April 23, 2014

ALA Picks Chicago for Three More Years; BEA Moves One Week Earlier

The American Library Association (ALA), which already planned to hold its annual conference in Chicago in 2013 and 2017, now plans to hold the event there in 2020, 2023, and 2026 as well, according to the Trade Show News Network (TSNN).

ALA was last held in Chicago in 2009, an event which featured record attendance.

“The recent legislative changes and cooperation from Chicago’s labor unions have made this agreement possible,” TSNN quoted Maureen Sullivan, president of ALA, as saying.

The changes, TSNN reported, include a voluntary agreement by Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, which oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 2, to allow IATSE stagehands to handle sound and lighting for presentations and performances, which was previously done by IBEW electricians.

The move follows labor reforms implemented last November, according to Meetingsnet.com, which allow show managers and exhibitors to do their own work in any size booth, using their own ladders and tools; and exhibitors to load and unload their own vehicles. It also reduced union work crews from three to two people, and decreased the time period which requires overtime pay.

Mary Ghikas, senior associate executive director of ALA, told LJ some of the reasons why the association is coming back to Chicago so often. “We get good attendance in Chicago; we get a lot of drive-in attendance in Chicago; it’s a very library-dense area. There’s good support for both attendees and exhibitors here. It’s easy to get in and out of the city. Pick a mode of transportation and it probably goes in and out of Chicago directly,” she said.

In addition to the benefits of Chicago, there are benefits to committing to a single city for multiple shows. “There are really positive aspects to doing multi-year contracts,” Ghikas continued. “It’s much cheaper to rent a convention center if you’re doing it for more than one year.”

Other forthcoming multiyear plans include two Midwinters to be held in Denver, which the ALA board approved in Dallas, and several ALA Annuals to be held in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. However those are pending contract negotiations which have yet to be completed.

ALA isn’t the only tradeshow saving money for attendees: BookExpo America will take place one week earlier in 2013, organizer Reed Exhibitions announced. The earlier date is expected to drive down hotel prices by 10-20 percent, and there will be no additional costs for exhibitors. Exhibits will now be open May 30-June 1; Conference Day and the Book Blogger Conference will be May 29.

Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz (mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com) is Senior Editor, News and Features of Library Journal.

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