People who care about books, learning and knowledge are alive and well in the world, as evidenced by the American Library Association Mid-Winter Meeting held in Boston last weekend.
Over 12,000 librarians, book buyers, authors and publishers attended the industry show, held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in the Seaport District.
The theme of this year’s meeting – The Conversation Starts Here – refers to the longstanding ability of libraries to transform lives through learning and access to information.
“There is no better time than in an election year – when topics such as education, employment and the economy are at the forefront – to communicate the library’s role in fostering individual opportunity and community progress,” noted ALA President Sari Feldman.
Numerous librarians, authors and guest speakers talked about the transformative state of the library and publishing world today, with traditional formats like printed materials and nuts-and-bolts library environments embracing the digital age and creating new interactive opportunities to learn.
Noted filmmaker Ken Burns, a panelist at the ERT/Booklist Author Forum, said that “libraries have turned into the most important places in my work for the last 40 years.”
The delegates took delight in being in Boston, home of the Boston Public Library – the nation’s first free, public library. Many of them took guided tours of the BPL’s facilities and holdings.
The Boston Athenaeum, created in 1807 as the first private library in the American colonies, offered an art and architecture tour for the librarians, and so did Houghton Library at Harvard University.
A number of Massachusetts publishers were present, including Houghton Mifflin, Candlewick Press, David R. Godine Publisher and MIT Press, along with companies from other parts of the country such as Globe Pequot Press of Connecticut, Rowman & Littlefield of Maryland, and Peachtree Publishers of Georgia.
The international book community was represented by the Beijing Book Fair/ China National Publications Group, Elsevier Inc. of Holland and the Frankford Book Fair of Germany.
A number of vendors and suppliers exhibited at the meeting, ranging from Infor Library and Information Systems of Framingham, MA, which manages metadata and library services, to Clancy Relocation & Logistics of Patterson, NY, specialists in library relocation and collection management services. Here is a full list of exhibitors.
National Library Week is celebrated this year on April 1-16, 2016, during which libraries across Massachusetts will create learning activities, author readings and open houses to promote the value of libraries in the Bay State.