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2009 Annual Conference Board Meeting, July 12, 2009

Minutes of theExhibits Round TableBoard MeetingJuly 12, 2009McCormick Place, ChicagoThe meeting was called to order by Chair, Kathy Young, at 7:30 am.

Board members in attendance:

Kathy Young, Chair             Kay Runge, Librarian Vice-ChairJoe Frueh, Vendor Vice-ChairJohn Ison, Secretary   Ernie DiMattia, TreasurerJay AskuvichOsha GulaGeneva HollidayAthena MichaelMarc RobersonGene ShimshockTodd Voorhees

Staff present:

Joseph Egan, Liaison to the ALA Executive BoardDeidre Ross, ALA Conference ServicesPatrick Murphy, ALA Conference ServicesPaul Graller, Hall-Erickson, Inc.

Treasurer’s Report

Asset balance was at $15,714 as of May 31, 2009 compared to $14,418 on the same date in 2008.

Membership Report

Personal memberships were 148, up two from 2008; Organizational memberships were 33, up one; Corporate memberships have decreased by 20 to 240.

Position on Scholarship Bash Committee

Kathy announced that Kay Runge has agreed to continue to serve on the committee.

ERT Web Site

Osha reported that she had received input from 5-6 board members regarding suggested changes to the web site.  Geneva is working with a volunteer, Nancy (nancy@auburnmoonagency.com) to help get the requested changes posted on the ERT website.

Scholarship Bash

Kay reported that 2,400 people attended the Bash at the Art Institute.  This was the same number as at Disneyland in 2008.

ERT Position in ALA Structure

Ernie and Joseph reported that they are continuing to investigate appropriate changes for the board to review.

ALA 101

Gene developed a PowerPoint presentation covering exhibits and ERT.  Board members will present this five times during the conference.

Exhibit Promotions

The board was given copies of the article Gene and Joe wrote for American Libraries which was published in the June/July issue.  The board discussed ways to distribute the article more widely.  The board also discussed ways of adding information to illustrate the financial benefit that exhibits bring to ALA and the potential cost of registering for the conference if there was no income from exhibits.  Ways to use the article as a base for showing the value of ERT to exhibitors were also discussed.

New Members’ Round Table

Ernie contacted NMRT to arrange a presentation at the orientation session and was told that a new format for this session has been adopted where members report on their experience in exhibits.  Board members agreed that we should find out more about this and possibly attend sessions to be available for questions.


Paul reported that there had been difficulties coordinating since the company was purchased by GES.  There is no timeline for delivering services.

Seating on the Show Floor

Joe reiterated earlier concerns that ALA provides no seating for attendees on the show floor.  When people are tired they either sit in exhibitors’ booths or leave the hall seeking a seat.  The board strongly requested that at future conferences there be approximately 30 seating locations at tables throughout the exhibit hall.

Other General Concerns about Exhibits

Board members expressed displeasure with the following at McCormick Place and asked Conference Services to build in improvements in all future contracts with convention facilities:

  • Food service.  There were few food stations available and people experienced very long waits.
  • Lost & Found.  The procedure to follow if an attendee looses something should be detailed in the program book.
  • Cleanliness of the facility.  Most restrooms in the exhibit hall had no hand soap and general cleanliness was poor.

Cookbook Pavilion

Paul reported that the response to the cookbook pavilion had been very strong and demonstrations had been well attended.

Pre-show Cognotes

The board observed that the pre-show issues were well done and useful for attendees.

Live Animals in Exhibits

The board and conference services agreed to maintain the ban on live animals in the exhibit hall other than service animals.

Badge Lanyards

As at most recent ALA conferences board members were highly displeased by the lanyards ALA provided as they allowed name badges to frequently turn backwards.  Deidre stated that she had provided the sponsor specifications that require two hanging points but that lanyards with swivel attachments were received.  The board strongly recommended that Conference Services handle purchasing the lanyards for the sponsor to ensure that suitable ones are supplied.  This is a recurring issue.

Exhibiting Companies

Paul reported that there were 758 exhibiting companies occupying 144,488 square feet of space.  The space is down from 150,120 square feet in 2008.


Deidre reported that as of EOD Saturday there were 21,343 attendees compared to 15,436 in 2008.

Minutes prepared by John Ison, Board Secretary.