Friday, June 24, 2011, was the first day of this year’s ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. I had a 6:00 AM flight, and ended up getting up at 2:30 in order to catch it in plenty of time. This was probably my worst bit of planning for the whole weekend, since I was tired the entire weekend, and never did make that up.
Still, I woke up super excited, so it was actually easy to get out of bed. Unfortunately, in order to get to New Orleans, I had to go to Boston first. The Dulles to Boston flight wasn’t bad at all, only an hour, and then I had a 3-hour wait in the Boston airport, and then a longer flight. Unfortunately, somewhere, either on the plane or in the airport, I left behind the book I was reading on that first flight, Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier, which was proving to be very captivating even though I hadn’t gotten very far. Fortunately, it was an inexpensive paperback, so I’ve already ordered a replacement copy.
In the Boston airport, I saw lots of librarians, including Martha Parravano from The Horn Book Magazine. I also saw author Nancy Werlin, whom I’d met at the Printz Awards Reception last year, and her husband. Book people tend to be very nice people!
The next flight was much longer, and by then I was exhausted and tried to sleep, which just gave me a crick in the neck. When I landed, around 3:00, I was starving. I passed several restaurants on the way to the baggage claim, but once you got your baggage, there were no restaurants at all. So when the shuttle got me to the Holiday Inn French Quarter, I tried to nap and utterly failed, and went to get food instead at the Checkered Parrot next door — before I fell over.
After being revived by eating, I went with my roommates to the Convention Center and got ready for the opening of the exhibits, aka “The Running of the Librarians.”
Now, since I didn’t drive to the Conference this year, I was telling myself that I would show restraint. HA! Once I got into the exhibits and the scent of books was in the air, I couldn’t help myself!
I picked up some Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) I’m tremendously excited about:
Bigger Than a Bread Box, by Laurel Snyder
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, (based on The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg)
Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick
Under Dogs, by Markus Zusak
Seriously, Norman! by Chris Raschka
True Blue, by Jane Smiley
An Elephant in the Garden, by Michael Morpurgo
as well as lots of other books that look interesting.
And I purchased a copy of Divergent and got it signed by the author, Veronica Roth.
In the exhibits, I ran into Laini Taylor, her husband Jim DiBartolo, and her editor Alvina Ling. I was thrilled to meet her and got my picture with her. Today I got an additional thrill when my roommate tweeted that Laini Taylor posted a picture with me on her blog! (In fact, that picture’s better.) I was looking like someone who only got a few hours sleep and then spent all day on airplanes, but I was having a great time.
Also in the exhibits, I took pictures of my friend Kristin Wolden Nitz’s books displayed in the Peachtree booth. I liked it that they are getting publicity even though they are no longer brand new.
And here’s the middle grade gem, Saving the Griffin:
When my loot bags got so heavy I was close to falling over, I decided I’d better leave the scene of temptation. The Post Office in the exhibits was not open, but the UPS store in the Convention Center was, so I shipped a box of 23 books (which arrived today!).
After getting back to the hotel, I headed to the ALSC Happy Hour, which was taking place at the restaurant next door. I couldn’t beat the convenience, and knew I wouldn’t be able to stay awake very long. Right away, I saw Tony Carman, a youth services librarian from neighboring Loudoun County who is also in the DC KidLit Book Club, and who was starting his service on the Caldecott Committee with this conference.
I’m wanting to get more involved in ALA and the divisions I’m part of — ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), and PLA (Public Library Association). This was a good way to meet more people involved in ALSC, and was a great way to start off the conference before I turned into a pumpkin and went to bed.
So the first night was just a warm-up. Grabbing books. Meeting authors and librarians. Getting ready for great stuff happening all weekend.