News Item 6 (March 6, 1999)

Flexible Accommodation

No – not hotels with rubber walls for those likely to be driven mad by the stress of presenting a paper to a large audience, but the philosophy that the ICML administration will be adopting towards finding accommodation for delegates.

1. General

London does not have the huge, integrated conference hotels common in North America, and 8ICML will not, therefore, have a single designated conference hotel, as happened at the 7th congress in Washington and the 6th in New Delhi.

London is never a cheap place to stay, and this will be even more true at the height of the millennium summer. The library Association, which is providing the financial and administrative support for ICML, will be concentrating its efforts on securing low-cost accommodation of various kinds.

2. Hotel Accommodation

Experience at recent IFLA conference and other international events has shown that foreign visitors to the great European cities will find the best value in hotel accommodation by booking combined flight/hotel packages. Our assumption is that substantial numbers of overseas visitors will rake advantage of the savings offered by these packages, and that many more will arrange to stay at a hotel familiar from previous visits – or will stay privately with family or friends.

Accordingly, the registration package will not include any options for us to book hotel rooms on your behalf. Instead, we will be including information about where to find the best value in London hotel accommodation, including web addresses wherever possible.

3. Student Residences

Central London is reasonably well provided with residential accommodation for university students, which is available at a variety of levels of comfort and price. We have already reserved a bloc of rooms within easy reach of the congress centre; these are safe and clean but definitely fall within the "no frills" category and are priced as such at around 20 per night. Negotiations are in hand for mid-priced accommodation, with en suite bath or shower and communal kitchen area.

Bed and breakfast" accommodation – being a "paying guest" with a family in their home – is something of a British tradition, and one which we are planning to continue at ICML. A number of librarians who live in the London area have indicated their willingness to take ICML delegates into their homes, either at low cost or in some cases without charge.

This is clearly something that needs a careful definition or responsibilities and their careful elucidation to both host and guest, and we will be setting up a small group of volunteers to be in charge of these arrangements.