From Jan. 8–12, 2016, the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting will return to one of America’s great library cities: Boston. The group expects nearly 10,000 librarians, publishers, and vendors to descend on the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) for five days of professional sessions, talks, meetings, and an impressive lineup of speakers. And though New England winters can daunting, the words famously engraved on the Boston Public Library’s facade, Free to all, are a reminder that our nation is built on access to information, culture, education, and opportunity—values librarians stand for every day in their work, and themes that will be on display throughout the event.


The main auditorium speaker program begins Friday, January 8, with a conversation featuring documentarian Ken Burns and literary nonfiction writers Mark Kurlansky and Terry Tempest Williams, moderated by Booklist editor Donna Seaman (4–5:15 p.m.). The panel is titled “The Writer as Witness,” addressing the “challenges and pleasures of telling true stories,” according to the program.

On Saturday, January 9, author and fashion industry leader Isaac Mizrahi (10–11 a.m.) will discuss his 2016 memoir, I.M. (Amy Einhorn Books/Penguin Random House). From 1 to 2 p.m., join bestselling author Andre Dubus III as he talks with librarian and author Nancy Pearl. From 4 to 5 p.m. be inspired by author Lizzie Velasquez. Born with a rare syndrome that causes accelerated aging, Velasquez has gone on to become a powerful motivational speaker, author, and antibullying advocate.

On Sunday, January 10, Jo Ann Jenkins, former chief operating officer at the Library of Congress and current CEO of AARP, will discuss her book Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age (AARP), in which she set out “to change the current conversation about what it means to get older” (10–11 a.m.). From 3:30 to 5:30 is the ALA President’s Program, which will be keynoted by United States senator Cory Booker, who will discuss his life and work in politics, as well as his forthcoming book, United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good (Random House).

On Monday, January 11, civil rights activist and author Mary Frances Berry will keynote the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration (6:30–7:30 a.m.). Her new book, Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy (Beacon), will be published in February 2016 and addresses voter suppression. And closing out the main program, Chelsea Clinton takes the stage (2–3 p.m.) to discuss her latest book, It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! (Penguin).

Awards and More

The highlight of every ALA Midwinter, of course, is the announcement of the coveted Youth Media Awards, which will take place from 8 to 9 a.m. on Monday, January 11. The ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King awards, are recognized worldwide as the most prestigious awards celebrating children’s and young adult literature and media.

And for the first time in the award’s short history, the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, the ALA’s adult book honors, will be announced during Midwinter, reflecting a new calendar for the award—initially, the Carnegie Medals were given out at the ALA Annual Conference over the summer, putting the awards rather behind schedule. The 2016 Carnegie Medals (given for the best books of 2015) will be presented at a reception on Sunday, January 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.

And don’t forget the exhibitors—more than 450 organizations will exhibit at ALA Midwinter, showing off a range of new library products, services, books, online services, tools, and technologies, in addition to the author readings, signings, and professional presentations held at multiple pavilions, and on stages in the show floor. The exhibit hall opens with a reception on Friday evening, January 8, immediately following the opening general session.

ALA Midwinter 2016 Preview: ALA Midwinter Program Picks

The American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting is where the association conducts its business—committees move forward (however glacially), and hardworking but fun-filled awards committees arrive at their hotly contested decisions.

ALA Midwinter 2016 Preview: We Need to Talk About Reference

We take a look back at some of the library stories that captivated the publishing world in 2015, and a look ahead at what they portend for 2016.

School & Library Spotlight: Hot Topics for School Libraries

Makerspaces, computer coding for kids, the Transform Your School Library initiative, and other topics school librarians are buzzing about.

PW Talks with Rosen Publishing CEO Roger Rosen

Rosen Publishing CEO Roger Rosen talks digital innovation and librarians' roles in today's society.

What Are Students Reading?

Follett, distributor of technologies, services and digital and print content to the educational market, has created Follett Students’ Choice, a new tool that ranks the top 50 books with the most checkouts in a given month.