CLA/ALA 2003: Similarities and Differences Abounded

Horrocks, Norrman
August 2003
Feliciter;2003, Vol. 49 Issue 4, p184
The article presents the joint CLA (Canadian Library Association) /ALA (American Library association) conference held in Toronto from June 18-25, 2003. The conference faced a unique combination of both geopolitical and health-related challenges. Plans were for as many as 22,000 participants, but in early June with the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak at its peak, it was uncertain whether ALA would attend at all. The pre-conference "Due North," designed to present an overview of the Canadian library scene for U.S. visitors, attracted more Canadians than Americans by about a 3:1 ratio. Nonetheless it served as a useful reminder that despite many similarities there are many significant differences in professional practice. The joint Opening Session also underlined similarities and differences. After "Due North" and the joint Opening Session, the joint professional development program had about one-third Canadian content, and the two associations conducted the social and business portions of the conference separately. On a less tangible level, there seemed to be a real shift in participants' feelings over the week. At the beginning there was a sense of having survived an ordeal just to get to Toronto, and relief that the conference was going to take place. By the end, the feeling was celebratory.


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