|Dear LRA Family,
We are enthusiastically awaiting the opportunity to gather again in-person for the 72nd Annual Conference in Phoenix from November 29th-Decemember 3rd, 2022. The past leaders of LRA always envisioned the annual meeting as opportunities for face-to-face networking and reconnecting with old friends in an atmosphere that challenges our thinking and creates opportunities for addressing significant issues impacting literacy research theory, practices, and policies. As members, we value the feeling of being more connected and engaged as presenters, discussants, session chairs, and attendees and the time spent socializing with colleagues in a casual and relaxing environment.
We were forced to change the conference format with the advent and duration of the COVID pandemic. We adopted technologies such as Zoom to fit our need to collaborate with others and to participate in professional meetings. The 2020 conference was fully online to provide a safe environment while meeting our mission as an organization.
Many of you wanted and liked the flexible option of meeting online and requested that we move to offer a greater degree of hybridity in future conferences, which led us to provide an on-demand virtual option with the 2021 conference. We considered offering this option again in 2022, however, a survey of those who participated in this option received mixed results about the extent to which it met the needs of the participants and should be offered again. Further, we learned that the increased cost of equipment and technical support needed to host a fully hybrid conference, or any form of hybridity at a level that is up to LRA’s standards, would be financially detrimental to the organization’s budget due to AV costs, and would require a significant increase in conference fees.
Although there will be no official online or hybrid option for the 2022 conference, similarly to last year, those presenters or groups who choose to use Zoom to involve others in their presentation do so with the possibility of limited bandwidth. The Wi-Fi bandwidth will be limited in rooms and in the meeting areas.
Meanwhile, we invite you to make plans to join your LRA colleagues in Phoenix. Remember that the value of an in-person meeting is not only the learning, but the networking and socializing with colleagues in a casual atmosphere. We hope to see you there!
With much anticipation,