Each year hundreds of librarians, vendors, and publishers make a pilgrimage to the Holy City. They are not headed to the Mediterranean, but to the southeast coast of the U S — to Charleston, SC.

The Charleston Conference is an informal annual gathering of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers, consultants, and vendors of library materials in Charleston, SC, in November, to discuss issues of importance to the library and scholarly publishing landscape. It is designed to be a collegial gathering of individuals from different areas who discuss the same issues in a non-threatening, friendly, and highly informal environment. Presidents of companies discuss and debate with library directors, acquisitions librarians, reference librarians, serials librarians, collection development librarians, and many, many others. Begun in 1980, the Charleston Conference has grown from 20 participants in 1980 to almost 2,500 in 2023.

Due to the amount of growth we have experienced, the Conference was held in two hotels for the first time in 2005: the Francis Marion and the Embassy Suites, both in downtown Charleston. We are now in two hotels (the Francis Marion and the Courtyard Marriott Historic) plus the Gaillard Center Charleston!

Can librarians and vendors create a mutually satisfying environment where libraries can afford to buy the materials they need and vendors can still maintain a healthy profit? Can publishers keep prices down while costs escalate? How is the market being impacted by the Internet and electronic publishing? What are the rights and responsibilities of each of the parties involved? Who is maintaining the electronic archive?

From the librarian of a small library to the CEO of a major corporation, they all stand and make their voices heard. The tone is casual, the talk irreverent, and the answers are far from simple. But together, we can find solutions.

Here is what some librarians have said about the Charleston Conference —

“The best library gathering around. I look forward to it.”

“The Charleston Conference is an incredibly stimulating venue. I am tired afterwards, but get so many great ideas, network with my colleagues, and learn what is going on. I recommend it highly.”

“Charleston is the only conference that is worth attending.”


NOVEMBER 12, 2024


NOVEMBER 12, 2024


NOVEMBER 13-15, 2024


Save the Date: Charleston In Between on Publishing Integrity

Join us March 19-20 for a Charleston In Between virtual conference on publishing and research integrity. Topics include: An anonymous presentation on "Why I Published with a Papermill" Why integrity in research and publishing matters A small publisher’s perspective A...

Come Back Next Year

So we have come to the end of another Charleston Conference. It has been a pleasure writing this blog and reporting on some of the interesting sessions. There are many more that are equally interesting, and the complete file will e available to attendees in about two...


  The final-final session traditionally has occurred after the provided lunch and consisted of a series of questions asked of the audience using polling software. This year, Leah Hinds conducted the poll. Here are some of the results. Interesting: Nobody from...

Closing Session

The closing session featured Derek Law, Emeritus Professor, Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He used an extensive collection of slides to summarize the conference in his very well received presentation. Why do we keep returning to...

The Long Arm Of the Law

This highly popular and long running session (presented to a standing room only audience) on the final day of the conference was the 14th time it occurred. It was organized and moderated by Ann Okerson, Director, Offline Internet Consortium. She has moderated all 14...


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