I've grown pretty weary over the last two years. I know that everyone has. But as I've seen ALA and now many other librarian groups either insisting on having in-person conferences (often with no or very limited virtual/hybrid presence) or pushing heavily to shift back towards in-person conferences, I wanted to speak up and say that I think this is grossly irresponsible. I recently heard at a meeting that ALA national was fully intending to not only be 'in person', but to strictly limit virtual offerings as well. I've heard similar sentiments from other ALA groups. Covid-19 hasn't gone anywhere and despite the CDC's mandates, the CDC reported 13,663 Covid-19 deaths in the US within last 7 days
. While getting vaccinated and wearing masks can prevent most of us from suffering the worst ill-effects of Covid, we can absolutely still get and spread it. There are vulnerable populations that we can spread it to, not to mention that the more we continue to spread it around the greater the chances are that it will mutate further.
I'm personally not ready to risk myself and other people by hopping back into a giant germ-soup with thousands of other librarians in the same building. But aside from my own lack of readiness for that, I think it is irresponsible for our organization to push for it. Many of us have spent the last two years fuming over other people holding large events regardless of the dangers of Covid-19 and now, while its still rampant, we're heading back into these events as well.
I applaud the round tables and groups that have continued to look to virtual models or are at least providing fully hybrid options for people who do not want to contribute to the spread.
Director of Library & Learning Services
American InterContinental University