More than 19,000 librarians, vendors and library supporters attended this year’s 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, which took place in Las Vegas from June 26-July 1, 2014. Large numbers of attendees participated in ten policy sessions hosted by the ALA Washington Office that explored net neutrality, copyright trends, ebook access, e-government services and surveillance.
On Saturday, conference attendees gathered to hear details on the upcoming national election season from former Virginia Senator Jim Webb during the Washington Update session. Named a “potential presidential candidate” by The Washington Post, Webb has served as a combat Marine, a counsel in the Congress, an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy, an Emmy-award winning journalist, an accomplished filmmaker, and an author of ten books. During his talk, Sen. Webb discussed his congressional experience and interest in foreign affairs.
“Public libraries…play such a valuable role today in opening up the world we have been given …to people who otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity,” said Webb.
At the end of the session, Sen. Webb signed copies of his new book, “I Heard My Country Calling.”
During other ALA Washington Office sessions, publishing and library experts discussed the best ways libraries can bring together authors and readers in the digital age. In one session, Gigi Sohn, special counsel for the Federal Communications Commission’s External Affairs, discussed the dynamics of today’s net neutrality debates. In another session, a panel of surveillance and library experts discussed the challenges and implications of the government’s invasive surveillance practices.