Exhibit Rules and Regulations

These rules, as developed by the Exhibits Round Table, are based on industry standards, physical limitations of the exhibit hall and the needs of the ALA exhibitions. Their intent is to ensure each exhibiting organization, regardless of size, an equal opportunity, within reason, to gain access to the attending audience while providing an opportunity to explore new and creative marketing techniques. The underlying responsibility is that each exhibitor act as a “good neighbor.”

General Guidelines

Show Management shall make all final determinations as to which rules are being violated and it shall be the responsibility of Show Management to review all exhibits and enforce the rules of the exhibition. Any exhibitor who is unsure of the interpretation of any rule or who may be in violation of rules is responsible for notifying Show Management in advance for further clarification.

Responsibility lies with the individual exhibiting organization to comply with all rules and regulations as stated by Show Management in the exhibit space contract, Exhibitor Manual, Exhibitor Update or other regulations and communications. Any request made by Show Management to bring a display into compliance will be respected and any changes to exhibit structure or display will be the financial responsibility of the exhibitor.

Exhibitors will be notified by Show Management if found in violation of any rules or regulations. If after this first warning, an exhibitor fails to comply with rules involving sound, lighting or multimedia, management will discontinue electrical service to the offending apparatus for a time period deemed appropriate. If electrical service is restored and a second warning is required, electrical service will be discontinued to the apparatus for the remainder of the conference. Should a second warning be required to correct any rules or regulation the exhibitor will lose seniority for the next two exhibitions.


The following rules apply to all exhibits.

  • Exhibitors are prohibited from showing or advertising products or services which in the opinion of ALA are primarily aimed at other exhibitors.
  • Exhibitors are prohibited from distributing at the convention center advertising or promotional material for entities other than the registered exhibitor unless special permission is obtained from ALA (e.g., for combined booth space of small exhibitors.)
  • Exhibitors are prohibited from any form of advertising or solicitation at the convention center outside of the exhibit booth space and from door drops or advertising signage at ALA -contracted conference hotels, without the advance written permission of ALA.


All aisle space belongs to the Exposition. No exhibit or advertising will be allowed to extend beyond the space assigned to the exhibitor. Booth representatives including models, demonstrators and actors in costume must remain in their own exhibit space throughout the show. They are not permitted in the aisles, other exhibitors” booths or public spaces. Any demonstration or activity which results in the obstruction of aisles or prevents ready access to neighboring exhibitors’ booths shall be suspended for any period specified by Show Management.

Americans with Disabilities Act

All exhibiting organizations are required to be in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are encouraged to be sensitive, and as reasonably accommodating as possible, to attendees with disabilities. Information regarding ADA compliance is available from the U.S. Department of Justice ADA Information Line (800/514-0301) and from the web site http://www.ada.gov/infoline.htm.

Universal Access and ADA Accommodations-Exhibit Design

Exhibits are public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and each exhibitor is responsible for ensuring that show attendees who have disabilities have access to all of the demonstrations, information, contests, giveaways, or other services offered at a booth.

Please see accompanying guidelines.


Live animals are prohibited in exhibit space.


The display and distribution of balloons will not be allowed at any time within the exhibit hall. Balloons create many housekeeping problems and are particularly detrimental to the fire detection systems installed in the exhibit hall. Their use is strictly prohibited.

Crate Storage

Empty crates, boxes, skids, etc. that exhibitors have labeled “Empty” will automatically be removed from exhibitors’ booths, stored and returned at the conclusion of the exhibition. “Empty” stickers will be available from the Official Contractor. There is no charge for this service.

Damage to Property

Exhibitors are responsible for damage to uncrated or improperly packed shipments, concealed damage, loss or theft of material after delivery to booth or before material is picked up for return movement. It is expressly understood that the exhibitor will make no claim of any kind against Show Management for any loss, damage or destruction of goods, nor for any damage of any nature to this business by reason of the failure to provide space for any exhibit or the removal of the exhibit.

Disposal or Storage of Packing Materials

Special care will be necessary in unpacking merchandise for display. Loose cardboard cartons will not be accepted for storage unless they are knocked down flat and securely tied into bundles and properly tagged.

