Miami is a city known for abundant sunshine, astonishing turquoise waters, and beautiful skies—as well as great cultural diversity, lush tropical vegetation, fascinating fauna, and world-class stature as an arts destination during the Art Basel fairs. Neighboring Coral Gables is known as “The City Beautiful,” and for good reason. The city was developed by George Edgar Merrick during the land boom years of the 1920s, and was envisioned as a sophisticated Mediterranean oasis in a paradisiacal setting. Although the two cities are adjacent, they—and the nearby city of Miami Beach—are very different in atmosphere, while also sharing the cultural diversity, eclecticism, and sophistication of one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. Where else in the United States can the visitor observe majestic peacocks strolling leisurely across urban streets lined with beautiful Spanish-style red roof-tiled villas, eat fresh mangoes straight from a tree, enjoy a game of dominos in Little Havana, and view an entire neighborhood covered in murals by some of the world’s great muralists?
This is a proposal to hold the 2016 RBMS preconference in Coral Gables (or, alternately, in Miami Beach). In 2016, ALA will be held in Orlando, which is approximately 240 miles from Miami and Coral Gables. There is frequent and relatively inexpensive (see below) transportation between the two hubs; the Miami-Orlando route is also a relatively easy drive for those who choose to rent a car.
Although Miami Beach is a popular venue for conferences, we would like to propose the city of Coral Gables as the main venue for the preconference. There are several conference-appropriate hotels in Coral Gables, and some events could be held on the University of Miami campus.
Both Miami and Coral Gables offer a very wide array of accommodations. A recent SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Materials in Libraries) conference (similar in size to RBMS) was held at the Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables. The Westin is smaller than many conference hotels, but can accommodate up to 350 people (theater style) in the Merrick Ballroom along with 40 “table-top” exhibits in their Rotunda. The area designated for lunches and breaks measures circa 9,000 square feet. There is additional space for large breakouts if needed. The hotel can offer up to 100 rooms to attendees; the rate would be $149.00-$169.00 range. The Hyatt hotel across the street from the Westin can also accommodate overflow. There are also smaller hotels and inns within a five mile radius of the Westin.
More information about hotels and conference venues can be found at these sites:
Charles Eckman, Dean of Libraries at the University of Miami, has endorsed providing appropriate hospitality for the preconference. The Libraries will host an evening reception on campus, and will also strive to provide accommodations for workshops. The Libraries will also provide tours of their facilities, which include Special Collections, the Cuban Heritage Collection, the Paul Buisson Architecture Library, and the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library. The Libraries also house one of the only on-campus conservation labs in Florida, as well as a growing Digital Initiatives Department. Tours of these locations will be offered to interested conference attendees. Colleagues in these libraries and departments, as well as area librarians, archivists, and curators, have expressed interest and enthusiasm in helping with local arrangements, area tours, transportation, restaurant nights, etc.
The Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Florida Atlantic University
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Frost Museum of Science
Fairchild Tropical Gardens
Perez Art Museum, Miami
Books & Books
Miami is easily accessible from most geographic locations, with two large international airports (Miami and Fort Lauderdale) located within driving distance to several major attractions, hotels, and popular neighborhoods. Miami International Airport is walking distance from the Metrorail, which has stops in central city locations (i.e. Downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Overtown, and the Government Center). There is a University of Miami stop on the Metrorail for those wishing to commute by public transportation, and cabs and shuttles are also readily available at the airport for reasonable rates. The city of Coral Gables has its own trolley service while the University of Miami also provides free shuttle transportation around its campus.
Major Airports near Miami
Miami International Airport
Fort Lauderdale Airport
American Airlines: 9 nonstop flights MIA-MCO / day
Starting at $190 as of 23 July 2014
Amtrak: 2 trains MIA-ORL / day
Leaving at 8:20 am and 11:50 am
Starting at $43 as of 23 July 2014
Metrorail: Cost per trip is $2.25 regardless of distance. It’s one of the cheapest and fastest ways to reach major areas in Miami. The Metrorail operates from 5 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.
Greyhound: 10 buses Miami-Orlando / day
Starting at $22.50 (Web fare) or $57.00 (standard fare) as of 23 July 2014
GotoBus: 2 buses Miami-Orlando / day
Average price $28 as of 23 July 2014
Miami Orlando Shuttle Bus: 3 buses Miami-Orlando / day
Should conference-goers wish to add a vacation to their conference, they will have access to the largest cruise-ship port in the world. Locations in the Caribbean, South and Central America, and other parts of Florida are easily accessible thanks to the port and Miami International Airport.
Miami is fast becoming one of the largest art markets in the country, due in part to the annual Art Basel festival. There is an abundance of art galleries, small private (but open to the public) museums, and public art spaces throughout Dade County.
The Everglades and the Florida Keys are relatively short driving distances from Miami. Although overnight or multi-day stays are recommended for those who wish to visit Key West, Key Largo and Islamorada are easy day trips.
Although the summer is, without a doubt, quite…warm in Miami, the temperature never rises much above 88 degrees Fahrenheit, and the city and environs are cooled by constant ocean breezes.
Food! Miami’s population boasts great ethnic diversity—Cuban, Haitian, Dominican, Colombian, Brazilian, Argentinian, French, and many more—and each group brings its own “flavor” to the local cuisine (Floribbean, anyone?). Furthermore, many of Miami’s luxury hotels house high-end restaurants run by “star” chefs. You can start your day with Cuban coffee and end it with fresh mojitos poolside…and sample the foods of the Caribbean, Europe, Central and South America in between!
Proposal submitted by
Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.