I’m not even sure where to begin with this post. This conference (minus sad news received from home) was hands down the best conference I’ve ever been to. I’m afraid if I tried to do a play by play I’d get too long winded. Instead, here is a list of my favorite moments (in no particular order):
1. YA Librarian/Blogger Meet-up: I was a little nervous going into this one, because I don’t do well in crowds. However, Kelly promised me it’d be a good time and I’m happy to report she was right. I got to mingle with a lot of others including Sarah, Abby, a local English teacher, Flux, and many more. Brent Hartinger was also there and it took a lot for me not to fangirl on him. I absolutely loved The Geography Club and consider it a staple LGBTQ book. (And I may have told him this once…or twice) A HUGE thank you to Jim of Baen Books for coming and covering a good portion of the drinks!
2. Youth Media Awards: Okay, so I may have been dragged to this. Not that I didn’t want to go, but it was at the crack of dawn. I’m a teen librarian, 7:00am does not compute in my brain. Although, I’m really glad I got to go. I may not have had any guesses, but it was fun being in the midst of it all. I have a lot to add to my TBR list now. And while most people are talking about the Printz or Newbery, I was the most excited by the Stonewall. I had a special place for LGBTQ books and am so happy to see it finally has it’s own award! And the picks! Oh my, such good picks! I was thrilled, THRILLED, to see Freaks and Revelations get a nod. I hope it gets a lot more attention now (because it deserves it).
3. Morris Award Reception: Wow, just wow. These speeches were just beautiful and inspirational. I wished this had been done at Annual instead of Midwinter, because these speeches deserved to be heard by a larger crowd. The best quote of the night? Shit happens in your brain when you read (Blythe Woolston). Can I just say I really, really want this on a shirt?
4. Being Part of a New Trend: So, Abby and Kelly started this new trend by having authors sign their fingernails. Abby got Lauren Myracle to sign hers and Kelly got Lisa McMann. I figured I would jump in on the fun and had Blythe Woolston (Morris Award Winner) sign mine! In case you’re wondering, she put S.H.I.Y.B.W.Y.R.B.W. (The acronym to her wonderful quote and her initials)
5. Simon & Schuster Preview: I am so thankful and grateful for S&S for this invite. Lisa McMann was awesome (and had GREAT HAIR) and it was nice to learn about what they’re publishing this Spring. I’ll be highlighting at least one or two of their titles in my later book buzz post!
6. Networking: Easily my top favorite part of this conference was the many hours talking to fellow librarians. This is what ALA is all about. Seriously. It’s not about the books, it’s about sharing ideas with others in the field. I walked away with many new friends, all who are very dear to me now. Thank you to Kelly, Abby, Katie, Sarah, Andy, Angie & Kelly M. for making this such a memorable trip. I miss my ILOAs already and cannot wait for NOLA when we will all be reunited. There is sure to be lots more gelato & P&G in our future.
7. Exhibit Hall: I wasn’t going to put this. Honestly, I wasn’t. The hall was so low on my list because of everything else this time. I only spent maybe 2-3 hours total on the floor over 3 days. I got to learn about some very buzz worthy books (which I’ll post about later), but the reason it’s making my list is how happy my teens will be. All the ARCS go to my teens. I will read a lot of them as well, but most of them were picked up to make them happy. I run a teen reviewer program and those teens get first dibs. However, they are also used for my Summer Reading Program as prizes. I get a fairly small but adequate budget to run my SRP. While I’m good at being frugal, that money has to cover all prizes, performers, and event supplies. The ARCs I get, allow me to give those teens more books that I would be normally. They don’t go into the catalogue or book sale, but directly into the hand of teens. And believe me, their excitement over them makes every shoulder pain worth it.