“Caught My Eye” by Katina: “As COVID-19 Cases Surge, Library Conferences Move to Virtual and Hybrid Models”

by | Sep 28, 2021 | 0 comments

As COVID-19 Cases Surge, Library Conferences Move to Virtual and Hybrid Modelsis by Lisa Peet and appears in Library Journal

“Despite the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine last spring, this summer and fall have been about readjusting expectations for living with the coronavirus. At press time, just over 66 percent of the United States population over 18 were fully vaccinated, with 76.7 percent having received at last one dose. But owing to an increase in travel and gatherings, the reopening of schools and businesses, and the emergence of highly infectious virus variants, this summer saw a resurgence of COVID cases nationwide.

“After a year and a half of virtual networking, many public and academic library leaders and employees were looking forward to attending in-person conferences again, while many others remained apprehensive about travel and large group events. As library organizations and associations began finalizing plans for fall and winter conferences, they needed to balance people’s wishes for some semblance of normalcy—in-person sessions and networking, shared meals, hugs and handshakes, tote bags—with a range of safety and liability concerns.

“Some conferences have chosen to move to an all-virtual format, including next January’s American Library Association (ALA) LibLearnX event; the National Humanities Conference, originally scheduled to be held in Detroit from November 11–14; the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference, originally slated to meet in Milwaukee from September 20–24; and a number of state library conferences. Several, such as the New York Library Association (NYLA), have moved to a hybrid format, and some smaller events whose size allows for individual attention at check-in—such as the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) and Charleston conferences—have elected to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests for in-person attendance…”

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