August 9, 2018
Bringing ALA Conference attendees and exhibitors together
Over the past several years, one of the things I’m most proud of is my participation on the Exhibits Round Table (ERT) of the ALA. The membership of this round table includes librarians who work for libraries and both librarians and non-librarians who work for the library vendor community. I say this in rather convoluted way as I want to make the point that, while I have served the library community for many (many) years now, many of the folks I have worked with on the vendor side are actually librarians. I can’t think of another industry where a profession plays on both sides of the market as buyers and sellers and I genuinely believe it brings a unique continuity to our community.
The ERT is, itself, unique in that it represents both the vendor/exhibitor and attendee interests at the ALA conferences. I have been involved in many trade shows and conferences and the ALA is the only one where there is a “joint commission” providing guidance to the Conference Services team in the ALA organization.
As you might guess, this round table attracts folks who are genuinely interested in making the Midwinter and Annual conferences a positive experience. The ERT includes over 460 members (making it one of the larger round tables) and is represented by a twelve-member board–9 vendors and 3 librarians. I’m proud to be a part of the 2018-19 Board.
The photo above was taken at ALAAC18 in New Orleans and includes 10 of the 12 board members including (left to right): Kate Waldron (EBSCO), Jason Wells (APA Books/Magination Press), Stephanie Lund (Ingram), Susan Rhood (TLC), David Lysinger (Recorded Books), Gene Shimshock (me), Kirk Whisler (Latino Literacy Now), Kelly McElroy (Oregon State University), Alice Knapp (The Ferguson Library, CT), and Rachel Clukey (Delaware County District Library. OH). Missing from the photo are: Elenita Chmilowski (Ingram/the Daily Pretzel) and Rachel Lehman (Demco).
With all of the evolving discussion regarding the value and experience of ALA conferences, the ERT is here, today, trying to make things better for both attendees and exhibitors alike and I’m looking forward to working with this fine group as we help shape the future of these events.
P.S. More information about the ALA Exhibits Round Table can be found on the ALA website [here].