Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cokie Roberts Closes the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans

Cokie Roberts was the last big name speaker at this year's American Library Association conference. Despite an 8:00 a.m. presentation, hundreds of librarians came to the Auditorium in the convention center to hear her talk about her books about women in American history. She has another book in the works. Ladies of Liberty: Women Who Shaped Our Nation is scheduled to be released in April 2007. She admitted twice that she has not actually written it yet, but her comments reveal that its content and outline are already well developed.

She began by telling us about her mother, who was elected to U.S. Congress from Louisiana and retired to live on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Two years of retirement was all she could stand, so she accepted an appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. Roberts really knows how to deliver jokes. When she remarked how both Bourbon Street and the Vatican had guys in dresses, the audience burst into to laughter.

She spoke proudly of getting library cards for her twin grandsons and remembering how she was able to persuade a librarian in New Orleans to give her a card before the stated age of six by writing her name.

Much of her discussion focused on women of the American colonies and the Revolution. One of the interesting things that she discovered was how no matter where they were in the colonies, they were reading the same books. She also told about how quickly books published in England were distributed in the colonies. She told about many women whose contributions were vital to the creation of our country.

In the question period she said, "I am a journalist because it is too interesting not to be."

By the way, she also thanked librarians for coming to her city.

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