ALA Annual 2010

Discover D.C. – The Great Blogdown to the ALA Annual Conference #4

Nearly 6 more weeks to go!

Washington, D.C. was first laid out by Pierre Charles L’Enfant in 1791.  L’Enfant’s plan was never fully recognized after an argument broke out between him and Andrew Ellicott, who had been conducting the survey of the District’s boundaries along with Benjamin Banneker.  Ellicott’s revised version of L’Enfant’s plan is the basis for how Washington is presently laid out.  When traveling around town, it will be hard to get lost if you keep these few things in mind:

1) The Lettered Streets (A-W) run east/west (parallel to the Mall).  A Street is closest to the Mall with the letters following alphabetically as you work north or south of the Mall.

a) B Street is now Constitution Avenue north of the Mall and Independence Avenue south of the Mall

b) There is no J Street

c) I Street is sometimes referred to as Eye Street to avoid confusion with other letters or numbers.

d) A Quadrant designation (NW, NE, SW, SE) follows the name of each street to signal what part of the city it’s in.


2)  The numbered streets run north/south (perpendicular to the Mall). 

a) 1st Street is the nearest north/south street to the Capitol.  2nd, 3rd, etc. are further east/west of the Capitol.

b) A Quadrant designation (NW, NE, SW, SE) follows the name of each street to signal what part of the city it’s in.


3) Streets named for states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Connecticut, etc.) run diagonally through lettered and/or numbered streets.

 Look for the blue directional signs that point the way to nearby Metro Stations and other important landmarks.

Be prepared for heat!  The average temperature in D.C. during the last week of June is around 86° F.  However, those who have been to other ALA Annual Conferences know that the week of the conference tends to be the hottest and most humid of the year in the host city.  (We did get very lucky in Chicago last year though.)  When the ALA Annual Conference was last held in D.C. back in 2007, the temperatures held mainly in the low to mid 80s with moderate humidity but we did hit the low 90s with high humidity before the conference ended.  Bring a good pair of walking shoes, some sunscreen, a hat, and an umbrella just to be safe.

 Be sure to visit our wiki page at for much more on D.C. and the Annual Conference.

– Chris    

P.S.   It may be hot outside but one never knows how cold the meeting rooms at the convention center and various hotels will be.  Bring your sweater with you if you have one.

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