Youth Media Awards, Al Gore speech highlight ALA Midwinter Meeting

Contacts: Macey Morales / Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations

312-280-4393 / 5043 /


For Immediate Release

January 11, 2009

Conference sessions will discuss U.S. libraries during tough economic times, literacy, lifelong learning, the future of libraries and more

CHICAGO – The important role libraries play during the economic downturn will be one of the key issues discussed during the American Library Association’s 2010 Midwinter Meeting, held Jan. 15 and 19 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston. Other key Midwinter Meeting topics will include battling budget cuts, exploring new technologies and supporting education and lifelong learning.

The ALA, the oldest, largest and most influential library association in the world, will shine the spotlight on the best of the best in children’s and young adult literature and media with the ALA Youth Media Awards, as well as feature a stimulating array of speakers, including former Vice-President Al Gore.

The prestigious American Library Association Youth Media Award winners will be announced on Monday, Jan. 18, 7:45 a.m. EST. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media. Highlight awards include the Newbery and Caldecott Medals; Coretta Scott King Book Awards; Michael Printz Award and Schneider Family Book Award. New to the 2010 announcements are the Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton for lifetime achievement and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.

In addition to the Youth Media Awards, the Midwinter Meeting will focus on literacy issues during the annual President’s Program, Sunday, Jan. 17, 3:30 p.m. This year’s keynote speaker is Yohannes Gebregeorgis, founder and executive director of Ethiopia Reads, an organization that encourages a love of reading through establishing children’s and youth libraries in Ethiopia, free distribution of books to children and multilingual publishing. Gebregeorgis was selected to be one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes in 2008 for his work in establishing children’s libraries in Ethiopia.

Other meeting highlights include the ALA/ERT Author Forum, which carries the theme, “From Book to Big Screen,” a distinguished panel of authors will discuss their experiences of seeing their best-selling books become movies. At this year’s forum, held Friday, Jan. 15 from 4 to 5:15 p.m., guests include Eric Van Lustbader. Van Lustbader, the author of many bestselling thrillers, including the New York Times bestsellers “The Testament” and “The Ninja”; Chuck Hogan, author of several acclaimed novels, including “The Standoff” and “Prince of Thieves”; Tracy Chevalier is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including “Girl With A Pearl Earring” and “Burning Bright”; and Julie Powell, who in 2002 embarked on an ambitious yearlong cooking (and blogging) expedition through all 524 recipes in “Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

In addition, the Sunrise Speaker Series will showcase such accomplished authors as Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat, Pray, Love”; Atul Gawande, M.D., “Better, A Surgeon's Notes on Performance”; and Adriana Trigiani, “Very Valentine.”

Former Vice President Al Gore will deliver the annual Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16. Gore is the author of the bestsellers “Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit,” “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Assault on Reason” and is the subject of an Academy Award winning documentary. He is widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on the climate crisis.

Also on Saturday, ALA president Camila Alire and guests will present “Advocacy on the Front Lines: How to Make a Difference from Where You Sit” from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. This unique initiative is designed to motivate, encourage and train librarians and library support staff to seize opportunities to promote the diverse professionals, resources and services of public, school, academic and special libraries. The panel discussion will feature moderator Patricia Wong, County Librarian/Archivist, Yolo County Library; and others

The ALA Washington Office Update Programs beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, will include speakers on topics such as library appropriations, USA PATRIOT Act amendments, broadband funding, network neutrality, the Google Book Search Settlement and federal advocacy.

The Technology Showcase, will offer the latest trends in library technology. Presentations will occur simultaneously from 10 a.m. – 1:10 p.m.

This year’s Midwinter meeting will focus on a variety of issues facing librarians at several events and institutes, including the future of information and the role of the library, the potential of mobile Web sites, advice on how to deliver excellent library services to teens and an advocacy workshop that deals with surviving in a tough economy.

The ALA Midwinter Meeting will draw more than 10,000 leaders in the library and information industry for some 2,500 meetings and events. More than 450 exhibits will feature the latest in books, videos, computers and other materials available to today's libraries and their users.

For more information on the ALA Midwinter Meeting, please visit For advance press registration or to schedule an interview, contact Macey Morales at 312-280-4393,, or Jennifer Petersen at 312-280-5043,