by Heather Booth, Local Arrangements Committee
There’s a thick blanket of snow outside my window, my library’s spring newsletter hasn’t yet arrived in our patrons’ mailboxes, and some bubbling hot chili is on this week’s menu, but I’m dreaming about sunny Chicago in late June. Now is the perfect time for YALSA members to start making plans for ALA Annual in Chicago.
10. It’s in the middle of Summer Reading! We all know how hectic those few brief weeks can be, so start planning to be away now so that your department is prepared for your brief absence… and knows why it’s so important that you get a chance to come to Chicago! Why so important? ALA has resources to help you make your case, but read on for more reasons.
9. ARCs! Rub elbows with the publishers and grab sneak peaks at some hot new titles to share with your patrons and coworkers. The ARCs you collect can’t be added to your collection or cataloged, but after you’ve read them and shared them around the department, they make great prizes and rewards for eager teens who are clamoring for their favorite author’s forthcoming title, or need a new author to rally behind.
8. BFYA! If you’ve never been to a teen session of the Best Books for Young Adults or Best Fiction for Young Adults selection committee, it really is not to be missed. The teens who share their feelings and opinions on the nominated titles are articulate, impassioned, thoughtful, and sometimes downright hilarious. If you’ve ever wished you could peek inside the brains of your teens to know how to better manage your collection, this is the next best thing.
7. Networking! All those YALSA phenoms, bloggers, and Twitter folk are actual, real, in-the-flesh people that you’ll have a chance to meet, share with, and discuss all of the day’s hottest topics, best practices, and much, much more. Come to the YALSA Happy Hour, check them out at the programs, or…
6. Conversation Starters! Oh, you know you’ve got something to say about at least a handful of the proposed Conversation Starters on Young Adult Services and Young Adult Literature. Vote now through March 31st and take an active roll in the way Annual unfolds.
5. Programs! Not sure if there will be enough content to apply to your job? YALSA will have at least two dozen programs and events to choose from. Personally, I’m excited about Saturday’s 20 Programs Under $20, and Sunday’s Generation Us – Intergenerational Programs That Build Community in particular.
4. Authors! Code Name Verity was my favorite read last year – and guess what?! Elizabeth Wein will be at Annual! So will Veronica Roth, Tamora Pierce, Nick Lake, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Terry Pratchet, Beverly Brenna, and many more authors. Hear them speak at programs, spot them on the Exhibit floor, or come to the YA Authors Coffee Klatch and get an hour jam packed with YA authors who want to chat with you!
3. Chicago! I may be biased, but Chicago really is a great city, and visiting in the summer is definitely the best time to come. The breeze off the lake is great, the neighborhoods are full of action and street fests, the museums always have special exhibits, the music scene is top notch (and sometime free), and you’ll really get to see the city that works in action.
2. Pride Weekend! Speaking of the city, Annual will take place the same weekend as Chicago’s annual Pride festivities.
And the #1 reason to get yourself to Annual in Chicago is…
1. DRAMA! The thrill of hearing the awards speeches, the excitement of Exhibits’ opening night, the debates that will begin, or continue about hot topics at the Conversation Starters, Programs, and social events, the hugs of reunited friends, the reassurance of meeting new people who share your passion… there’s no substitute for the in-person exuberance that is Annual. Join us!