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“Waiter, a table for 17,000”: The Midwinter Rooming Crisis

Having trouble booking a room at ALA Midwinter in Seattle (or spent far more time than was reasonable to do so)? Join the very, very, very large club. However, this message from Mary Ghikas, found on the ALA Council list, describes some of the challenges faced by ALA. (My core question: is Seattle big enough–hotel-venue-wise–to host an association conference? I thought it was treading water with PLA; I wonder if regional library politics–which also playing a role in forcing ALA out of San Francisco and into boring SoCal–didn’t trump common sense.)

I like Mary’s twin observations that on the one hand, “Anything that makes coming to conference seem too difficult or too complex poses a threat to conference attendance” and on the other, overbooking will cost the Association. I’m appalled that ALA could mess up my profile so badly–and I still haven’t heard back from Membership, almost 24 hours later (though I got a personal email from an ALA staffer reading my blog)–but as annoying as the rooming problem is at conferences, I’m aware that there are many complex forces in play, not the least of which is negotiating all those meeting rooms we need because we still do so much “work” face to face.

If you’re looking, I know of three decent hotels with rooms available (not on the ALA bloc, of course). One doesn’t have wifi in the rooms but does in the lobby, and is close to the Market; one is near the CC and has free Internet; a third–well, I forget, but it’s reasonable and decent.

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