The Annual Conference of the American Library Association is the largest event dedicated to the professional growth of librarians in the world. More than 20,000 librarians, library staff, trustees and others attend each year. ALA divisions, round tables and committees present more than 300 programs and preconferences on a wide variety of topics. More than 1000 companies showcase the latest information products and services. The Midwinter meeting is more than just committee work. It also hosts an amazing array of workshops and discussion groups, along with full- and half-day Institutes and a great exhibit hall of library vendors. It’s a great blend of national and regional meeting styles.
In addition, three ALA divisions – the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Public Library Association (PLA) – offer separate national conference programs and exhibits for their members. These divisional conferences are more compact than ALA's annual conference, offer programs and exhibits for specific libraries and the chance to collaborate in workshop and unconference settings. No business (committee) meetings are held at these conferences, allowing for more personal learning focus for attendees. Virtual conferences are also being offered by divisions.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Reference User Services Association (RUSA), and the Young Adult Services Association (YALSA) offer biannual national institutes that focus on continuous education for members and other professionals to keep them updated on trends in librarianship. The Library Information and Technology Association (LITA) offers an annual national institute/forum.
The Library Leadership Administration and Management Association (LLAMA) and the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) conduct extensive regional programming focused on specific topics and needs of their members. Other divisions and offices offer single or multiple-session workshops, plenary sessions and networking opportunities on a regional basis.