Making the Most of Midwinter

Meeting must-dos for Atlanta, January 20–24, 2017

November 1, 2016

ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits

Midwinter offers numerous opportunities to connect and engage with colleagues. You’ll witness the transformative power of libraries, discuss trends and innovations, see policy and advocacy take shape, and discover ways to make your institution more diverse and inclusive.

This year, in addition to the events and sessions you’ve come to expect from Midwinter, you’ll have a chance to be part of the new Symposium on the Future of Libraries.

Staying ahead of the curve

Sponsored by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Center for the Future of Libraries, the new Symposium on the Future of Libraries is included with full registration for the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits. It offers you the chance to spend Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (January 21–23) exploring the near-term trends already inspiring innovation in academic, public, school, and special libraries, and the longer-term trends that will help us adapt to the needs of our communities. Advanced sign-up is not required.

The symposium integrates and builds upon Midwinter’s popular ALA Masters Series and News You Can Use updates, which highlight advances in libraries. It will include:

  • Plenary sessions with the civic, education, and social innovators who are creating what’s next for cities, campuses, and communities
  • Insights from library professionals introducing new services, spaces, collections, and partnerships
  • Discussions with experts and thinkers from allied professions and disciplines sharing their visions for the future and helping us think beyond our current work
  • Emerging products and services for libraries in the exhibit hall

For more information, see the Symposium on the Future of Libraries schedule.

Compelling speakers

W. Kamau Bell <span class="credit"> Photo: John Novak/© Cable News Network, Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.</span>
W. Kamau Bell
Photo: John Novak/© Cable News Network, Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.

Midwinter showcases high-profile and inspiring speakers, including bestselling authors, thought leaders, industry icons, and technology innovators.

  • Get inspired by acclaimed sociopolitical comedian W. Kamau Bell at the Opening Session (Friday, January 20); see award-winning children’s book authors Susan Tan and Margarita Engle team up to talk diversity in youth literature as part of the Auditorium Speaker Series (Saturday and Sunday, January 21–22); and don’t miss the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture (Saturday, January 21), commemorating Curley’s dedication to intellectual freedom and the library as a center of transformation.
  • Attend the ALA President’s Program (Sunday, January 22) where Julie B. Todaro will offer an update on the “Expert in the Library” focus of the ongoing Libraries Transform campaign.
  • Be a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration (Monday, January 23), commemorating King’s legacy and recognizing the connection between his life’s work and the library world.
  • Neil Patrick Harris Photo: Robert Trachtenberg
    Neil Patrick Harris
    Photo: Robert Trachtenberg

    Neil Patrick Harris—actor, producer, director, author, and magician—will be the Closing Session speaker (Monday, January 23). Harris’s latest endeavor is The Magic Misfits, in which he combines his passion as a magic enthusiast with his recent experiences as a parent to craft a book series that will inspire and entertain middle-grade kids.

Collaborative learning

Hundreds of peer-driven topics for formal and informal discussion are complemented by the Library Unconference (Friday, January 20) and the Ignite Sessions (Saturday and Sunday, January 21–22). Networking Uncommons provides opportunities for questions, networking, conversation, small-group follow-ups, and impromptu sessions throughout the conference.

The exhibit hall

With more than 450 exhibitors and hundreds of authors, you can get the latest on books, products, technology, tools, and services in the exhibit hall. Attend signings, take home ARCs, and enjoy specialty pavilions and live stages including the Book Buzz Theater, What’s Cooking @ ALA Cooking Demonstration Stage, and the PopTop Stage (Friday–Monday, January 20–23). Visit the General Exhibits page for more information.

And the winners are …

  • For the second time at Midwinter, announcements of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction will be announced as part of the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony and Reception (Sunday, January 22) alongside the Reading List, Notable Books, and Listen List selections.
  • Honoring books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens, the Youth Media Awards (Monday, January 23) will announce the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Coretta Scott King, and other youth awards and medals.

Ticketed events

For special events that require tickets and a wide range of professional development opportunities preceding Midwinter, visit the Ticketed Events page. Of special note for 2017 is the ALSC Mini Institute (Friday, January 20), a one-day learning opportunity focused on youth services librarianship.


ESSA and school libraries

ESSA and School Libraries

ALA/AASL sessions train librarians on the fundamentals

Carla Hayden

America’s Librarian

Carla Hayden plans to continue her career-long focus on access and technology as Librarian of Congress