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The ALAs Midwinter meeting has a somewhat different focus from its annual conference. While both offer opportunities for continuing education including classes and a robust vendor exhibition, the Midwinter meeting is smaller in scale (9-10,000 attendees versus 20,000 plus at the July annual). Like SLA's Midwinter Leadership Summit that provides a learning experience for division, chapter, and association leaders and a face-to-face planning venue for the following June's annual conference, ALA's January meeting does this and much more.
From January 15-18th more than 8,500 ALA members flocked to Boston's new Convention and Exhibition Center and to meeting rooms in 13 hotels across the city to participate in a variety of programs and discussion groups (facilitated meetings where unit members can discuss timely topics) and to visit 800 vendor exhibit booths. Conference activities included a speaker series featuring prominent authors, the President's Program focusing on literacy in Ethiopia, and the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture delivered by former Vice President Al Gore. Total attendance was 11,095 (8,526 members and 2,569 exhibitors) which beat last year's total of 10,220 for the Midwinter Meeting in Denver but fell short of the 2008 tally in Philadelphia of 13,601 (10,533 members and 3,068 exhibitors).
ALA uses its Midwinter meeting to announce the "academy awards" of children's literature, among them the Newberry and Caldecott Medals and the Coretta Scott King Awards. The conference also includes a Candidates' Forum so members could hear the views of those running for Association level office, placement services, and business meetings of the governing bodies of the Association, the ALA Council and the Executive Board.
For the first time, however, the 2010 Midwinter conference agenda did not include any formal BRASS (Business Reference and Services …