ALA For Realz

WordPress is informing me this is The Re-Shelf’s 200th post. Woo! That’s a lot of fangirling about books. (Although, to be fair, about 40 of the early posts are entirely about Harry Potter. So. There’s that.)(Related news: I have been hankering for a HP reread!)

Instead of bestowing the pressure of The 200th Post onto a book review, I thought I’d make due on my promise and talk about ALA a bit. Who I met, where I went, what books I got. We already talked about what I learned (and thanks for everyone’s comments about that post!).

This ALA, in particular, was very much a networking conference for me. Both professionally and personally. And let’s be real, networking is a fancy word for being really excited to meet and reunite with awesome people.

There were numerous opportunities to meet and mingle with the blogging community. I was especially excited to meet two of my Cybils‘ partners-in-crime: Kelly (of Stacked) and Jackie (the Interactive Reader and Cybils fearless leader). Jordyn (of Ten Cent Notes) was also there, but we missed each other in crossing. Most other meetings were because Kelly or Jackie introduced me, but ALA is funny in how you meet people. I danced to a crazy 80s DJ at a 20s party with Sophie, and Liz, and Angie, among other awesome people. I went to the book blogger meet-up and had a fireside chat with a range of lovely people from YA Highway, other bloggers and a few agents (such fascinating conversation. seriously.)(YA Highway has pictures of the event. I may be in one of them 🙂 )

My favorite moment of meeting people, though, came on the last night of the conference, at the Printz reception. I had been seeing this girl left and right during the conference and she seemed nice and happened to sit at our table at the reception. She got up to leave, I saw her name tag and realized it was Sarah, who I follow on twitter and read her blog. I was so excited to put together the pieces, I pretty much shouted “You’re Sarah! I know you!” Which, clearly. Crazy. But it was funny. And she was lovely as well.

Just excellent people alllllllll around. And that’s not even counting the wonderful peeps from the publishers I was fortunate enough to talk to in and around the conference. And the authors. And other, non-blogging librarians. Conferences are great because they remind you there are other semi-like-minded individuals out there and that I work in a pretty kick-ass profession. Yay!

I was able to go to THREE award presentations and, aside from the people, they may have been my favorite part of the entire conference. It just happened my schedule worked to attend both the Alex Awards and the Odyssey Awards during the conference. Both presentations were quite funny, touching and inspiring. I also had a ticket for the Printz program. So. Awesome. It’s hard to put into words how much I loved it. Getting dressed up. Watching Daniel Handler play the accordion, with accompaniment by Maira Kalman.  Laughing at Craig Silvey’s crazy play on the Printz/Prince confusion. Loving John Corey Whaley’s tribute to libraries. The pretty epic, if quickly disappearing, treats at the reception. (Seriously, librarians are ninja quick when it comes to eating all the best desserts.) So many wonderful moments. I was so happy I was able to attend the ceremonies.

And the books. All the pretty, gorgeous, never-before-opened books. First and foremost, the exhibit hall is a sprawling place of wonder and mystery. In one aisle, all those pretty books line temporary shelving. In the next aisle over, you can watch machines scan books without a hand holder. And free pens galore! Vendors, of both the publishing and product variety, are delightful to talk with. But we’ll focus on the book side of things today.

For the first time, I was staying through the whole conference, which meant I was able to witness the rather interesting phenomenon that was closing down the exhibits. This means publishers are selling off/giving away the books that have had the “display only” stickers on them all conference loooooong. People form long lines to get access to this previously forbidden content. It’s awesomely weird. And I totally participated.

I managed to snag a few ARCs and was really excited with the titles. Highlighting my list (because I totally made a list) were:

  • The Diviners, by Libba Bray (Kelly pulled this out of thin air like a magician for me. For realz. Already read, review to come)
  • Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (already read, review to come REALLY soon)
  • Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl (this was one of my last day grabs. Shocked it was even still there!)
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (So. Excited. for this one)
  • The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper
  • Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr (signed!! with a mask!!! which is now in my work office!!! With my Sleep No More mask!!! I look like I really like masks!!!)
  • The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (who I inadvertently ran into on the street after the Printz because I wanted to gush with someone about HOW COOL it was.)

So many good reads ahead of me, I suspect! I can’t begin to thank the publishers and, more specifically, the many, many reps that attend the conferences. It’s not just about the free books (which, admittedly, are a delight), but also about their thoughts on upcoming books, their enthusiasm for books, libraries and reading and their ability to basically not sleep for five days straight while wearing heels (in the case of the female reps, anyway). They accomplish an impressive feat and make it seem like a breeze. My hats to them. (That seems like a super weird thing to type. But I say it all the time. So we’re going with it.)(It’s a compliment, I assure you.)

So, all in all, ALA = totally worth it. I could tell you about all the stuff I did for my job, but I already wrote THAT report for my boss 🙂

As always, I hope all is well!

P.S. I feel it is important to point out I did, in fact, go to DisneyLand. And it was, as expected, everything I wanted it to be AND MOAR. I rode Space Mountain. Twice. I also ate All The Food. It was amazing.

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