Dear ARLIS/NA Members,

In light of the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and after thoughtful discussions with the board and the conference co-chairs, we have made the difficult decision to move the 2021 ARLIS/NA Conference to a full virtual experience. The 49th Annual Conference will take place online in a virtual conference platform Tuesday, May 11 through Thursday, May 13, 2021.

I know there was considerable excitement around the conference taking place in Montréal, however it has become increasingly clear over the past year that a virtual conference will be the best, most equitable option for the Society at large. In addition to considering the health and well-being of members, which remains the highest priority in our conference planning, we needed to consider how the pandemic’s effects have impacted members’ professional development support and their capacity for conference travel. A virtual event with affordable registration rates will ensure that the 2021 conference is accessible to the broadest possible portion of the ARLIS/NA membership.

The theme for the 2021 conference continues to be “Convergence = Créativité + Collaboration.” This past year Conference Co-chairs Adèle Flannery, Jennifer Garland, Pierre B. Landry, John Latour, and Viveca Pattison Robichaud have brought their creativity and collaboration skills to the planning process as we worked through different options. They continue to plan for the virtual conference and are looking forward to bringing the flavor of Montréal to the conference virtually through the keynote speakers and online tours of local collections.

The 2021 conference will remain an opportunity for ARLIS/NA members to converge. Attendees will be able to take part in conversations surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on our libraries and institutions, anti-racism and diversity in the organization and the profession, and newfound and continuing creative collaborations. Networking is a cornerstone of the annual conference and attendees will be able to partake in interactive and engaging experiences through a new dynamic virtual conference platform. The virtual system has interactive exhibition features and includes plentiful opportunities for sponsorship, all while attendees connect from the comfort and safety of their home or office.

The conference agenda will now be held over 3 days (May 11-13) with workshops available on Monday (May 10) and Friday (May 14). The exhibitor and sponsor prospectus and attendee registration will be released in the next few months. You may submit your proposals for presentations and panels now; the call for posters will be released within the next couple of months. You’ll find the call for papers on the MOQ Chapter website here: http://arlismoq.ca/arlis-2021/call-for-papers/.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate conference planning for the 2021 ARLIS/NA Virtual Conference. Thanks also to the conference planning co-chairs for their flexibility and dedication and to ARLIS/NA Meeting Planner Megan Brouwer from our new association management company, McKenna Management, for her expertise and advice. You will be hearing more from Megan and the co-chairs as plans for the virtual conference come together. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact any of us.

Best,
Amy