ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits updates, discussion groups, institutes, speakers, conversations,and other events cover key issues such as innovation and transformation, ebook lending and usability, digital content, community engagement, leadership, the impact and potential of new technologies, books and awards, copyright, outreach, privacy, services for makers, library advocacy, core values, career development, teaching and learning, and best practices on a range of library-related concerns. There’s also a wide range of networking opportunities and fun events. Some selected preliminary highlights follow, and the full program will be added to the Conference Scheduler as programs and events are confirmed.



Check out the wide range of institutes offered by ALA divisions, offices, and round tables for conveniently timed indepth professional development on key and current topics.


With hundreds of exhibiting organizations and stages featuring the hottest authors, and numerous related fun events, the exhibit floor is an integral part of your learning, professional development, and networking that takes place at the Midwinter Meeting. Explore and discuss with expert vendors the breadth and depth of new and favorite library products, services, books, online services, tools, and technologies, and enjoy meeting authors and enjoying live stages that include Book Buzz Theater, What’s Cooking @ ALA Cooking Demonstration Stage, and the PopTop Stage.

Ribbon Cutting & Exhibits Opening Reception

The Exhibit Hall opens immediately following the Author Forum, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring a brief welcome by ALA and Chicago dignitaries. The Exhibits Opening includes food, drink, and entertainment through the exhibit hall, giving exhibitors and attendees their first chance to network as the exhibits kick off.

Exhibits Closing & Wrap Up/Rev Up Celebration

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Join us Monday afternoon to close the exhibits and rev up for the Annual Conference in San Francisco. Start in the Exhibit Hall with discount sales and exhibitors offering special giveaways in their booths. Then join us from 2-3pm for a musical and conversational celebration!

Trombone Shorty

Internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated trombone and trumpet player Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews will get you on your feet to Wrap Up 2015 Midwinter Meeting in Chicago and Rev Up for Annual Conference in San Francisco. His energetic music will be followed by a conversation with award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier. Andrews and Collier will discuss their collaboration on Trombone Shorty, a lively picture book autobiography that shows how Andrews followed his dream of becoming a musician and succeeded despite the odds. (April 2015, Abrams Books for Young Readers.)

Bryan CollierHailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today he headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest. Acclaimed illustrator Bryan Collier worked with Andrews to create his picture book autobiography that takes readers from his early dreams to international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music. Collier has won three Caldecott Honors and five Coretta Scott King Awards.

Attendees can start Wrap Up/Rev Up celebrations any time on Monday in the Exhibit Hall with discount sales and special giveaways in exhibitors’ booths. Prizes including a free registration for 2015 Annual Conference in San Francisco will be given away after the performance (you must be present to win!).

Shorty and Collier’s appearance is sponsored by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Get more information on the General Exhibits Info page.


ERT/Booklist Author Forum
Friday, January 30
4:00pm - 5:15pm

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The always popular ERT/Booklist Author Forum offers the first of many opportunities to hear and see favorite authors up close at Midwinter. This year, four acclaimed graphic novel authors and artists—Cece Bell, Françoise Mouly, Jeff Smith, and Gene Luen Yang—join Booklist Associate Editor Sarah Hunter and Eva Volin, Supervising Children's Librarian for the Alameda Free Library, to dig into graphic novels.

The Exhibits Round Table is pleased to sponsor the ERT/Booklist Author Forum as one of the many ways they collaborate with ALA staff and members to make the exhibits a dynamic part of ALA conferences. The latest books by the authors who participate in the Author Forum can be found at their publishers’ booths in the Exhibit Hall. Some authors sign copies of their latest books immediately after the ERT/Booklist Author Forum during the Exhibits Opening Reception.

Cece Bell

Cece Bell

Cece Bell has written and illustrated several books for children, including the Geisel Honor book Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover. In her most recent book, El Deafo, she shares what it is like to grow up deaf. El Deafo has received starred reviews and widespread praise. Watch and hear Bell talk about the book and demonstrate the Phonic Ear in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnj5STG0SZo.

Sponsored by ABRAMS Books

Francoise Mouly

Françoise Mouly

Françoise Mouly is art director at The New Yorker (where she has been responsible for more than 1,000 covers) and is also publisher and editorial director of TOON Books, an imprint of comics and visual narratives for young readers. She founded and coedited, with collaborator and husband Art Spiegelman, the groundbreaking comics anthology RAW, the New York Times bestselling Little Lit series, and the TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics. She has received many awards including the French Legion of Honor, the Richard Gangel Art Director Award from the Society of Illustrators, and the Eric Carle Museum Bridge Award for “sustained achievement in the realm of the illustrated book for young people.”

