ALA Annual Conference Fact Sheet

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Annual Conference - American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world, holds its Annual Conference & Exhibition each summer. As the world's biggest library event, it brings together up to 25,000 librarians and library staff, educators, writers, publishers, Friends of libraries, trustees, special guests and exhibitors to engage and participate in the ongoing transformation of libraries and to network. With around 2,500 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- and professional development-related topics, including: the changing the role of libraries; library futures and how they reflect/integrate societal trends; community engagement; the impact of school libraries on academic success; diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession and in library services; ebook lending and usability; new technologies; privacy; leadership; services for makers; library advocacy; government policy and legislation; and best practices. Leading institutions and offices provide key policy, research and other updates.

More than 800 exhibiting companies showcase the latest in books and digital products including online services and software, furniture and other products 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. Four author stages feature topics from cooking and graphic novels to romance and the latest "Book Buzz." Authors come from the “big 5” publishing houses and a wide range of indie houses. More than 750 authors participate in dozens of events, including ARC (Advance Reading Copy) and autographing sessions. Special subject pavilions are sprinkled throughout the exhibit hall, giving attendees an opportunity to focus on categories including government services, library schools, international publishing and university presses. The Gaming, Maker, Zine and Mobile App pavilions give attendees hands-on opportunities to explore emerging trends.

The conference hosts bestselling authors, experts, political luminaries and thought leaders such as Barack Obama, Michael Eric Dyson, Senator Cory Booker, Julie Andrews, Sir Salman Rushdie, Chelsea Clinton, Stan Lee, Toni Morrison, Ken Burns, Sherman Alexie, Katie Couric, Khaled Hosseini, LeVar Burton, Diane Guerrero, Margaret Atwood, Temple Grandin, John Grisham, Congressman John Lewis, Nikki Giovanni, Gloria Steinem, Anderson Cooper, Jamie Lee Curtis and Madeleine Albright.

A range of preconferences from ALA divisions and offices offer convenient in-depth professional development and networking opportunities right before the conference. ALA Division Presidents’ Programs offer a further chance to engage with expert and high-profile speakers.

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, the Printz Award, the Coretta Scott King Awards and others. Presentations are also made to the winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, ALA’s top awards for adult literature. Celebratory events mark all these high-profile awards. A range of other ALA awards are presented at the President’s Program during 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, sometimes related to conference speakers, as well as 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. Incoming ALA division presidents are also honored at the event.

Attendees are invited to gather and dig into the ALA member experience through a series of facilitated but informal Kitchen Table Conversations, with the goal of helping shape ALA for the future.

Library Unconference, Library Camp and Networking Uncommons, collaboration tables and lounges in the exhibit hall all offer opportunities for informal networking and conversation, impromptu sessions, follow-ups and small get-togethers. In keeping with the growing focus on balancing formal and informal learning, Conversation Starter and Ignite Sessions now attract hundreds of attendees.

Think Fit @ALA offers health and well-being programs and events such as yoga and fitness classes and also highlights environmental health and progress in ALA conferences going green.

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.

All programs and select 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 hashtag, Twitter page, a Facebook Event and Instagram and Pinterest pages, an updated Scheduler and full conference coverage in the show daily Cognotes and in ALA’s member magazine American Libraries.

Upcoming Conference Dates:

  • 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, Washington, DC: June 20-25, 2019
  • 2020 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL: June 25-28, 2020
  • 2021 Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA: June 24-29, 2021
  • 2022 Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA: June 23-28, 2022
  • 2023 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL: June 22-27, 2023
  • 2024 Annual Conference, San Diego, CA: June 27-July 2, 2024

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