The 2012 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting opened in Dallas with a reception on the exhibit floor. Although pre-registration numbers are slightly lower than previous years, nearly 10,000 librarians, publishers, authors, and vendors are expected. Among the meeting’s highlights: the announcement of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards, including the coveted Newbery and Caldecott medals (which will be announced Monday morning); a bustling exhibit floor;a slate of ALA committee meetings; and a strong author presence.
This year's Auditorium Speaker Series featured a cast of leading authors and authorities across all genres, including adult and young adult fiction, technology, and popular culture. Among those attending: John Green. Wildly popular among librarians, Green addressed how social networking relates to literature—and how librarians can reach patrons through fun and inventive social networking. Green has more than 1,125,000 Twitter followers and his “vlogbrothers” YouTube channel has 500,000 subscribers and almost 125 million downloads. Green’s appearance at Midwinter is sponsored by Penguin Young Readers and kicks off the tour for his upcoming book, The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton).
ALA Midwinter is also known as the “get-things-done” meeting, where various groups and committees meet face-to-face to conduct their business and librarians discuss the issues facing the profession. When it comes to those issues and discussions, this year may be remembered as one of the most challenging ever for libraries. The meeting comes as discussions with publishers over e-books is at a low-point; With librarians in strong opposition to proposed legislaiton in Washington, including SOPA and the Research Works Act; with court cases winding their way through the system. And of course, a stressed budget environment.