Sponsored by Toon Books

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

Cartoonist Jeff Smith was an early adopter of the graphic novel format and is best known as the creator of the comic book series BONE, started in 1991 and now a New York Times bestselling series that has won numerous awards and honors including 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harvey Awards. He is a board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, guest edited the 2013 Best American Comics anthology, and is the creator of TÜKI and RASL. His other books include Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil and 2009 Geisel Honor recipient Little Mouse Gets Ready.

Sponsored by Scholastic

Gene Yang

Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang's first book, American Born Chinese, is published in more ten languages, won the Printz Award and was a National Book Award finalist. His other works include the popular comics adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the New York Times bestselling graphic novel diptych Boxers & Saints--also a National Book Award Finalist. The Shadow Hero, the story of the first Asian-American superhero, is Yang’s most recent graphic novel. His next book, Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes, Fall 2015), is about kids and computers, plus a mystery.

Sponsored by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

Auditorium Speaker Series

A rare opportunity to hear leading authors, thought-leaders, and experts from adult and youth fiction, technology, popular culture, and other areas in these stimulating general sessions on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at various times!

Jason SegelJason Segel
Saturday, January 31
10:00am - 11:00am

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Well known for his work in television and film, actor, comedian, and screenwriter Jason Segel made his debut as a children's book author in 2014 with the first installment of his middle-grade trilogy Nightmares! (co-written by Kirsten Miller), with the second in the series, Nightmares: The Sleepwalker Tonic due for publication in September 2015. At its heart, Nightmares! is about kids overcoming their fears, inspired in part by Segel’s own childhood struggle with nightmares. “Ultimately, it’s a story about learning that we can accomplish anything, as long as we are brave enough to try. These are the types of stories that always inspired me,” he said. 

Segel’s numerous movie roles include most recently starring in Jake Kasdan’s “Sex Tape.”  Upcoming is James Ponsoldt’s dramatic biopic, “The End of the Tour,” in which he stars as writer David Foster Wallace.  He wrote a "Dracula" musical performed by puppets, then cowrote “The Muppets” with Nicholas Stoller. His collaboration with Stoller to write and co-produce the film “Get Him to the Greek,” won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Comedy. Segel’s other film credits (many award-winning) include: “Knocked Up,” “This is 40,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “The Five-Year Engagement,” “Despicable Me,” and “Slackers.”

On television, Segel starred as "Marshall" on the CBS hit comedy series "How I Met Your Mother."  During the show's nine season run, it was nominated for an Emmy(r) for Outstanding Comedy Series, a People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy and a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Show: Comedy. He also starred in Judd Apatow's Emmy(r) nominated television series "Freaks and Geeks" for NBC as well as Apatow's "Undeclared" for FOX.

Sponsored by Random House Children’s Books



LeVar BurtonLeVar Burton
Sunday, February 1

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Passionate and lifelong children’s literacy advocate, actor, producer, director, and educator LeVar Burton offers an unmissable treat. For three decades, Burton has been capturing the admiring attention of both audiences and his industry peers. He was host from 1983-2009 of the beloved original Reading Rainbow PBS series, is cofounder of the award winning Reading Rainbow digital library, and is currently developing the next generation of innovative children's educational media.

Burton has recently published his first children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, a picture book written with poet Susan Schaefer Bernardo and illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher. He said he was inspired to write for children about “when bad things happen to good people – which happens often in life.” He has reimagined Reading Rainbow through his company RRKidz and its award-winning mobile library; the all new Reading Rainbow App is the number one educational app on iTunes and delivers hundreds of quality books and video field trips.

Launching his acting career in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series “Roots,” Burton found himself on the cover of Time Magazine at the age of 19, and then his global acclaim grew with his role as Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series and feature films. He has been a keynote speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW) Edu, and has received the Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children's Media from Tufts University, 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy, and 5 NAACP awards.

