Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back From Midwinter

I'm (finally) back from the American Library Association's Midwinter conference, held in sunny Denver.

Ha. It snowed every single day we were there, and it was 4 degrees below zero on the morning I left Denver. However, life moves on in Denver. Denver's a pretty cool town. Public transportation (including a free shuttle down the 16th street pedestrian mall and a light rail around parts of the city) made it easy to get around the city. In between meetings, my friend and colleague from Chesapeake Public Library (where I hear it is 70 degrees today) were able to explore a bit of the city, including eating buffalo steak at Denver's oldest restaurant (Sasha also had elk, which we weren't too fond of....the buffalo was very good). We really got a feel for Denver's (and Colorado's) old western heritage there (not a place to take your vegetarian PETA friends). We sat by several folks who were attending a sportsmen's conference at the same time and place as the ALA convention, which was fun.

We also wandered around the 16th Street pedestrian mall, making a stop at Denver's famous Tattered Cover bookstore. Lo and behold, there was the latest volume in the shamefully addicting Luxe series. Yes, we do have it on order, but I wanted to read it right away!

(It's still a very fun read, but certain elements of the story could be seen tap dancing their way down Fifth Avenue. More on it later.)

In addition to all this fun were all the committee meetings and discussion groups that I was there for in the first place. Unlike the annual conference, there are no sessions or workshops. Basically, if you aren't on a committee or anything like that, you will be hard-pressed for something to do. Midwinter is primarily a business meeting. Very important and very useful for making contacts, not to mention mandatory for committee members, but it's very much a business meeting.

(Tip for those attending conferences...when you receive invitations to breakfast/lunch/dinner receptions, accept them! Worldcat and EBSCO gave particularly good receptions.)

For some foolish reason, I thought that advanced reader copies/galleys wouldn't be as plentiful as they are at the annual conference. Hardy-har-har. I eventually collected three boxes full of advanced reader copies (you can ship them directly from the exhibit floor).

(Tip for those scouring the exhibit floor looking for ARCs...don't just pick up an ARC and move on. First of all, that's rude. Asking a publishing representative about an ARC in your hand or "What are you really excited about for this spring/summer?" will probably get your ear talked off and ARCs that haven't yet been displayed. They want to tell you about their books. Let them-and thank them. It's a long day for them. Yes, they are providing ARCs in the hopes that you order the books, so it's not a charitable endeavor. Still, it's always nice to be appreciated. Of course, if he/she is sitting at a table reading a book and not looking to engage attendees, that's a completely different story.)

One of the highlights of the convention was attending the ALA Youth Media Awards! Next post, coming up.

No comments: