Sunday Reflections: I’m on my way, I’m on my way . . . to ALA
This weekend I am busy doing laundry and packing. I will work today – I’m pretty much always #SundayLibrarian – and then again on Monday and Tuesday. Then Wednesday morning the whole family and I are jumping into the car and driving the basically 24 hours it will take to get to Las Vegas – for ALA baby!
I have several things on my agenda for this trip, but I am especially looking forward to meeting my fellow Library Journal Movers & Shakers at a special luncheon on Friday. In fact, this is the only reason that I am going this year. Really, we can’t afford it, but nothing like this is ever going to happen to me again so I’m Vegas bound. It’s such an honor to be named among this fellow group of librarians who are working hard to advocate for libraries.
|This Tween is super excited about her first trip to the Exhibit Hall
Since the whole family is going, the Tween begged and I bought her an exhibit hall pass. I’m taking her in. We’re going to spend the car trip pouring through the exhibit hall guide and making a plan for what authors she wants to meet.
On my list is the one and only A. S. King, signing at 2:00 PM on Saturday in the Little Brown booth. I only share this information with you because I trust you will save me a spot in line. My soul will be crushed if I can’t meet her. The truth is, I met A. S. King once before in passing at TLA I believe. All I can tell you is that I kind of cried that “oh my gosh I can’t believe it’s you” kind of cry that happens when you meet someone who wrote a book that changed every single thing you understood about life. Read all of A. S. King. All of them. I have and it has made all the difference.
I also want to meet Victoria Schwab, author of the very excellent Archived series. If you haven’t read it, you really should.
I also got invited to a debut author event where I will get to meet #SVYALit Project participant Brendan Kiely. His debut novel, The Gospel of Winter, is a truly stunning and important novel that asks us to look at the sexual abuse of boys by priests in the Catholic Church from the point of view of several of the victims. It’s heartbreaking and raw and real and so very, very important. We must always remember that boys can be and often are the victims of sexual violence. Stories like these help take away the stigma and bring it to the forefront so more and more boys can come forward and share their stories. I am looking forward to the opportunity to tell him thank you for his help with the project.
I got invited to an event to meet Judy Freaking Awesome Blume. The Tween is very sad because I can’t take her to this event. She then went into her room and came out with all her JB titles and asked me to get them signed, which again I told her I was so sorry but I couldn’t. But I told her to pick her favorite and I would try sneaking it in my purse and see if I could make any magic happen for her. Update: Blume is signing in the Exhibit Hall at 3:00 PM on Sunday so I am taking the Tween. and Raina Telgemeier is signing Sunday at 4:00. So now I am the Best. Mom. Ever. for making dreams come true.
My best fiend, co-blogger and co-worker Christie will also be there. Although my girls call her “Aunt Christie”, she is smart and is not driving with us. Smart because 30 minutes out the 5-year-old, Thing 2, will start asking, “Are we there yet?” I wish I wasn’t driving to be honest.
This will be only my 5th ALA Annual conference in 20 years as a librarian. I go more now to try and support the blog. This year I will also be visiting the ALA booth to pet copies of Heather Booth and I’s book, The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services. That’s still really surreal, and awesome.
I will definitely be stopping by the Simon & Schuster booth to see one of my favorite reps ever, Anthony. The second time I ever met him he remembered from 6 months before my face and what I liked to read and is a true inspiration I think for librarians about what customer service and RA should be like. Ever since meeting him several years ago I have endeavored to be better about knowing my collection, knowing my readers, and trying to make sure to get the right books in the rights hands of my teens.
Of course I am sure I will find tons of books that I will desperately want to have and read. I always make sure my phone is fully charged before entering the exhibit hall and take pictures of covers so I can remember what I want to come back and research. So watch my Twitter and the TLT Tumblr next weekend for lots of pictures of books. And authors!
I’m working on pre-formatting and scheduling some posts for the next two weeks, hopefully they will go off without any glitches. And let me consult my Magic 8 Ball: Will Karen cry again when she meets A. S. King? *shake, shake, shake* Answer: You May Rely On It!
If you, too, are Vegas bound, let me know what’s on your agenda! I would hate to miss something awesome. And if you see me and the Tween walking around, definitely say hi.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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