Conferences

Postcard from Toronto

Forget SARS. The biggest risk to our lives thusfar in Toronto has been to raise the ire of a Waiter and Concierge in a high-end restaurant. Hoo boy! If looks could kill, the library blogging world would be in deep mourning today. An informal summit of library bloggers gathered at an unnamed hotel restaurant last night to meet face-to-face and blow a couple days\' per diem on very pretty meals. The waiter was plagued by the tardy and unwieldy group, who caused a change from two round tables to one long table, which was added to twice.

The shindig was arranged by lisnews good guy, Blake. Others at the table were Jessamyn West of librarian.net and several lisnews contributors, including the prolific story suggester Jen Young, a funny gal who took no guff from the waiter, and a bona fide Canadian gent who did a great job of figuring tax and tip. (Names have not been omitted to protect the innocent, but owing to a mocha creme brulee hangover. So much saturated fat!) Other blogging luminaries included Walt Crawford and Steven Cohen who claimed \"other obligations\" after a look at the menu and one too many withering glances from the waiter. C\'mon fellas, the keyboard is mightier than the corkscrew! We will forgive this time, but expect tougher stuff at midwinter. We managed to tame the waiter eventually, and a good time was had by all, including Blake\'s lovely fiancee and a handful of others.

Toronto is perfectly lovely and friendly (waitstaff who\'ve had a bad summer aside) and we\'ve yet to see one SARS mask. Biggest dangers thusfar have been finding an ATM that takes VISA, being run down by sk8ter bois near the Sky Dome after the big ass Concert for Toronto, featuring Avril Lavigne, and being acosted by forlorn vendors who won\'t take no-eye- contact for an answer.

We are thankful for our employers who allowed us to come, thankful to the vendors who decided to stay, and especially thankful to the people of Toronto who have been gracious and welcoming beyond belief.

Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here.

Pro-Castro librarians accused of shushing rivals

Steve Fesenmaier writes \"Pro-Castro librarians accused of shushing rivals
The National Post Says A cold war has broken out at a librarians\' conference in downtown Toronto
as accusations fly that pro-Castro elements within the American Library
Association are trying to silence debate over Cuba\'s crackdown on
independent libraries.
The battle has laid the groundwork for the improbable scenario of a
shouting match among librarians at a meeting tomorrow.
\"

Library of Congress Passes on ALA Conference

I\'m not sure how old this announcement actually is, but I just received the tip via email this morning that the LOC has announced that it will not be at the ALA convention in Toronto. They have established an \"LC at ALA\" website, for information on meetings and other activities of staff who will be attending ALA. The following is from their web site...
LC Exhibit Booth Cancelled
The Library of Congress regrets that it will not have an exhibit booth at the 2003 ALA Annual Conference in Toronto. We look forward eagerly to full participation in the Midwinter 2004 exhibition in San Diego. To the members of the American Library Association and the Canadian Library Associations, and to all our fellow exhibitors, we wish you an enjoyable and productive conference.
Recruitment
The Library of Congress regrets that it will not be represented at the Placement Center at the ALA annual 2003 conference in Toronto. We look forward eagerly to full participation in the midwinter 2004 exhibition in San Diego.
Visit the LC@ALA web site Here.

PW reports on 'scaled-down convention'

This Publishers Weekly article deals with the author/exhibitor side of ALA, giving highlights and cancellations of the still-on Annual conference.

Spectrum scholarship bash cancelled

Found this on the Conference Services page, after being tipped off by a colleague. Apparently, not because of SARS, but due to bad business mojo, the Spectrum Initiative Scholarship Bash, featuring 3 Mo' Tenors, has been cancelled. The management company is in receivership (I don't know what that means, except that it's not good) and cannot guarantee the appearance of its clients. The purchase price can be donated or ticket holders will be able to receive a refund. The following companies have dug into their pockets to help guarantee awards for the upcoming year: ProQuest, Highsmith Inc. and Chelsea House Publishers.

World Health Organization says no new travel advisory for Toronto

Canadian Press Says The World Health Organization did not return Toronto to its no-go list on Friday.

There had been rumblings all week the global health body was on the verge of issuing a second travel advisory against the city. But a spokeswoman for the Geneva-based organization said Friday that there would be no new travel advisory at this time.

\"No change,\" Maria Cheng said.

Toronto closer to new WHO advisory

This One Says The spectre of a new WHO travel advisory loomed larger in Toronto yesterday as U.S. authorities confirmed that a North Carolina man caught SARS in the city and a hospital with a cluster of possible cases investigated two suspicious deaths.

Experts also examined evidence the American man might have contracted the virus from a symptom-free transmitter, an unsettling challenge to conventional wisdom about how SARS is spread.

Madonna at ALA?

Just found this paragraph buried in the LJ Conference Picks & Pans:

'Among the celebrities expected is Madonna to flog her new book, now fully clothed in her postwar dignity. But we couldn't get a final date for her appearance, so you can settle for Ralph Nader, Clyde Edgerton, or any of many others.'

It sounds pretty iffy to me, but you can't beat a sentence that's got both 'Madonna' and 'flog.' Pretty funny, those folks over at LJ. Would it be her new children's book, or is there something else she's got coming out?

Toronto may have new SARS cluster

Jen Young noticed Toronto may have new SARS cluster, CNN Says Health authorities closed a hospital outside Toronto to new patients because of a possible fresh cluster of SARS cases, while Taiwan on Tuesday reported a half-dozen more cases of the disease. [The Globe And Mail Story]
While The CBC Reports North Carolina is reporting its first case of SARS, and state health officials say the man contracted the disease in Toronto.
Meanwhile, Robin noted Today\'s PW Newsline says ALA is watching with
what they say is \"some groaning as exhibitors continue to back out
of its show. Brodart has already confirmed it won\'t be attending, Baker
& Taylor announced late Friday it would also not be sending anyone, and
other firms continue to send minimal delegations.\" inmybook.com still plans on attending!

'The Sponge' one reason to cross the border

In 1995, millions of American women lost a fairly reliable, easy-to-use, and affordable (depending on how active you are) form of birth control when Robbins Healthcare stopped selling the Today Sponge. The demise of the sponge was even memorialized in a Seinfeld episode in which Elaine stockpiles boxes and boxes of the contraceptive.
A collective hurrah went up when Allendale Pharmaceuticals started up production of the sponge again in early 2003. While the U.S. awaits FDA reapproval, the sponge is available, over-the-counter, to our Canadian sisters. It is also available online to non-Canadian consumers, but with vendors cancelling and cutting back, you'll have to fill your carry-on with something for the colleagues besides bubble pens and notepads. This year, tell the colleagues to expect drug-store themed goodies, featuring SARS masks, disposable thermometers, and the sponge.

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