Sponsored by Reading Rainbow

ALA President's Program

Mick Ebeling
Sunday, February 1

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Join ALA President Courtney Young as she welcomes distinguished speaker Mick Ebeling, author of Not Impossible: The Art and the Joy of Doing What Couldn’t Be Done (Atria Books, January 2015), and founder of Not Impossible Labs and The Ebeling Group, an award-winning international production company and creative think tank. He is listed as a USA Network Cultural Trailblazer and won the 2014 Muhammad Ali humanitarian of the year award.


Sponsored by Simon & Schuster


Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture


The Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture series commemorates Arthur Curley’s lifelong dedication to the principles of intellectual freedom and free public access to information. A champion of the arts and of the library’s role as a center that can transform the community, Curley was director of the Boston Public Library and served as ALA president. Past speakers include Al Gore, Neil Gaiman, Jamal Joseph, Lisa Genova, and Ishmael Beah.



Ayaan Hirsi AliAyaan Hirsi Ali
Saturday, January 31

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What happened to Islamic reform? Why have al Qaeda and Boko Haram become the faces of contemporary Islam? Why has the Arab Spring devolved into a battle over sharia law? As Arthur Curley Memorial lecturer, award winning human rights activist and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali will talk about her belief that ordinary Muslims throughout the world want wholesale change, contrary to conventional wisdom in the West.

In her forthcoming book Heretic (March 2015), the New York Times bestselling author of Infidel and Nomad crafts a powerful call for an Islamic Reformation as the only way to end the current wave of global violence and repression of women. Courageously engaging fundamentalists on their own turf—religion itself—she boldly calls for a Muslim Reformation, interweaving her personal journey, historical parallels, and powerful examples from contemporary Islamic societies and cultures.

Born in Somalia and raised Muslim, Hirsi Ali grew up in Africa and Saudi Arabia before fleeing to the Netherlands in 1992, where she went from cleaning factories to winning a seat in the Dutch Parliament. A prominent speaker, debater, and op-ed writer, she was chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and is currently a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Sponsored by HarperCollins

Martin Luther King,Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration


Dr. Cornel WestDr. Cornel West
Monday, February 2
6:30am - 7:30am

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Internationally renowned intellectual Dr. Cornel West keynotes the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual, a professor, recipient of more than 20 honorary degrees, and author of many important books including Race Matters and Democracy Matters. He appears frequently on Real Time with Bill Maher, TheColbert Report, Democracy Now, CNN, C-SPAN, and other national and international media. Dr. West’s participation is sponsored by Beacon Press.

The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration commemorates Dr. King's legacy and recognizes the connection between his life's work and the library world.



Youth Media Awards Monday, February 2, 8:00am - 9:00am (doors open at 7:30am)

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Join ALA in honoring books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens at this high-profile event. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book 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.

The 2015 award winners will be announced on Monday, February 2, in the Convention Center. A live Webcast of the award announcements will be available for those not attending in person. Coverage of the award winners will be published in the Monday issue of Cognotes, available in the convention center after the announcement. Award press releases will be posted online on ala.org. Exact times to be announced.

Book and Media Awards Ceremony and Reception Sunday, February 1, 5:00pm-7:00pm

Margaret Hawkins

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We are featuring writer, Margaret Hawkins, author of "Lydia's Party" (Viking, 2013). We'll unveil the winners of the Reading List, Notable Books and Listen List selections-lists that are used by readers' advisory librarians nationwide-as well as the winners of the Dartmouth Medal for reference, the Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish literature, the Zora Neale Hurston Award for achievement in promoting African-American literature and the Louis Shores Award for book reviewing. All ALA Midwinter Meeting participants are invited to this celebration on-site in Chicago.



"News You Can Use": Updates and Implications

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Experts offer the latest updates on policy, research, statistics, technology, and more, based on new research, surveys, reports, legislation/regulation, projects, beta trials, focus groups, and other data. Update providers include ALA divisions and offices, the ALA Digital Content Working Group, and a wide range of other organizations. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions, explore options, make recommendations, examine ideas, and reflect on the implications with colleagues at Unconference on Friday and Library Camp on Monday afternoon, as well as to follow up or start a small-group discussion in the Networking Uncommons area at any time.


ALA Masters Series

Hear and talk to experts from across library specialties describe their latest in-house innovations in these 45-minute fast-paced sessions. Grab lunch or a snack and join an ALA Masters session to get insights into the hottest trends and how your colleagues are stepping up to them.

