February 20, 2018

Decent Attendance at ALA Midwinter Meeting; Dues Increase Moves Ahead

By LJ Staff

Call it the expected effect of the remote location. The American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting last week drew 11,084 attendees, compared to 13,232 attendees in Boston last year, but a fraction more than the 10,788 who came to San Diego in 2004. One positive note, according to ALA director of conference services Deidre Ross: this was the largest paid exhibit space for a Midwinter Meeting. Though preregistrations remain on schedule for the Annual Conference in June in Katrina-battered New Orleans, there remained some unease about the show. ALA executive director Keith Fiels told the Executive Board that there was no planned reduction in New Orleans exhibit hours as of yet, but, given that the Friday and Tuesday of the conference are days set aside for community projects, the exhibit schedule may be tweaked because some exhibitors want to work on community projects.

On January 25, ALA Council activities were suspended 15 minutes so all present could call their legislators in Washington, DC to lobby for a revised USA PATRIOT Act with safeguards requested by civil liberties advocates. Council also passed a resolution increasing dues, over a three-year period, subject to approval by membership on the spring ballot. The increase would raise as much as $927,868 through 2009. Those who are members for three years or more would see their dues rise from $100 to $130 from 2007 through 2009. The dues increase still must be ratified by ALA membership. Some Councilors said they supported a graduated dues increase linked to salaries, though others warned that it could lead to unpredictable revenues, and might not be fair to those in higher-cost states. Ultimately, Council asked the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) to analyze the issue of a graduated dues increase.