Soon to be ex-president of the ALA, Carol Brey-Casiano, opened the session. She soon handed things off to Chicago’s Mayor Daley. While I know virtually nothing about his career or politics, based solely on last night’s speech I’m inclined to like the man. He seems genuinely supportive of libraries, the public kind in particular. 7 more branches are opening in Chicago just in the remainder of this year! Daley also denounced the Patriot Act, and captivated the audience the whole way through.
Later, Senator Barack Obama came out on stage as the keynote speaker of the session. While I thought Mayor Daley had stage presence, Senator Obama blew him away! His speech focused on a call for basic literacy education and promoted libraries as a major source of this education.
[after walking on stage to thunderous applause] “Whoa, that was a lot of librarians.”
“In the beginning, there was The Word.” I thought Senator Obama made an interesting choice, tying in Scripture to his speech in a mostly non-religious way. It went over well with the crowd.
“Truth isn’t about who yells the loudest, but who has the right information.” (this one I may have paraphrased a bit, I was writing in a hurry)
Senator Obama also noted that by reading to his kids, he has now just about memorized “Goodnight Moon”.
As a side note, the ALA really needs to revamp whatever system or person they use to create closed captions on the video feed of speakers. There were major typos galore, including “Libraryes” every time the word was used.