Be sure to remove all old labels first. It is suggested that small crates be nested in larger ones to reduce the number of pieces to be stored and thereby hasten their return. No boards or skids will be accepted for storage unless securely tied into bundles and tagged. Materials not in accord with these regulations will be considered refuse and will be disposed of by the cleaners.

No Storage of Any Kind Will Be Permitted Behind Your Display

All combustible materials, which are not an integral part of the display, must be removed each night unless stored in a metal container. However, to facilitate repacking merchandise at conclusion of the exhibit, some exhibitors have found it convenient to remove knocked down cartons to their cars and hotel rooms for ready access.

Early Dismantling

No exhibitor will be allowed to dismantle any portion of their exhibit prior to the end of exhibit hours on the final day of exhibits. This is a discourtesy to those attending the Show and to your neighboring exhibitors. Exhibitors who dismantle prior to the closing of the show will forfeit accrued seniority for the next two ALA Exhibitions.

Fire Marshall Regulation 

The Washington, DC Fire Marshall has advised of a new regulation regarding fire extinguishers. All booths with a square footage of 600’ or more shall have a 2A:10BC fire extinguisher available.  

Exhibit structures that are covered or two-story with a square footage of 600’ or more shall have a 3A:40BC fire extinguisher available. 

All fire extinguishers shall have an inspection tag on them. Please plan accordingly.

Food Service

Food and beverage service (including alcoholic beverages) in your assigned booth space may be allowed if approved in advance by Show Management. All requests must be submitted in writing 60 days prior to the show opening. Requests to serve items which detract from the exhibit’s professional appearance will not be allowed or approved. Popcorn is not allowed.


No lighting, fixtures, lighting trusses or overhead lighting are allowed outside the boundaries of the exhibit space. Lighting should be directed to the inner confines of the booth space. Lighting should not project onto other exhibits or show aisles. Lighting which is potentially harmful, such as lasers or ultraviolet lighting, will not be permitted. Lighting that spins, rotates, pulsates and other specialized lighting effects should be in good taste and not interfere with neighboring exhibitors or otherwise detract from the general atmosphere of the event. Exhibitors intending to use light systems should submit drawings to Show Management for approval.


Any multimedia display (video wall, video projection, animatronics, robotics, etc.) which is deemed in violation of the Sound and Lighting regulations by Show Management will not be allowed.

Multi-story Exhibits/Single Level Covered Exhibits

In most facilities, multi-story exhibits require prior approval by the exhibit facility and/or relevant local government agencies because it is deemed to be a “structure” for building purposes. Often structural and/or Convention Center Guidelines exist which dictate booth construction. Exhibitors utilizing this type of structure should seek guidance from Show Management prior to installation of multi-story exhibits. All requests must be submitted in writing 60 days prior to the show opening.

Noise Levels in Displays

Exhibits which include the operation of musical instruments, radios, sound projection equipment, public address systems or any noisemaking machines must be conducted or arranged so that the noise resulting from the demonstration will not annoy or disturb adjacent exhibitor and their patrons, nor cause the aisles to be blocked. Operators of noisemaking exhibits must secure approval of operating methods before the exhibits open. Noise levels must be held to an 80-decibel maximum at all times. Show Management will monitor the 80-decibel regulation on-site.

If an exhibitor is in violation of the 80-decibel regulation, they will receive one warning. If the exhibitor continues to operate noisemaking exhibits in excess of 80-decibels after the first warning, Show Management reserves the right to cut the power of the offending mechanism, or otherwise ensure the noisemaking mechanism is shut off. Any expenses incurred in this instance will be the sole responsibility of the exhibitor.


Exhibitors may use sound equipment in their booths as long as the noise level does not disrupt the activities of neighboring exhibitors. Speakers and other sound devices should be positioned so as to direct sound into the booth rather than into the aisle. Any sound that exceeds 80 decibels measured at the edge of an exhibitor’s booth is considered objectionable and will not be allowed.

Exhibitors should be aware that music played in their booths, whether live or recorded, may be subject to laws governing the use of copyrighted compositions. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are three authorized organizations that collect copyright fees on behalf of composers and publishers of music.


Rules vary depending on the facility, but generally it is required that vehicles on display have no more than a 1/4 tank of gas. The gas tank cap should be sealed and the battery disconnected. Exhibitors utilizing any vehicle should contact Show Management for approval and facility specific regulations.