After weeks of speculation, the American Library Association this week announced that its new January event, LibLearnX, will be virtual only this year, as Covid-19 concerns persist. The in-person portion of the conference had been set for San Antonio.
LibLearnX, is scheduled for January 21-24, 2022. Registration for the Virtual LibLearnX will open on October 15.
“Given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and surge of its variants coupled with the size, scope and location of LibLearnX, it is necessary to cancel the in-person portion of the event,” said ALA president Patty Wong, in a statement. “As such, the executive board voted to transition the in-person portion of LLX in January 2022 to a virtual-only conference."
After a troubling summer surge of infections in Texas, Covid-19 hospitalizations have leveled off, but according to the Texas Tribune, Texas hospitals are still reporting ICU bed shortages worse “than at any other point of the pandemic” Exacerbating matters, Texas has implemented a ban on mask mandates.
LibLearnX is meant to replace the ALA Midwinter Meeting, which was phased out in 2021.
Earlier this year, as the Covid-19 vaccine rolled out and infection rates dropped, ALA official expressed optimism that the in-person portion of LibLearnX could go forward as planned. But as vaccination rates slowed and the highly contagious delta variant took hold, it looked increasingly unlikely in recent weeks that the in-person should show could to along as planned.
This is the fourth consecutive ALA conference to go virtual-only in the wake of the pandemic. All eyes are now on the 2022 annual conference, which is set for Washington D.C. in June.