The Elsevier Dessert Reception — a favorite destination for ALA midwinter goers since 1989 — has been nixed, creating both astonishment and outrage among the library community.
Tom Reller, Director of Public Relations for Elsevier, cites a conspicuous lack of appreciation as the main rationale for canceling the event:
No chocolate fountain, no truffles, no tortes! I’m tired of librarians criticizing our profit-making from one side of their mouth, while stuffing an éclair into the other. If they want to eat, they can fight over the ALA cheese and cracker table.
The American Library Association is currently in closed-door negotiations with the Dutch publisher hoping to lure the event back for Midwinter 2013 in Seattle, WA. Both parties believe they will be able to release a public statement by late Monday.
In the case that both sides cannot come to a compromise, Seattle-based Starbucks has already submitted a proposal to host the 2013 event but will charge $45 admission ($40 for those with a Starbucks eGift card).
Immediately upon word of the fraught discussions, an online petition started to boycott the Starbucks event and had reached nearly 4,000 signatures as of Friday evening. A second petition asking Elsevier to reconsider had reached nearly 9,000 signatures.
“For weeks before midwinter, I dream of dipping ripe red strawberries into their chocolate fountain,” remarked a scholarly communications librarian who has asked to remain anonymous due to the political nature of her position. “Please come back, Elsevier. Please, please please?!”