Ben Bizzle

Ben Bizzle
Saturday, January 31
11:45am - 12:30pm
Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library


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Ben Bizzle will encourage attendees to “Start a Revolution: Stop Acting Like a Library” in an ALA Masters Series session at 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, January 31, 11:45am-12:30pm. Compelled to change the perception of the library as an antiquated institution, Bizzle and the team at Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library in Arkansas developed an aggressive technology and marketing strategy in order to better serve their community and increase public awareness of the library.

Join Bizzle as he discusses their award-winning marketing approach, sharing techniques for success alongside a provocative marketing philosophy that will spur libraries to move beyond their comfort zone, and shows how you too can engage your community and increase awareness of your local library. The title of the session is also the title of Bizzle’s book with Maria Flora, forthcoming from ALA Editions in January 2015.




Mita WilliamsMita Williams
Sunday, February 1

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Mechanic Institutes, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces, TechShops, Incubators, Accelerators, and Centers of Social Enterprise. Where do libraries fit in?


Some of our oldest public libraries were born out of mechanics institutes and many of our newest public libraries feature makerspaces. There is lengthy continuum of organizations now seem to share many similarities with today's libraries. Join this session to get a field guide to these new spaces and find out the differences that make a difference.

Mita Williams is a librarian at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She is also a founder and board member of Hackforge, a community-driven hackerspace that got its start in the front room of the Windsor Public Library. She blogs at New Jack Librarian and can be found on various social networks under the name copystar


Denise Raleigh, Donna Fletcher, Julie Stam, and Lucy Tarabour

Monday, February 2
11:45am - 12:30pm

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In 2013, the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project was created to demonstrate the power of libraries to influence readers. Libraries across Illinois responded. As readers continue to signal their real thirst for indie books, the Soon to be Famous project is also about library collaboration to discover new good reads among the tens of thousands of books self-published each year. Sundance is about indie movies and YouTube is about user-created videos. Soon to be Famous is a librarian-created space for quality indie /self-published books. Learn how to get this cutting-edge project started in your community.

Discussion Groups

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The Midwinter Meeting features more than 200 Discussion Groups—more loosely organized sessions on broad and timely topics, each sponsored by an ALA division, round table, or office. These generally highly interactive sessions may or may not have a speaker and are more open discussions than informational.

Ignite Sessions

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The popular Ignite Sessions are included at Midwinter Meeting for the first time this year. Ignite speakers present for exactly five minutes on what they’re most passionate about in the library world, and inspire the audience to join them. Each five-minute Ignite talk is accompanied by 20 slides, each displayed for 15 seconds, with slides advancing automatically.

“Ignite sessions offer the unique opportunity to quickly get exciting ideas for new programs and services in a fast-paced and entertaining setting. No other program offers such a wide array of new ideas in such a short time.”-- Patrick "PC" Sweeney, Administrative Librarian, Sunnyvale Library




Committee meetings are held during Midwinter to do the business of the association. Some meetings will be listed "closed" when they are discussing private information, but most meetings are open to any attendee, and are often a good way to learn about the business of ALA and its divisions.

Kitchen-Table Conversations

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Don’t miss your chance to be at the “kitchen table” for conversations with others in the ALA community (members, staff, attendees, external allies and partners) to dig into our shared aspirations for ALA. Everyone is welcome; these conversations help us all understand how others see things and are an important step in having your voice heard as we look at how we can collaborate and create together. Times, locations, and sign-up information will be posted here as soon as available. For more information and background, visit the

ALA Connect community

Libraries Transforming Communities Hands-On Sessions



All communities have challenges. Librarians are uniquely positioned to help conquer them — given the right tools. In these “Turning Outward” learning sessions, open to all attendees, Harwood Institute coaches will show you how to leverage your trusted position in the community you serve to engage people on issues that matter to them. Each stand-alone session focuses on a single tool; taken together, they become a powerful framework for engaging community and leading change. To access the tools that will be used and for more information about the program, please visit


ALA Governance meetings and events

ALA Council Meetings

Sunday, February 1, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Monday, February 2, 10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday, February 3, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

McCormick Place, W375e/Skyline



All Midwinter attendees are welcome to visit and observe Council at work at any of these meetings. The Council is the governing body of ALA, and delegates to the divisions of the association authority to plan and carry out programs and activities with policy established by Council. Council’s decisions are binding unless set aside by a majority vote in which one-fourth of the members of the association have voted. 

