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Pt 3: ALA, exhibit halls and awards trends

  • Posted on July 1, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Are you aware of the trend of ARC’s? How many arc’s did you see at ALA appealing to YA? How many were free picture books? Why or why not? Did you notice the young bloggers who favor YA lit having more time in the exhibit hall while some librarian bloggers were busy in committees? How many local school librarians attended only the final day of the exhibit hall simply to purchase books for discounts? There are trends out there for the viewing.

How about the nonfiction titles? Were bloggers devouring titles there or did you find librarians making notes of series and taking more time in those booths? Were there bookmarks there to remind you of new series? Did vendors scan your badges to send you their catalogs or elinks?

How about the bling at conference? I admit its much harder to find cutesy stuff and I greatly miss it. I miss those conference teddy bears and fun stuff. This is the first conference where I couldn’t gather enough bookmarks, clips, pens and pencils that I wouldn’t have to purchase them for the beginning of school. Rats! I miss that.

I’ve seen the increase of jewelry and scarf booths. I was counting how many librarians were there instead of in the nearby book areas. Perhaps these booths need more strategic placement. I snapped a photo for my husband and said I was thinking of buying jewelry. Did he immediately call me and re-direct my focus to books – no, actually he said go ahead and buy jewelry so that’s fewer books you’ll be carrying home in your suitcase. LOL. I sought books instead.

How about water stations throughout the exhibit halls? I was so parched Friday night and overheated that I feared I would pass out. ABC-CLIO, Greenwood, & Linworth came to my rescue – not just with a glass of champagne in my weakened state, but a staffer found me a bottle of water. This saved me and I will be forever grateful to them. I never found food in the opening or closing ceremonies because I was too busy with the exhibitors.

I skipped lunches daily to snatch some time in the exhibit hall. Those vendors who had tiny candy treats at lunch are greatly appreciated. I tried to stop and talk to many of them even if they don’t cater to schools because I appreciated their being there. If a vendor had a food treat during lunch time – even if it was just a cracker, it enabled me to stop and spend time there while preventing starvation! (Okay, a slight exaggeration) I didn’t want to sit for a leisurely lunch or stand in line for hours at overpriced food booths. I was a woman on a mission to learn more and seek books. They kept me going. The vendor that put something on the food and water bottles for me to take off and keep so I could remember and thank them made an impression.

How about the vendors that have chairs in their booths? The ones that invite you to come in, sit your bags down and relax for a brief presentation are appreciated. I learned things, enjoyed the minute off my feet to look through your catalog, and especially appreciated easing the burden on my shoulders. The vendor who let me stash my bag at their booth while I was racing around one year is another that I’d walk through fire for. I didn’t need a hard sell approach. I was moving quickly and they saw this.

Other vendor behavior I appreciate – those that happily take trash from me so I can pick up their titles and catalogs. Vendors who help me roll posters or even stuff the books in my bag so I don’t have to set everything down. Vendors who take my card and make notes then follow-up. I appreciate you all. Also, the vendor that has a personal chair and invites me to sit in the chair so they can talk to me for a few minutes – you are wonderful. The vendor that saves a book title for me if an author will be signing when I’m in committee. You can bet that I’ll review your book on my blog.

What more could we ask? Well, I’ve been thinking foot and shoulder massages would be nice. Is there a way to do a type of speed dating with books? Pedicure or feet soaking stations with vendors showing us their new digital products on screens?

How about a book blogger meetup in the exhibit hall? We’ve got the stages. Why don’t we ask and organize this so we bloggers are visible and show our presence in the exhibit hall en masse – not just at late-night social events? Also, do you invite vendors to attend these events with you?

I’m known for confronting people and forcing them to go with me to events. Even ALA staff members are not exempt. I’ve drug them to meet-ups, drink nights, blog events, etc. anywhere that I think would provide them with valuable experiences. I scared some staffers when I said I might publish their names for never having attended the Newbery – Caldecott banquet or been present during the Youth Media Awards. As I told them, how can you pretend to take the youth librarians seriously if you don’t find out and experience what’s important to them?

I tweeted the ALA Awards that were given before the President’s program. This helps keep me rounded out to see a bigger picture of the organization than just my favored division. I attended the announcement of the Carnegie awards. The 350 plus standing room only crowd at the Carnegie awards was amazing. I felt like the “adults” were acting as excited as the “youth” librarians with each announcement. When they heard they’d be getting a bag of books after the awards, the crowd cheered just as loudly as we do during the Youth Media Awards. This excitement for books and reading is contagious and rewarding. Finally there is an ALA book award for adult fiction and adult nonfiction. It is an excellent addition to the conference. While I regret that it is scheduled at the same time as the Newbery-Caldecott banquet, I appreciated seeing this first year of the awards. I know this will grow larger and be even more successful next year. Personally, I was proud to have served on the ALA Awards committee so I can say that I helped vote for the establishment of this award. I anticipate this excitement for book awards will grow – not decrease.

I keep trying to track down when he said it, but Stephen Frye’s quote is widely shared ““Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.” The ALA annual conference, the awards, and the exhibit halls are exciting places to be. They serve a purpose and draw a diverse crowd of attendees – not just librarians.