Announced recently by ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels:

First the good news: Free WiFi will be available in meeting rooms throughout the convention center, and funds have been made available to prototype a recommendation of the electronic participation task force. Wireless access will also be provided for committee and board meeting rooms, selected conference hotels and/or meeting rooms and the convention center, enabling members to utilize laptop computer applications to provide for remote participation by board and committee members not able to attend.

Now the bad news: The cost of providing wireless in the meeting rooms at the four major conference hotels would be $270,000, which ALA simply cannot afford.

Many ALA members have been pressing for WiFi to enable people who are unable to attend ALA conference to participate virtually, but Fiels said providing internet access at hotel prices “is not sustainable as a model.” ALA will continue to investigate and negotiate for future conferences.