ALA Rebounds in Seattle
More than 9,000 librarians and vendors attended the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, held January 25–29, a welcome rebound for ALA after two straight years of lagging attendance. In all, ALA reported 9,211 total attendees, up significantly over the 8,036 attendees at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting in Denver (the least-attended Midwinter Meeting in 30 years). And with the 2019 ALA Annual Conference set for Washington, D.C.—a location that has traditionally yielded ALA’s best-attended conferences—the 13 % attendance boost in Seattle is a good start to what is setting up to be an important year for the association.
Among the conference highlights was an inspiring opening keynote by Melinda Gates, whose upcoming memoir, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, is due out from Flatiron Books in April. In her 45-minute talk, Gates spoke passionately about the fight for gender equality and challenged librarians to act. “The demand for gender equality is growing louder, and it is coming from all over the world,” she said, while warning that continued progress is not inevitable. “If we want to summon a moment of lift for women and girls, a moment that will lift up all of humanity, we all need to step up, every single one of us in this room.”