Stan Lee at ALA 2014- Video

Stan Lee is pretty dang entertaining. Put him in a room full of librarians and he becomes epic. I was over the moon when I found out that he would be one of the key speakers at the 2014 ALA annual conference. The lines to get into the auditorium were huge. I was afraid that I would be stuck in the overflow rooms. However, a bunch of people got turned away at the door because only those who had purchased full conference tickets were allowed in. Not gonna lie a bunch of us cheered when one group came by the line complaining about not getting in. This is a conference for librarians and those related to the field. Not just any Joe Shmoe that walks in off the street or is only there for the free books. (yeah.. that is another story for another day)

I ended up getting a seat 4 rows back and proceeded to geek out silently to myself and take lots of pictures. Here is a video from ALA that is pretty awesome.

Meeting Authors and getting books-ALA part 2

The best thing about the ALA annual conference is the books. I really tried not to pick up everything I saw since I was flying. But, the temptation proved to be too much and I shipped a huge box of books home. Many of these are destined for the teen department as giveaways and others are for friends. A few will stay in my collection with their treasured autographs!

33 books later… oops!

The publishers at ALA are so nice. I had the best conversations about upcoming titles and they really cared about what my patrons were reading. One publisher at Bloomsbury handed me a stack of Tween fantasy reads when she found out I was a fan of Shannon Hale. Another invited me to the Disney Fall preview where I got to meet Mo Willems! Dudes I about passed out from excitement. He read us his upcoming Elephant and Piggy book and there may have been tears. The man is amazing. He even does the voices!


EEP! I met MO!!!! Cue exited screaming!

Next, I got the opportunity to go to the Printz Awards. This is the award for the best YA title. This year it went to Marcus Sedgwick for his book “Midwinterblood.” Read more about the awards and honor books here. I loved the format of the ceremony. Each author talked briefly about their books and then answered questions from teens and librarians all over the country. It really gave good insight into the mind of an author. If you have not tried Sedgwick’s book I would recommend it. It is a twisty and dark tale of love, curses, modern and ancient stories, and quite different. It is told in 7 parts and each is more interesting than the last.

The next day I went to the author Coffee Klatch hosted by YALSA. The room was set up in a speed dating format. You were at a table of 6 other attendees and the authors would rotate through for a brief 4 min talk. The authors I got to meet at our table were: Marcus Sedgwick, Katherine Howe, Ally Condie, Marie Lu, Mary Pearson, and a few others. It was really cool to hear about their upcoming books and ask them questions. These are the 3 titles from Penguin that I am really excited about for Fall:

Atlantia by Ally Condie- A stand alone fantasy set underwater.

Conversion by Katherine Howe- A contemporary fiction title inspired by the Salem Witch Trials

The Young Elites by Marie Lu- High Fantasy villain origin story set in Italy


While roaming the exhibit hall I got to meet a few more of my favorite authors:

Kate DiCamillo. She is the sweetest person!

Scott Westerfeld. He signed a book for the Mister and chatted with me.

Meeting Scott Westerfeld was by far the highlight of my trip. I told him that he was my husbands favorite author and we ended up chatting for quite a while. I met him again after the Printz awards and had the best conversation about his writing, getting teens interested in books, my role as a librarian, how he promotes his books, and upcoming stories. I quickly found out that authors are pretty awesome people and are willing to chat with librarians about anything. It was a really fun experience and one I will not forget. Check out his book “Afterworlds” which will be released September 23rd.

The final highlight of the trip was attending the Caldecott and Newbery awards which is pretty much the Grammy’s for authors. I was invited by the publishers at Baker and Taylor. The food was divine, the conversation with other librarians… perfect, seeing authors all over the ballroom.. starstruck, and hearing two amazing speeches .. priceless! If you have not heard Kate DiCamillo speak be prepared for tissues and sobbing. She is a master storyteller and speaker. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Take the time to read her speech at the following link. It will warm your heart and make you realize what a wonderful writer she is.

ALA Newbery Acceptance Speech for Kate DiCamillo

The Caldecott and Newbery award program! A pop out train!

I could go on and on about the authors and books that I am excited about but I would likely bore you to tears. If you ever have the chance to go to ALA I highly recommend it. It is quite the experience and I learned so much from everyone I met. I made some great connections to publishers and got an insight into the world of books that I will remember always. I am looking forward to attending again someday.



ALA Conference 2014-Part 1

Last week I spent 5 days in Las Vegas for the annual American Library Association conference. My supervisor had given me her space this year so that I could experience my first conference. She is a wonderful supervisor and I am so glad I got to go.  I spent a few weeks selecting sessions, planning publisher visits, and sorting which dinners and lunches to attend. I also spent a fair amount of time freaking out about the plane ride and travelling alone for the 1st time in about 12 years.

Truth #1- I hate flying… and then I get over it.

I almost have to drug myself to get on that stupid metal tube with wings. I am that person you don’t want to sit next to when the plane is taking off. I look like that guy only in the cheap seats. Once we get in the air I am relatively okay until I hear the word turbulence. On the way to Vegas the flight to Denver was like riding a bucking bronco. The same went for the leg from Denver to Vegas. Thank the heavens I chose not to eat or drink anything on the flight.

Truth #2- Do not get a shuttle from the airport to your hotel. 

I was attempting to be cheap when I got to Vegas and opted for an $8 shuttle ride to my hotel instead of paying for a cab. DON”T DO THIS! A cab ride is around $15 before a tip and gets you there in 10-15 mins. My shuttle took almost 2 hours with the waiting and dropping everyone else off. It is worth the cab fare after a long flight.

Truth #3- Vegas is hot, even at night. Drink water constantly!

Yeah, and so is the surface of the sun.. I got really tired of hearing that phrase. I live in a very humid environment and sometimes summer is unbearable. However, after an hour in 108 degree temps I would rather have the humidity than feel like a walking mummy.

Truth #4- Vegas is huge, glittery, noisy, and you will get sensory overload! There are also lots of Minions..

The lights at night are really cool. I did enjoy the view from my hotel of the strip. After a few days it was a bit overwhelming for this library lady introvert. It takes a while to get places because of the size and the traffic. I did not plan for this and ended up missing a few of the sessions I wanted to attend. That being said, there was plenty to laugh about including a Minion per block. Not sure why there were so many Minions but they seemed to be having a pretty good time day or night. Especially in front of the Bellagio where there were two minions, 5 show girls, and a guy holding a sign about Jesus. Only in Vegas!

Truth #5- Elvis is all over the city… literally… all… over..

I saw more Elvis impersonators than Minions. There was even a mini Elvis. The lady in the picture with him was super excited and I thought she might grab him and shove him in her purse to take home. Yeah.. no..

He even made an appearance at the conference. This is me and my branch manager with tall Elvis who said – “I’m get to be the filling of a very literary sandwich”… har har…


Stay tuned for more conference tidbits and photos with authors!