[with apologies for cross-posting]
For Immediate Release
OTTAWA (May 2, 2003) - The Canadian Library Association / American
Library Association joint Annual Conference - with an expected 25,000
delegates and exhibitors - has been confirmed for Toronto, June 19-25,
The American Library Association had considered relocating or canceling
its participation in the joint Conference because of the SARS outbreak
in Toronto. The Canadian Library Association voiced its continued
support for Toronto after its meeting April 25.
"This decision has been reached following the assurance of leading
health officials who inform us that it is safe for our members,
exhibitors and guests to visit Toronto," said ALA President Maurice J.
(Mitch) Freedman. "We take the occurrence of SARS in Toronto very
seriously and have carefully considered all options and opinions before
choosing to stay."
The ALA Executive Board voted unanimously to keep the 2003 Annual
Conference in Toronto.
The Canadian Library Association is delighted with the ALA decision.
"This is a decision based on information û authoritative medical
opinion - and rationality, two of the values of the library profession.
This is a proud moment for the North American library community, as well
as for Toronto and for Canada," said Wendy Newman, President of the
Canadian Library Association.
"We appreciate the fact that Toronto representatives shared our primary
focus on the health and safety of visitors to Toronto and that they
answered our questions and addressed our concerns openly and frankly,"
said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. "This has been a
difficult set of circumstances for everyone, and we are grateful for the
patience and support of our members, exhibitors and the Canadian Library
"The Executive Board has strived for the most comprehensive discussion,
and we're pleased with the process," Freedman said. "There continues to
be a lot of enthusiasm for this joint conference, and I am looking
forward to meeting with our Canadian colleagues in Toronto."
Registration for the 2003 Annual Conference is up substantially
compared to last year. As of April 30, registrations stands at 9,287,
compared to 6,783 last year. Registrations continued to come in while
the earlier WHO travel advisory was in effect.
The federal, provincial and municipal governments have pledged to help
promote the Conference with funding from the recently announced $25
million marketing and promotional fund.
The ALA/CLA joint Annual Conference is expected to draw up to 25,000
people and pour $67.6 million into the Toronto economy.
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For more information, contact Don Butcher, Executive Director, Canadian
Library Association, 613-232-9625 ext. 306.
Canadian Library Association
328 Frank Street
CANADA K2P 0X8
(613) 232-9625; Fax: (613) 563-9895