CHICAGO (CBS) — The American Library Association on Tuesday became the latest organization to cancel its conference in Chicago due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition had been scheduled for June 25-30 at McCormick Place. But it has now been called off altogether and another conference will not take place until next year.
“ALA’s priority is the health and safety of the library community, including our members, staff, supporters, vendors and volunteers,” ALA president Wanda K. Brown said in a news release. “As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, it’s become clear that in the face of an unprecedented situation, we need to make tough choices.”
This year will be the first time in 75 years that the ALA has not held an annual conference. The last time the conference was canceled was in 1945 during World War II.
The association said it would be working with conference registrants directly over the coming weeks, and is developing plans to carry out its important business.
“Although this is a great disappointment, ALA is far from the only organization taking a hard look at its events,” ALA executive director Tracie D. Hall said in the release. “We are using this to fuel our planning for Midwinter conference in Indianapolis in January 2021 and look forward to Annual Conference 2021 scheduled to be held in Chicago. We want to make both of those meetings incredible experiences. We want them to serve as opportunities for the profession to regroup and recharge.”
The National Restaurant Association also called off its conference Tuesday. That conference had been scheduled for May 18-20 at McCormick Place.
“It is the first time in 100 years that the National Restaurant Association show has not taken place,” said Mary Pat Heftman, Vice Chair of Winsight Exhibitions.
The show was expecting thousands of attendees more than the Inspired Home Show that was canceled earlier this month.
McCormick Place said that event’s attendance would have translated into approximately 56,000 hotel room nights, adding to the masses losses being felt by hotels in Illinois.