Saturday, June 26, 2010

You Shall Know Us By Our Totebags

I spent my first day at ALA doing a lot of non-ALA type things. I decided not to do the Independent School Tour (it was more than I wanted to spend), and instead spent some time at a couple Smithsonian museums. I did come back in time for the “Conference 101” session run by the NMRT (New Members Round Table; on a related note, there are two solid pages devoted to deciphering acronyms in the Conference Planner. Just sayin’). It was good, but not exactly what I was hoping it would be; I wanted some real strategy-type tips, not just “yeah, there is a lot to do” speeches. However, given that the session is for so many different types of librarians looking for so many different types of things, it does have to be rather general. Perhaps there should be opportunities for one-on-one (or small group) guidance for new conference attendees; I know I got my best information from my colleague/roommate, a conference veteran.

After the NMRT session (which I left a little early), I headed over the Convention Center in order to get a good spot in line for the opening of the Exhibits Hall. Wow. I’d spied on the Exhibits Hall under construction the day before (which was sort of like seeing how food is made) in order to attempt strategy development. My colleague told me to head for Random House and Harper Collins first, as they typically did the best giveaways; I also looked up the publishers for two books I was interested in, so I could be sure to get my greedy little hands on the Advanced Readers Copies if they were available. It’s all about strategy. And throwing elbows.

This ended up being a good plan, since right as I walked in to the Harper Collins booth I saw someone I thought I recognized, though his face was obscured by a video camera, so it was hard to be sure. But as I got closer, I was sure: it was John Green! I would like to say I was super smooth in introducing myself and talking to him, but I think it would be more accurate to report that I was a stammering fangirl. Still, it was pretty awesome. He has several readings happening over the course of the weekend, all of which are happening at times I have to be somewhere else, and I was bummed that I wouldn’t get to see him. So meeting him in person worked out pretty well.

All in all I collected about 18 ARCs, including Patrick Ness’s Monsters of Men, which may or may not have made me squeal for joy. I also scored E. Lockhart’s new book, Real Live Boyfriends and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, the new book by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I am beyond excited about these books, but I know I can’t start reading them until after I get back from Denver, because if I start them I won’t want to put them down.

I do need to go back to the Exhibits Hall and really check out the vendors; by the time I’d gathered all my ARCs (and, thankfully, a couple more totebags) I was suffering from a severe case of Totebag Shoulder and was in no condition to have productive conversations with vendors. Mostly I would talk to them just for the opportunity to put my bags down for a while; I should be able to go back during lunch tomorrow while I am slightly less weighted down by stuff.

After that it was off to Affiliate Assembly, which I am still trying to get a handle on. I didn’t participate a whole lot, but I’m still just trying to get the lay of the land. I did go out for drinks with a couple of my fellow Region 1 school librarians afterwards, which was great. The whole evening (and being in here in general) has me thinking a lot about leadership and involvement and state-level vs. national-level involvement in a way I can’t really articulate this late at night after a couple glasses of wine, so I’m going to hold off on that for now. I have a long day lined up for tomorrow, so I really should get some sleep.

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