As MSLA president, last June I had the privilege of attending the Canadian Library Association’s 2010 National Conference. This conference attracted its greatest numbers in recent years when more than 900 delegates met from June 2-5 in Edmonton, Alberta. At this time, I was also able to join my provincial and national counterparts at the Canadian Association of School Library’s (CASL) Annual General Meeting . Two of our members, Vivianne Fogarty and John Tooth were presented with national awards, The Chancellor Grant and the Angela Thacker Award, respectively.

Due to a conflict with the Treasure Mountain Conference, I was only able to hear one of the two keynote speakers, Dr. Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair, Internet and E-commerce law at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Geist gave a timely presentation on Canadian copyright law with an overview of key points in the government’s latest copyright bill that had been released only days earlier.
The other keynote speaker was Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, who spoke about the power of the positive in the collaboration of the volunteer editors of Wikipedia.

The conference program offered delegates sixty-five sessions on a wide variety of topics over the three days, as well as pre-conference workshops and library tours throughout the city. The teacher-librarian sessions were held on one day with the most well-known presenters being David Loertscher and Carol Koechlin. These presenters challenged delegates to “flip their libraries” and transform them into a learning commons.

One of the highlights for me during the conference was the reception for the winners of the 2010 CLA Book Awards, celebrating authors and illustrators of works for children and young adults. It was wonderful to hear the authors accept their awards and afterward, everyone in attendance received one free book for the author to sign. Winning authors included Barbara Reid for Perfect Snow, Nancy Hartry for Watching Jimmy and Lesley Livingston for Wondrous Strange. As well, the University of Alberta Libraries and Edmonton Public Library hosted a splendid welcome reception at the new Art Gallery of Alberta which is quite the architectural wonder.

At the Annual General Meeting of CLA members, Keith Walker succeeded John Teskey as President of the association. President Walker noted that his term will be a challenging one, as members passed resolutions directing the CLA Executive Council to develop plans for changes to the association. Due to the financial challenges facing the CLA, CASL was not permitted to hold elections this year which was disconcerting to the CASL members.

The next Canadian Library Association conference will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia from May 25-28, 2011 at the World Trade Convention Centre. Hope to see you there!

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