June 21, 2012 marked the start of this year’s ALA Annual Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center. A tradition that has occurred in the American Library Association (ALA) since its founding in 1876, ALA annual is an event that attracts thousands of library professionals and advocates. This year ALA Annual welcomed over 20,000 library lovers
nationally and internationally. 2008 was the last time Anaheim received ALA visitors and it proved to be a popular location for the convention. “Southern California also has many attractive cultural and entertainment activities so people can come here, go to the conference, and take a vacation. Or in a place like Anaheim, one can bring their family where one goes to the conference and their family can go to Disneyland
,” said Molly Raphael
, President of the American Library Association (ALA) 2010-2012
Conference attendees had the opportunity to peruse over 850 publisher
and vendor exhibits which included Scholastic, Simon & Shuster, Disney, ProQuest, Harper Collins, and Little, Brown and Company among many others. The exhibit hall also included readings by notable authors at the Live @ your library
Reading Stage as well as cooking demonstrations at the What’s Cooking @ ALA
While some families stopped to take photographs with their favorite storybook characters in the exhibit hall, hundreds lined up in anticipation of meeting their favorite authors and receiving signed copies of their books. Some of the popular authors who graced ALA Annual this year were popular children’s author Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events
), award-winning author Sapphire (Push, The Kid
), television personality Henry Winkler (The Hank Zipzer
series), and first time author Chris Colfer from the Fox hit show Glee
who remarked during his ALA presentation with the words “I love librarians”.
ALA Annual is also a chance for library professionals from around the world to congregate and exchange ideas on the latest trends in the library field. This conference serves as professional training and intellectual expansion for those looking to develop the libraries in their own communities. “ALAconference provides a venue for people to talk about advances in librarianship and so many people learn about changes or new directions or how to implement certain initiatives through the ALAconference and attending programs. They also have a great opportunity to network and connect with people from libraries of all different types andfrom different parts of the world” commented Molly Raphael.
This year ALA offered hundreds of workshops, lectures, poster sessions, special events that helped enrich the minds of conference visitors. A highlight of the conference was a film series that was brought back to ALA Annual this year because of popular demand. Now Showing @ ALA
presented a variety of films and documentaries throughout the conference wherein viewers could speak and exchange ideas with the writers, directors, or subjects of the films.
ALA Annual is also the Academy Awards of literature and achievements in the publishing, scholarship, and technology. Throughout the conference award ceremonies took place at the various convention sites in Anaheim. Two of the most prestigious literary award ceremonies took place on Sunday, the Pura Belpré
and the Coretta Scott King
awards. The Pura Belpré awards ceremony honored the leading illustrators and authors in Latino children’s literature and the Coretta Scott King Awards recognized this year’s best in African American authors and illustrators for youth.
In a time when libraries are struggling because of the advancement of technology, the ALA Annual conference exists to fortify not only the library profession, but the library experience for all. Molly Raphael stated, “The future is yet to be written in so many ways, but it's an extremely challenging and exciting time to be working in library. A rapidly shifting ground under you as you are trying to get your balance makes it very difficult, but it's also exciting and generates a lot of energy in people. And I will tell you that libraries are in a very important transitional period, but one in whichwe are making the kind of changes we need to make and we are going to be around for a long time.”
For more information on the American Library Association and this year’s ALA Annual conference: www.ala.org