May 26, 2022

Reduced Numbers: ALA Releases 2015 Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits Attendance Figures

From ALA:

More than 10,000 people passed through the doors of McCormick Place for the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits, Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2015.

Attendance figures for the past three ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits are as follows:

CHICAGO (2015)
Attendees: 7,171
Exhibitors: 3,466
Total: 10,637

Attendees: 8,091
Exhibitors: 3,763
Total: 11,854

SEATTLE (2013)
Attendees: 6,694
Exhibitors: 4,037
Total 10,731

Comment From Gary Price:

Attendance was down. Why? It’s likely many decided not to take the chance of heading to Chicago for a conference at the beginning of February due to “weather issues.” While 10,000 is a lot of people it doesn’t take into account people who left early to miss the storm or got stuck in Chicago after the storm hit.

Second, as I heard from several people at conference, while it might be cheaper to have a conference in the Windy City during the Winter, it doesn’t take into account people getting stuck in the city due to weather forcing them to spend extra dollars on hotel/food, aggravation at the airport, time away from work and family, etc.

Third, on a personal note, most of what I had planned on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday was cancelled directly and indirectly due to the weather. Ugh.

Fourth, we will be listening for the thoughts of vendors who spend $$$ for their exhibit hall booths.

Btw, I LOVE Chicago. No, I really love Chicago. I am and will always be a proud Chicagoan who now happens to live in another city (that I also adore). It’s the city of my birth, where many relatives and friends still reside, where I was married, and a place I return to often. It’s the place where I experienced -87 degrees temps (with wind chill) while in high school. I love showing Chicago off and talking about all things Chicago (hot dogs, politics, and sports (incl. the Cubs).

However, I’m not so sure that it’s the best place to ask a large number of people, many traveling long distances, to gather at this time of the year. Yes, bad weather can take place anywhere but it’s Chicago and it’s Winter. Be advised.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year. ALA Midwinter 2016 is in Boston. (-:

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.