Albright, hawking or touring @ ALA?

You have probably heard that former United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright has been selected to be the keynote speaker in New Orleans at ALA this year. Apparently LJExpress’s email announcement service provided two different versions of this announcement. The initial email announcement appears below.

As if their [sic] already isn’t enough hot air in New Orleans in June, ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will detour from hawking her forthcoming book to pick up some no doubt serious fast cash keynoting next summer’s ALA Annual Conference.

And here is how it appears on LJs website.

As if there isn’t enough hot air in New Orleans in June, ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has arranged to make the American Library Association’s Annual Conference a stop on the tour for her new book. She will deliver the keynote at the Opening General Session.

Is it too much to ask that the largest library association in the world get a speaker who isn’t just seeing our conference as another stop to give her stump speech at? Maybe I’m just naïve but I would think that for what ALA is likely paying, we could get someone to make a special trip.

update” A reader sent me this email today, perhaps I was too hasty. “I had the privilege of hearing Madeleine Albright when she was the keynote speaker at SLA in New York a couple years ago, and she gave a great speech about the importance of the free flow of information to a free society. I would not just write her off without hearing what she has to say.[thanks ann & allen]

books building bridges

Books Building Bridges is a group of librarians, booksellers, activists and others who use literature and community events as a way of helping bridge the gaps between people in Iraq and the U.S. They create curricula, produce teaching guides and sponsor events among other things. Inspired by the book The Librarian of Basra the self-described “small but intrepid” group is always looking for people to lend a hand, or just to get on board.

Books Building Bridges is a community-building project developed in order to acknowledge and foster a common human desire for learning, authentic connection and a healthy society while transcending political divisions in the United States and the geographic and social distance between the United States and Iraq. Books Building Bridges was inspired by Jeanette Winter’s book, The Librarian of Basra, which chronicles the work of Basra librarian Alia Muhammed Baker who, with her community, saved 30,000 volumes from being destroyed during the current war with Iraq.