It was an upbeat annual conference for the American Library Association in Anaheim, but attendance figures barely squeaked past that of last year’s show in New Orleans. As the show closed, ALA officials reported that 20,134 attended the 2012 meeting in Anaheim, roughly flat with the 20,125 at the 2011 show. The number of paid attendees dipped, however, to 11,056 from 11,988 in 2011, while the number of exhibitors ticked up slightly in to 5,388 from 5,274 last year.
The 2012 figures are fairly solid, given the current fiscal straits facing many libraries and that attendance usually dips when the meeting is held on the West Coast. But they are somewhat disappointing considering that 22,047 attended the conference in Anaheim when it was held there in 2008, and the total remains sharply off the record-setting conference in 2009, when nearly 29,000 attended the conference in Chicago, and 2010, when more than 26,000 attended the meeting in Washington, D.C.
The good news for ALA—the conference returns to Chicago next year.
Correction: an earlier version of this story referred to the 2014 ALA conference being in Washington, D.C. In fact, it is Las Vegas. You can find the list of upcoming ALA conference locations here.