After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference & Exhibition will be held on June 23-28, 2022, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. ReadersMagnet will exhibit at booth 1147.

How important is the ALA Annual in the library marketplace and publishing industry? What do you need to know about ALA? 
  • The oldest library association in the world, the American Library Association (ALA) was founded on October 6, 1876.
    • Its head office is currently based in Chicago.
  • However, the first national meeting of America’s librarians took place in 1853 in New York City.
    • They next gathered in Philadelphia in 1876 – at the same time and city as the Centennial Exposition of 1876.
    • The meeting in Philadelphia was attended by 103 librarians – 90 men and 13 women.
  • ALA also serves the distinction of being the largest library association in the world, with approximately 64,600 members.
  • At the 1911 conference in Pasadena, CA, ALA elected the first woman as president, Mrs. Theresa West Elmendorf.
  • When the U.S. entered World War I, ALA became a major participant. It created the Library War Service.
  • ALA celebrated its 50th anniversary in Philadelphia in 1926.
  • In 1939, ALA adopted the first Library Bill of Rights (LBR), drafted by Forrest Spaulding to fight against censorship.
  • ALA celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1951 in Chicago with the theme “The Heritage of the U.S.A. in Times of Crisis”.
  • In 1957, the National Book Committee, a joint committee of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, recommended the establishment of a National Library Week.
    • The first National Library Week was observed May 16-22, 1958, with the theme “Wake Up and Read.”
  • In 1961, ALA took a stand against racial segregation.
  • ALA established the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) in 1969 and the Black Caucus of the ALA in 1970.
  • ALA celebrated its centennial at the 1976 conference in Chicago.
  • ALA approved the “Policy on Library Services to the Poor” in 1990 and formed the Task Force on Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty in 1996.
  • In 2022, ALA and other organizations formed a coalition to fight the nationwide wave of book bans and challenges.
The ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition
  • As the world’s largest library-oriented tradeshow averaging 1400 booths, the ALA Annual brings together librarians and library staff, educators, authors, publishers, friends of libraries, trustees, special guests, and exhibitors from all over the country.
  • The average total attendance in an ALA Annual is 25,000, which includes paid attendees and guests, exhibitor staff, and ALA staff.
  • A typical ALA Annual Conference includes approximately 2,500 separately-scheduled events – programs, meetings, banquets, and other events – over a four-day period.
  • ALA Conference Services must provide a block of 8,300-8,500 hotel rooms and an average of 325-350 meeting rooms to meet demands.
  • The ALA Annual Conference currently requires an average of 350,000 gross square feet of convention center space (including space for aisles, food service, post office, internet access, etc.).
  • ALA needs to identify and hold sites 8-10 years in advance to get the necessary combination of the convention center and hotel space.
  • Speakers at the 2022 ALA Annual Conference include actor John Cho, stand-up comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish, author R.L Stine, actor, and producer Channing Tatum, and comic book artist and writer Kevin Eastman.
References: Review sites: Social media Press releases