Getting Around the Conference

getting aroundThe Charleston Conference 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 close to 2,000 today.

In order to help first timers negotiate the waters, we’ve put together some helpful hints and FAQ’s below. We also have a team of Conference Mentors available to help by email or on site near the Registration Check-In Desk in the lobby of the Francis Marion Hotel.


  • Plenary sessions on broad, overarching themes of interest to librarians, publishers, and vendors.
  • Over 150 conference sessions on a variety of topics relating to collection development and acquisitions, organized into topical threads for ease of navigation.
  • Conference sessions are held in four locations: the Francis Marion Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott, the Embassy Suites, and the brand new Gaillard Center Charleston. Maps are provided below.
  • Over 140 exhibitor tables at the Vendor Showcase.
  • Almost 2,000 attendees: roughly 60% librarians, 20% publishers, 15% vendors, and 5% consultants, students, or other.


Charleston Conference staff will be located at each of our conference meeting facilities: the Gaillard Center, the Francis Marion Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott, and the Embassy Suites. Information Desks will be located on the mezzanine level of the Francis Marion Hotel, across from the elevators, and in the main lobby of Gaillard Center.


Area Map

Francis Marion Hotel Meeting Room Floor Plan (Scroll Down)

Courtyard by Marriott Meeting Room Floor Plan

Embassy Suites Historic District Meeting Room Floor Plan (Note that there is a Colonial Ballroom in both the Francis Marion and the Embassy Suites – be sure to check for the “FM” or “ES” on the program to be sure you’re heading in the right direction!)

Gaillard Center Charleston (Scroll down to Program Space Configurations)


Conference Shuttles are provided between our headquarters at the Francis Marion Hotel and each of the hotels with group rates for conference attendees. Due to traffic in the downtown area, we are unable to provide an exact schedule for pick up times. The shuttles will run in continuous loops during the hours listed at the link above. The routes are color coded, and route information will be provided online and in your printed program.

There is plenty of public transportation in the area, including a free DASH trolley service.


“What meals are included in my conference registration?”

On Tuesday during the Vendor Showcase, there will be mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshment breaks for preconference registrants and showcase attendees. There will also be a luncheon at noon and a Welcome Reception at 4:00 pm.

On Wednesday and Thursday, a continental breakfast buffet will be available outside the Gaillard Grand Ballroom prior to the morning plenary sessions. Light refreshments will be available mid morning and mid afternoon, and appetizers will be provided with a cash bar during the Poster Sessions and Happy Hour Networking event. Thursday evening, the Annual Conference Reception at the South Carolina Aquarium will have heavy hors d’oeuvres as well as an open bar.

On Friday, we will have a more substantial breakfast buffet prior to the start of sessions.

“Where should I go out to eat?”

One of our Conference Mentors put together a fabulous list of recommended restaurants on our “What To Do When You’re in Charleston” page. See also the Charleston City Paper Food + Drink section and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website.



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