By Pat Loeb

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some eight-thousand librarians are in Philadelphia, this week, for the Public Library Association Conference.

The conference opened on Wednesday afternoon with an address by Robert Kennedy Junior.

The annual meeting is taking place at what president Marsha Warner called a “critical” time for libraries, battered by budget cuts and challenged by technology that has altered the way people get information and read books.

“We’ll take each day as it comes,” said Warner. “And do whatever we can to make sure everyone can resource information.”

Warner says the conference is meant to energize and inspire librarians, but Robert Kennedy’s speech was a bit of a downer, focusing on environmental destruction and the danger of a government controlled by corporations, though he did note the role librarians can play in keeping destructive forces in check.

“In order to do that, we need an informed public that can recognize all the milestones of tyranny,”  Kennedy said.

The conference’s closing session on Saturday will feature actress Betty White.

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