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  • 1.  Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 13, 2018 12:01 PM

    I posted this information to ALA Council list on 7/12/18.  I wanted to share this information on Connect as well. 


    Over the past 10 years, the Midwinter Meeting has contributed on average just over $650,000 every year to ALA's Offices and ALA's Support Services (IT, HR, Accounting, Facilities) that support our mission but don't generate revenue. Midwinter 2016 and 2017 in Boston and Chicago respectively contributed just over $720,000 in overhead support, which is charged automatically to revenues, before the net bottom line.

    The $720,000 contribution covers over 80% of the full year FY18 budgets of the Offices of Diversity, Research & Evaluation, and International Relations combined.   


    This information does not mean that we should not consider modifications to the MidWinter conference.  Declining total revenue which we have seen in recent MidWinter conferences results in declining overhead to support units.   We have to analyze options carefully and plan for potential revenue impacts.

    Susan Hildreth, Treasurer

    Susan Hildreth
    Professor of Practice 9/16 - 6/18
    University of Washington Information School

  • 2.  RE: Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 14, 2018 03:46 PM
    Perhaps if ALA midwinter was held in a warmer place, more people would attend.  Midwinter is important for committee work.  Virtual meetings help but face to face discussion and work is vital.  give us some financial data on midwinters held in warm places.

    Bernadine Abbott Hoduski
    Govt Inf Advisor

  • 3.  RE: Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 16, 2018 07:02 AM
    Costs would increase by going to a warmer location in the winter. It is a gamble if the attendee numbers do not increase to cover the new costs. In the past, meeting attendances <g class="gr_ gr_189 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="189" data-gr-id="189">was</g> also driven by those local to the conference.

    Brian Gray
    Team Leader Research Services & Engineering Librarian
    Case Western Reserve University
    Cleveland, OH

  • 4.  RE: Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 17, 2018 01:53 PM
    While I agree the cost for conference attendance would rise if MidWinter was in a warmer location, it would be nice to know to if it would rise a little or a lot. If it's just a little, the event may be more likely to get people such as myself who aren't traveling to locations that are even colder than where they live in the winter. I've never asked my employer if I could attend MidWinter because I dislike cold weather. If the cost for attendance would rise significantly by moving it to warmer areas, then I definitely see how that would be counterproductive.

    LeeAnn McNabb
    Branch Manager
    Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

  • 5.  RE: Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 16, 2018 11:39 AM
    I have to say that as long as Midwinter is still bringing in well over half a million dollars in revenue to support the activities of ALA (as reported by Susan Hildreth, ALA Treasurer), many of which are, by nature, not able to be self-sustaining, I can't understand any move to eliminate the conference altogether. I do understand that if there is an ongoing trend toward smaller attendance, fewer exhibitors, etc., then this trend needs to be addressed before the conference slides into non-profitability. But it seems like tweaking things to address these specific problems, rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, would be the more sensible approach. As to complaints about meeting in New Orleans in June (not to mention Orlando, or other previous hot summer locations), I've always assumed that ALA deliberately chooses "off season" locations in order to save money. Sure it's less pleasant for attendees, but my guess is it's also much less expensive for the organization. I do really appreciate efforts in recent years to consolidate meeting locations in the convention center, as opposed to scattering them amongst remote hotel locations as was often done in years past. Given the size of the New Orleans convention center, for instance, sometimes 30 minutes was barely enough time to walk from one end to the other, with a bathroom break thrown in, if your next meeting location required it. For my personal planning, if a meeting was in a remote hotel location, chances are I skipped it. For me, ALA Annual remains an essential conference. In my specialized line of work (in a Library Development Program at a State Library) only ALA Annual is comprehensive enough to provide multiple opportunities for CE programs that directly relate to my actual job duties. But I will freely admit that I only attend Midwinter rarely. Unless I had a committee assignment or were speaking at a program, it would be difficult to justify the expense.

    Will Stuivenga
    Cooperative Projects Manager
    Washington State Library

  • 6.  RE: Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 16, 2018 12:16 PM
    Perhaps a tweak could be to focus MW more heavily on youth services? Many youth services staff can't attend Annual due to it occurring during summer reading programs, but MW tends to fall during a much slower time of year. Additionally, the YMA are a draw for YS staff. Maybe ALA could target advertising of MW to YS staff in particular and offer more talks, meetings, etc., targeted to YS staff. Vendors of children's and teen books and services could be encouraged to attend MW due to YS staff's better likelihood of attending MW.

    Maybe even just a better split of options in general would help, so that instead of MW and Annual competing with each other, each would serve certain specific groups/options more heavily.

    Andrea Fernandes
    Youth Services Assistant
    Fairfax County Public Library

  • 7.  RE: Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 17, 2018 08:34 AM
    Just thinking in terms of the conference itself, how much of the revenue generated by Midwinter is net profit?   And can we trim the costs of Midwinter while still bringing in a similar level of profit? 

    Michael Paulmeno
    Systems Librarian
    Skidmore College

  • 8.  RE: Information on MidWinter Revenues

    Posted Jul 17, 2018 08:39 AM
    I've gone to both Midwinter and Annual for years and enjoy both. I'm also on a division level board, and enjoy that participation as well. However, finally doing both conferences has become cost prohibitive for me. I have lost many colleagues as they have no travel budget at all -- many of my public library colleagues had to take vacation to attend. The committee meetings (not board) that we had during Annual we very, very poorly attended -- some committees had no members attend. I don't know if they were at the conference or not, but they didn't come to the committee meetings. The bulk of my committee's work is done online. It's nice to see folks and talk, but I don't think it is essential to committee work. If ALA does make money then that is a consideration. My understanding though is that ALA has a much larger budget problem and that this revenue is a drop in the bucket -- large as it may seem. Can anyone comment on that with more solid information?

    Jenny Presnell
    Soc Sci & Humanities Librarian
    Miami University King Library