Tuesday, August 8, 2023

ALA June 2023

It seems all so long ago! When I was excitedly planning my summer travels I thought - "I shall religiously keep a photo-journal the whole road trip so I don't forget a thing!" Well, that did not happen. But I will endeavor to put up some of the highlights before it is all just a blur in the partially cooked spaghetti squash that is my brain.  SO this is the part about the American Library Association Conference. My first!

 This is the first day in Chicago when Laura and I met up with my friend Julia (not pictured) who was a member of the esteemed Caldecott committee this year! We did, in fact, horn in on their fancy tea at the Russian Tea room. We talked of the awards process and libraries in general and it was a great start for our experience. 

This is the view from my seat on the floor during the opening event. Don't ask how long it took for me to stand back up again. When Judy Blume is speaking and the only seats are on the floor, you sit on the floor! She was fascinating and delightful and you can read all about it here - https://www.slj.com/story/Judy-Blume-Kicks-Off-ALA-Annual-Talking-Censorship-and-Thanking-Librarians

The vendor floor was massive and at the beginning was not the terrifying (yet invigorating) press of humanity it later became. 

For example, this was the line for Jason Reynolds' book signing. Well, and Jason Griffin, too. But I think we all know for whom the line winds! 
By the end of the conference it was just thousands of librarians carrying hundreds of pounds of free books, begging publishers for just one more tote bag!

One of the best parts of ALA is getting to talk to writers and I stood in line and got books signed and fan-girled with the best of them. These are three of the writers I got to meet and actually remembered to take pictures of them. 

Wendy Loggia and I chatted about the crazy number of interviews she had with Taylor Swift to write her Little Golden Book biography. (The crazy number was 0, but Wendy regrets nothing and stands by her research!) 

I told Jen Ferguson how I had to be hounded into reading her amazing SUMMER OF BITTER AND SWEET by my bossy friend Shilpa, and how we both became obsessed with her book and all the ice cream she mentioned and how we demanded its inclusion on the Mass. Teen Choice Book Award list. I mean, no one argued with us, but we were strident

I also got to meet the charming Ryan La Sala and tell him how much THE HONEYS freaked me out and he assured me that his forthcoming book THE BEHOLDER would put me in a coma.

AASL has its annual national meeting at ALA which Laura and I attended on behalf of MSLA. It was the whole reason we were there. And did I take any pictures? Well, yes! I was seated next to the head of libraries for the Lincoln Nebraska Public Schools and she was telling me about their amazing elementary school curriculum, so I took a picture of that. 

What can I say? I am a giant nerd.

There was some excellent professional development offered, including this one where we learned about pairing primary sources with graphic novels into the perfect slurry of research, history and student engagement. 

                                                                                                                                    Not to brag, but I tied for second place in Library of Congress trivia and won a very cool, and pretty, Library of Congress tee shirt (not pictured) that I have nearly worn to shreds already. 

And of course Laura and I represented MSLA with perfect decorum on all occasions. This include one of my lifetime dreams - to attend an after-hours party at an art museum. We attended the Rainbow Roundtable 50th Anniversary Gala at the Museum of Contemporary Art AT NIGHT!! (This is from a person who is rarely awake after 8:30 pm.) It was a wonderful event that celebrated this section of ALA that is the oldest professional association for LGBTQIA+ people in the United States. It figures that librarians came up with this first. We're just wonderful!

I will take this opportunity to tell you that, if attending a convention where everyone is as passionate as you are about all the amazing things about our job looks fun to you, you might just want to try to attend the AASL National Conference in Tampa this fall. 

It is the only national conference focused solely on school librarians’ unique and critical role in Prek-12 education, according to their website, and I believe it! Also, the Florida school librarians told us that having a huge group of school librarians descend on the city would be an eye opening experience for those in Florida who are indifferent at best and antagonistic at worst to what we do. 
Consider joining us!

1 comment:

  1. Picking up forthcoming copies of books is so addictive that one winds up with books one will never get around to reading! But it is a lot of fun, especially if your car is outside and you don't have to mail them home.