February 17, 2018

PLA Conference Draws Nearly 10,000 to Minneapolis

By Norman Oder

  • Crowd smaller than Boston, larger than Seattle
  • Virtual conference draws 175
  • The importance of “price”

An enthusiastic and engaged crowd of 9,635 people attended the 2008 Public Library Association National Conference this past weekend in Minneapolis, and another 175 attended the first-ever virtual conference accompanying it. The total, which included 6,772 individuals and 2,863 exhibitors, was less than the 11,029 people in Boston in 2006 but more than the combined total of 8,691 in Seattle in 2004. Some 800 companies filled the exhibit hall

Guest speakers included opening keynoter John Wood, founder and CEO of Room to Read, which aims to help children in the developing world gain literacy, and Book Lust author (and Librarian Action Figure model) Nancy Pearl, whose “Book Buzz” preconference brought together library representatives from HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Random House, as well as local publisher Milkweed. The PLA store sold out of consultant Sandra Nelson’s Strategic Planning for Results

Nelson told attendees at one session that libraries “rely far too much” on promotion as opposed to three other Ps: product, place, and price. The last three, she said, have to do with convenience. “What kind of hoops do I have to go through to check out a DVD, to sign up to use a computer, to get a meeting room?” she asked rhetorically. “If it’s too hard, and takes too much time… they’re not going to use it.”

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