2020 in-person GLPA Conference Cancelled

Message to membership:

Subject: 2020 GLPA Conference

The GLPA Executive Committee has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the in-person conference for 2020. Instead of meeting this October, we will meet in Kalamazoo in 2021. The conference dates will be November 9-13, 2021.

The executive committee did not make this decision lightly. From March through May, it became increasingly difficult to work on conference preparations with all venues inaccessible and all parties under stay at home orders. While most of the venues hope to be reopened in the fall, the newly implemented safety and distancing measures would have a significant impact on our use of facilities as originally planned.

We will hold a series of online events in the fall. Watch for more information and to find out ways to participate.

There were several key reasons for the decision. We have put together the FAQ below to further explain the reasoning. The FAQ is also available online at https://glpa.org/2020. If you have additional questions or concerns, please let us know.


Waylena McCully

GLPA President


The GLPA Executive Committee has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the in-person conference for 2020. We will be hosting a virtual conference instead, and will be sharing more information about that in the coming months. We hope to answer some questions about this decision in this document.

Q: What factors led to the decision to cancel the 2020 conference? 

  • Michigan’s reopening plan will restrict the size of gatherings until there is a vaccine both available and in wide use, and it is impossible to predict when the vaccine will be available.
  • Most of the states in the GLPA region also have restrictions on larger gatherings until the vaccine is available and in wide use.
  • The Kalamazoo Valley Museum does not yet have a reopening date, and it is possible that they may not reopen until sometime in the fall.
  • Even if we were able to have a smaller number of people gather, we would have to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet between attendees. Given the size of Kalamazoo’s planetarium and theater spaces, this would cause great difficulties in scheduling.
  • Bringing people together from all across the country during a pandemic at any stage is not recommended.
  • The well-being of our members is very important to the GLPA executive committee. We would be devastated if we held a conference that spread the virus and impacted the health of our delegates or sponsors.

Q: Why did you cancel the conference in June - could you have waited to make the decision?

  • By making the decision sooner, we can guarantee hotel dates for 2021, although not the same date range. If we make the decision later or have it made for us, we may not be able to meet at Kalamazoo in 2021 at all.
  • GLPA registration usually opens in June. Knowing the number of factors that would make it very difficult to hold an in-person conference in the fall, we did not want to open registration, get our members’ hopes up, and then possibly have to issue refunds if we had to cancel the conference a month later.
  • Making the decision sooner lets us concentrate on other ways we can help our members navigate these difficult times.

Q: Why are the 2021 dates different from our traditional dates?

  • Of the dates available for the hotel, November 9-13 are closest to our traditional date range.
  • Dates earlier than our normal range may conflict with ASTC.