Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.
I attended the annual conference of the American Library Association this year. I have difficulty remembering when I last attended, but I think it was 1997 in New Orleans, so it has been a looooong time. It’s still a fabulous experience, but a few things have changed. Improvements, I would say.
The most obvious being that book publishers give away pre-pub copies of books like mad and there are more author signing opportunities. Back in the “old days” we bought copies of books and then got them signed by the authors. I attribute this change (giving away copies of books for signings) to the impact of ebooks and social media. Publishers seem to have recognized that librarians not only read books, but they also promote them to other people. With the advent of social media and book blogging, the reach of one librarian is much farther than just their library community.
My conference experience began Friday evening at the opening of the exhibits hall where all the publishers and book equipment/supply vendors show their wares. It was a bit overwhelming, so I just roamed around taking it in and picking up free books, buttons, posters, etc.
The second day began early with viewing the movie Wadjda by Haifaa al Mansour. It is really excellent and I highly recommend seeing it, if you can. Following the viewing, Haifaa al Mansour spoke about her experience making the film. Next, I attended a session with Sarah Vowell about her new book Lafayette in the Somewhat United States. She was joined by Nick Offerman and they sat on stage and discussed the book and other random topics. It was informative and funny. Nick Offerman was scheduled for a session in the afternoon (which I also attended) and they did the same thing in which Sarah joined him on stage and they discussed his book, Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers. It was great.
Sunday was my day to get books signed. I was very pleased to get to speak with some of my favorite authors – William Ritter, Patrick Ness, and Dav Pilkey. Mr. Ritter is new to the writing scene. I just recently finished reading his first novel, Jackaby, and picked up the pre-pub copy of the second in the Jackaby series – Beastly Bones. I picked up a total of 33 books and Beastly Bones will be the first I will read.
I was happy to speak with Patrick Ness because A Monster Calls is definitely one of the best books I have ever read and I urge you to read it, if you haven’t already. I told Mr. Ness that this was my second copy of the book since I had given the first away because I think everyone should read it. He signed it accordingly.
I also enjoyed talking with Dav Pilkey. I saw that he was doing a signing at the Scholastic booth and attempted to get into the line, but it was VERY long due to the popularity of his Captain Underpants series which is published by Scholastic. I just didn’t have an hour to stand in line, so gave up, regretfully.
Thankfully, the ALA has a great conference website that lets you search the schedule and I was able to search for Dav Pilkey and find that he would also be signing at the Little Brown Books for Young Readers booth later. Happily when I arrived at this booth, there was no line at all and I could step right up and take my time. I told Mr. Pilkey how much my stepdaughter loved his books, but I forgot to tell him that I wooed my husband with a boxed set of Captain Underpants. He signed two copies of One Day for me.
Monday was “visit facilities and equipment vendors day” for me. In the next two years, I will be designing a new library for my school. Therefore, I needed to gather information about furniture, shelves, self-checkout systems, etc. This was actually a bit fun. Having the words “Shanghai China” on your name tag always serves as a conversation starter.
All in all, it was a great time. Not only did I get to do all of the above, but I was able to spend time with a dear friend and former co-worker I haven’t seen in a long while.