hours are: Friday, June 24, Exhibits Opening Reception, 5:30–7:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Monday, June 27, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
The ALA Membership Pavilion is the first stop in the exhibits. Learn how membership can enhance careers, connect you with colleagues from around the world, and help improve library services to communities. ALA Ambassadors, a group of long-time, experienced members, will be on hand to welcome conference-goers and help them find the right resource both at conference and throughout the year. New members can meet colleagues from the New Members Round Table, who will help them find ways to get more involved in the Association.
The ALA Store, now located on the exhibit floor, is equipped with more space and a new layout. Shop for new and popular products, including the Harry Potter stars’ and Nathan Fillion READ posters; National Library Week materials; Teen Tech Week promotional items; Read, Renew, Return aluminum water bottles; 2011 Annual Conference T-shirts; Fang-tastic Fiction: Twenty-First Century Paranormal Reads; Winning Library Grants: A Game Plan; Reid’s Read-Alouds 2: Modern-Day Classics from C. S. Lewis to Lemony Snicket; and In the Words of the Winners: The Newbery and Caldecott Medals, 2001–2010. Be sure to check your badge for special offers.