Board/ Membership Information Session

Saturday, January 31, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m

McCormick Place, W3753/Skyline,

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For an overview of what’s been going on at ALA since Annual Conference as well as a status report of the association, you will receive reports from the President, President-elect, Executive Director, Treasurer and Endowment Trustees at this meeting.

Executive Board Meetings

Friday, January 30, 8:30 – noon

Monday, February 2, 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 3, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Hyatt Regency Chicago, Comisky Room



Executive Board meetings, other than closed sessions, are open to all Midwinter attendees. The best way to get a flavor for how decisions are made within the association is to observe one of these Board meetings.

ALA Presidential Candidates’ Forum

Saturday, January 31, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

McCormick Place, W375e/Skyline.

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Become an informed voter and prepare for the 2015 ALA Elections that will take place March 24 – May 1. Each candidate will have an opportunity to present their platform, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Joint Reception

Saturday, January 31, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Hyatt Regency Chicago, Columbus AB

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Enjoy light refreshments and chat with the candidates at this informal gathering that immediately follows the ALA Presidential Candidates’ Forum. This election will be a rare event with four candidates. The 2015 candidates for ALA president are:


Joseph Janes, associate professor and chair of the MLIS program at the University of Washington Information School




La Rue


James (Jamie) LaRue, CEO of LaRue & Associaates, Castle Rock CO






JP Porcaro, Librarian for Acquisitions and Technological Discovery at the New Jersey Cith University Guarini Library






Julie Todaro, Dean of Library Services at Austin (Texas) Community College


Networking Uncommons



Make the connections you want at the Networking Uncommons, a dedicated area where you can gather in small groups to have a quick meeting, polish your presentation, follow up on a discussion, or just recharge your batteries. The area features tables, chairs, free convention center wifi, and a projector and screen, as well as some gadgets in case you want to push content out in real-time. You can sign up for a time slot if you want to plan ahead—otherwise just show up. You can also check the topics each day to see what interests you. (Please note that commercial organizations and services that are not exhibiting with ALA cannot sign up for dedicated time in the Uncommons.)

Unconference and Library Camp


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Everyone is welcome at both the Unconference on Friday and Library Camp on Monday afternoon to ask questions, explore options, make recommendations, examine ideas, and reflect on the implications of updates, conversations, and what you’ve learned at Midwinter.

The Unconference takes place on Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm. This participant-guided experience brings the unstructured conversations people often have between conference sessions into the conference itself.

Round out your experience at Library Camp on Monday afternoon, 3:30-5:00pm. Attendees will get together to talk about anything library- or conference-related with a focus on reflecting on what inspired you at the Midwinter Meeting. Come prepared to share your experiences and/or lead an informal discussion on a topic of your choice.

Think Fit @ ALA

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Thank you to our Primary Sponsor:

Innovative Interfaces



Think Fit @ ALA is our healthy, well-being initiative with a focus on both personal health and environmental awareness. It includes a range of sessions, programs and events--look for the Think Fit event in the Ticketed Events section.

Saturday, January 31
7:00am - 8:00am


Join certified Zumba Instructors Megan and Suzy for 60 minutes of good, clean, sweaty fun! They will provide different levels of movement, providing an accessible and challenging workout for any fitness level.

They take the "work" out of workout, by mixing low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning dance fitness party. Once the Latin and World rhythms take over, you'll see why Zumba®

Fitness classes are often called exercise in disguise.

Megan Knee
Chicago, IL

Suzy Crawford
Evanston, IL

*Tickets are non-refundable




Provided by the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR), the ALA JobLIST Placement Center will be open Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, with an orientation on Saturday at 8:30 am and an Open House on Sunday, 10:30am - 12:00pm. Jobseekers may attend career guidance workshops, talk to a career counselor, have your resume reviewed, and talk to employers in the Placement Center. All services are free to job seekers and ALA membership is not required.

Get more information, including--for employers--how to reserve a booth and how to use the interviewing facilities.

Visit the Placement Center Website




The ALA Store offers products that meet the widest range of your promotional and continuing education/ professional development needs. With plenty of new and bestselling items available, make sure to carve out some time in your schedule to stop by! The store will be located in McCormick Place West.




Chicago has lots to offer! Visit the Local Info page for links and ideas, for more information and to help plan your free time.