13,000 attend ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston

Contact: Larra Clark/ Macey Morales

ALA Media Relations


For Immediate Release

January 20, 2005

13,000 attend ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston

Library funding, advocacy, privacy and recruitment focus of meetings

BOSTON - A record breaking 13,230 librarians and other library workers, publishers and other leaders in the library and information industry gathered in Boston to attend the American Library Association's (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, January 14 - 19, to discuss the various challenges that face America's libraries.

Attendees at the annual business meeting participated in discussions regarding library funding, advocacy strategies, library users' privacy and recruitment. The Midwinter Meeting also hosted the "Academy Awards of Children's literature," ALA's Youth Media Awards. More than 2,500 meetings and events were held.

Library funding cuts remain at the forefront of challenges facing America's libraries. Nationally more than $82 million has been cut from library budgets. Salinas, Calif., will lose all library service begining in March, while other communities have reduced operating hours, cut staff or closed branches. To address this issue, ALA President Carol Brey - Casiano led the first ever ALA Advocacy Institute, featuring a keynote address from Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor and library advocate Kerry Healey. Healey is a member of the Beverly, Mass., Friends of the library, and helped raise more than $1 million in private funds and grants to rebuild Beverly's library. More than 250 participants were encouraged to share ideas of how to better advocate for funds to support library services.

The ALA Midwinter President's Program, "Creating an Advocacy Epidemic," sponsored by Little, Brown and Company, drew a sellout crowd. Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell delivered the keynote address for the program. Following Gladwell's remarks, ALA President Carol Brey - Casiano and a panel of ALA leaders discussed how to mobilize individual grassroots advocacy efforts to create a nationwide advocacy "epidemic."

The library community continues to support efforts to ensure users' privacy. ALA's Washington Office provided the latest information regarding ALA's efforts to gauge law enforcement activity in libraries. ALA has initiated a set of surveys to assess the impact of the USA PATRIOT act on libraries and library patrons. Working with several teams of academic researchers, ALA seeks to quantify and examine contacts by federal law enforcement agencies in public and academic libraries. The planning phase of the project is made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The Knight Foundation is also helping to finance these studies, with additional support anticipated from other foundations.

Libraries are not only the cornerstones of democracy, but in many communities serve as cultural centers providing users with a broad variety of intellectual, cultural and artistic programs. In that spirit, the Midwinter Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture featured a performance by the Mendelssohn String Quartet. The Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture commemorates the life of Arthur Curley, who served as ALA president from 1994-1995, and presents speakers or artists who examine many different aspects of the broad intellectual, cultural, artistic and political life in which libraries play a crucial role. More than 500 attendees listened to the performance.

Meeting attendees also had an opportunity to meet best-selling authors. Authors Jeanette Winters "The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq; " Malcolm Gladwell, "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking;" Nancy Pearl, "Book Lust;" Chris Bohjalian, "Before You Know Kindness;" Nathaniel Philbrick, "Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery-The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842" and Tom Perrotta, "Little Children" were available to sign copies of their latest works.

The ALA Youth Media Award announcements, the "Academy Awards" of children's literature winners included: John Newbery Medal winner Cynthia Kadohata for "Kira-Kira," published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Randolph Caldecott Medal winner Kevin Henkes for "Kitten's First Full Moon," published by Greenwillow Books; Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Toni Morrison for "Remember: The Journey to School Integration," published by Houghton Mifflin Company, and Coretta Scott King Illustrator award winner Kadir Nelson, for "Ellington Was Not a Street." A complete list of Youth Media Award winners and other ALA award announcements can be found at

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Generally held in January, the Association holds an annual ALA Midwinter Meeting. The Meeting draws more than 10,000 leaders in the library and information industry for some 2,500 meetings and events. Some 450 exhibits feature the latest in books, videos, computers and other materials available to today's libraries and their users. For more information regarding 2005 ALA Midwinter Meeting programs, please visit
www.ala.org/midwinter, click on the "Cognotes" icon in the left column.