I accomplished many things during ALA Annual 2009.

Chiefly, I accomplished the feat of hardly blogging about it at all while I was there (please, don’t congratulate too enthusiastically, this is easier than you might think). In an effort to right this wrong, I bring you a day in my life at ALA.

The theme for this post should be “No Boring Moment Shall Go Unphotographed, Exciting Moments Will Remain a Mystery”. I’ve got the boring stuff covered. The cool stuff? I was either too embarrassed to pull out my camera, or I was enjoying things so much I forgot. I apologize in advance. Let’s get started.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

6:15 – Wake up. No small feat. After the school year has ended, my morning wake-up time has been briskly approaching that of my teenage years.

7:25 – On the shuttle bus. The conference center was just a little ways (see: really far) away from my hotel. Thankfully I could hitch a ride.


8:00 – My first session: Information Literacy. I teach this at the elementary schools where I work, so it’s good to learn more about this stuff. Well done.


10:30 – Hit the exhibit floor (for what would turn out to be a marathon session). Man, it’s crowded in here:


10:45 – I see editor of The Horn Book (and author of the Read Roger blog) Roger Sutton. Seems like a friendly guy.

10:57 – Walk past Nic Bishop stolling the floor. It’s very satisfying when you see someone you think you recognize (“I think that’s Nic Bishop”) and then two seconds later someone actually confirms your suspicions and says “Hi Nic”. I did a mental fist pump.

11:15 – Getting hungry.

11:27 – Stopped by the Eerdman’s booth to meet Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, author and illustrator of the Caldecott honor-winning A River of Words. If you read the post I wrote for the ALSC blog, you know I saw and was immensely impressed by Sweet’s original artwork for the book, which was on display at The Art Institute of Chicago. I told them this. Both were very nice and mentioned that they might team up again in the future. Here’s hoping.


11:30 – Meet author of The Lincolns, Candace Fleming. She was great. Signed my copy of her latest book The Great and Only Barnum. I also got to share that I am an occasional Lincoln impersonator. That fact comes in handy more often than it should.


11:48 – Mo Willems’ not-yet-released pop-up book Big Frog Can’t Fit In. Just chilling there on a table. I just saw the behind the scenes videos on Mr. Willems’ blog,

here and here,

but I didn’t expect to see it here. I read it. It’s great. You will want to get it. Did I mark this exciting event by capturing it on film? No. But Fuse #8 (she who never lets a beat go unmissed) did.


(Click on the picture to read her comments)

12:00 – Crucial decision time. Do I stay at the exhibits until my next session, or head back to the hotel? Although the all of a sudden very heavy computer in my backpack could be heard saying “take a load off!”, I decide to stay.

12:15 – Stop by the Feiwel & Friends booth for two reasons. One is to meet illustrator Matthew Cordell and have him sign my copy of Mighty Casey (written by James Preller). Reason two was to ask Mr. Cordell if he had any cupcakes (as James Preller instructed me to do in our recent Q and A session). Alas, I left cupcakeless. I did get a great souvenir however:


12:35 – In swinging through the DK booth, I notice one of those review quote cards sticking out of the top of One Million Things:


I wrote that! Cool to see.

12:46 – I try to stop by the Unshelved booth and thank them for providing me with the biggest single day of traffic in 100 Scope Notes history (when they picked up this post for their site), but it was a madhouse over there. Librarians love comics about librarians. Makes sense.


1:03 – Attempt to get some food. View lines to get food. Remember that I hate lines. Go back to exhibits.

1:10 – I run into Betsy Bird of the wonderful A Fuse #8 Production. Yep, she’s as witty as advertised on her billboards (oh that’s right, those won’t be rolled out until ALA Midwinter (kidding)). She invites me to a Feiwel & Friends shindig later in the day. Nice.

1:12 – I meet Emily from emilyreads. She works for Charlesbridge and was as friendly as could be.

1:30 – Session #2: Books and Blogs. Put on by Booklist and featuring some of their bloggers along with author John Green and Nora Rawlinson of EarlyWord, the house was packed. Three things I took away:

1. There truly is a book blog for every type of reader.

2. “If you’re going to have the safety off, you better be shootin’ straight” – Mary Burkey (of Audiobooker) on blogger responsibility.

3. John Green is hilarious

3:00 – Time to leave the convention center and get downtown. That’s when things start getting crazy (by my first time at ALA standards).

More to come tomorrow…