ALA Annual Conference Fact Sheet

ala message book logoBack to Table of Contents >>


Contact: Public Information Office

American Library Association Annual Conference

The American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world, holds its Annual Conference & Exhibition each summer. Thousands of librarians and library staff, educators, writers, publishers, Friends of libraries, trustees, special guests, and exhibitors attend the conference to participate in the ongoing transformation of libraries and to network. With around 2,000 scheduled events of which more than 500 are programs, discussions, sessions, and in-depth facilitated and informal conversations, attendees engage in a wide range of library-related topics including digital content, e-books, technology in libraries, innovation, books and authors, transformation, leadership, library advocacy, community engagement, library marketing, library remodeling and construction, government policy, teaching and learning, and more. Leading institutions and offices provide key policy, research, and other updates.

More than 750 exhibiting companies feature the latest in books, digital products including online services and software, furniture, and other materials vital to today's libraries and librarians. ALA units highlight a range of aspects of the profession and the association. Poster sessions in the exhibit hall offer individual libraries or librarians the chance to share graphic representation of current research, programs, and creative solutions to library issues. The exhibit hall also offers dozens of author-related and other events, with special pavilions and stages.

The conference hosts bestselling authors, experts, political luminaries, and thought leaders such as Barack Obama, John Irving, Julie Andrews, E. L. Doctorow, Mitch Albom, Sir Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, Ken Burns, Sherman Alexie, Katie Couric, Khaled Hosseini, Dan Rather, Dan Ariely, Margaret Atwood, Temple Grandin, John Grisham, Congressman John Lewis, poet Nikki Giovanni, Richard A. Clarke, Garrison Keillor, Senator Bill Bradley, Henry Winkler, Cokie Roberts, Anderson Cooper, Madeleine Albright, Azar Nafisi, Ilyasah Shabazz, Stan Lee, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

A range of preconferences from ALA divisions and offices offer convenient in-depth professional development and networking opportunities right before the conference.

The ALA JobLIST Placement Center operated by the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment connects job seekers and employers, and offers free career counseling. Interviewing facilities are provided.

Presentations are made to the winners of the ALA Youth Media Awards including the most prestigious awards in children's literature, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the Printz Award, the Coretta Scott King Awards, and others. The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction are also announced and awarded at the conference.

The ALA Store offers books, division publications, celebrity READ posters, bookmarks, t-shirts, mugs, and other items. Most of the items are also available year-round at the ALA Online Store (

The “Now Showing @ ALA Film Program” offers a variety of films and documentaries throughout the day, including opportunities to meet some of the films’ writers, directors, or subjects.

The Closing General Session and Inaugural Brunch signal the installation of a new ALA president, whose speech sets the stage for the year in office.

Library Unconference, Library Camp, and Networking Uncommons all offer opportunities for informal networking and conversation, impromptu sessions, follow-ups, and small get-togethers.

Hundreds of international visitors attend ALA Annual Conference each year, including delegations from various countries. In addition to preconferences, programs, and sessions dedicated to content on worldwide library-related issues, provisions for international exchange and enrichment include orientation, mentors, an international visitors’ lounge, and a well-attended international reception.

A Cooperative Library School Reunion offers an opportunity to reunite and share ideas.

The conference wraps up at the closing of the exhibits with a featured guest, usually a celebrity.

Select programs and sessions are recorded and made available to full conference registrants at no charge after the event.

Conference communications include the official conference website, a dedicated Twitter hashtag, a Facebook Event, a Pinterest page, a Google+ group, a Tumblr, and  full conference coverage in the show daily Cognotes and in ALA’s member magazine American Libraries. ALA Conference Services provides a toolkit for potential attendees to show how they’ll be more valuable to their institution after attending Annual Conference.

Upcoming Conference Dates:

  • 2015 Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA: June 25-30, 2015
  • 2016 Annual Conference, Orlando, FL: June 23-28, 2016
  • 2017 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL: June 22-27, 2017
  • 2018 Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA: June 21-26, 2018
  • 2019 Annual Conference, DC: June 20-25, 2019
  • 2020 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL: June 25-28, 2020
  • 2021 Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA: June 24-29, 2021

For exhibit information or registration information, visit the Annual Conference website at  Also, see the ALA website at

For exhibit or registration information, visit the Midwinter website at  For press registration, call 800-545-2433, extension 3223. Also, see the ALA website at