Prepping for ALA: Bookish D.C. Beyond ALA

As ALA Annual draws near, you’re probably looking over the program and figuring out which YALSA sessions to attend and which ticketed events you can’t miss. Obviously you’ll be making your way to the Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback Session on Sunday (1-3pm WCC 202A), a perennial librarian favorite. But how else will you spend your time? And when you need to escape the convention center, where and how can a librarian find other bookish things to do? Here are our Top Five recommendations for Bookish D.C.:

Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards
This exhibit, featuring artwork from the illustrators of 101 Coretta Scott King Award-winning titles is FREE! and open to the public. Created by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, this traveling installation is co-sponsored by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee and the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table of the ALA. The exhibit will be on display at THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave SE (a 15-minute walk from the Congress Heights metro station) through June 25. If you can, join for a special Closing Reception on Friday, June 21, from 1-3pm. If you’re planning to attend the reception, RSVP to CSK50Art@gmail.com.

Book Buzz D.C.
Combine a visit to a branch of the D.C. Public Library with a fantastic FREE! event that includes lunch! Metro over to Cleveland Park to hear representatives from 20 publishers share their most anticipated upcoming release titles. Children’s & teen titles will be showcased in the morning session, while the afternoon will feature books for adults. Pre-register for this event to reserve your seat and ensure that they have enough food to provide lunches for all attendees.

Library of Congress
No librarian’s visit to our nation’s capital would be complete without a visit to the Library of Congress. Hour-long public tours of the Thomas Jefferson Building run Monday-Saturday, but if you just want to wander around on your own, ogle the gorgeous Reading Room, and head down into the basement to visit the Young Readers Center on your own schedule, that’s also a possibility. Note that if you want a Reader Card, you’ll need to stop by the Madison Building. To speed the process, pre-register online up to two weeks in advance of your visit.

Bookshops and Bars
Perhaps your idea of escape includes a drink or some book browsing in one of D.C.’s beloved independent bookstores. In that case, be sure to head over to Petworth Citizen for a signature cocktail in their Reading Room, a free library-turned-speakeasy, where you can sip your beverage among the stacks. Prefer a muffin or coffee? Local independent bookstores and D.C. treasures Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe and Politics & Prose should suit you just fine. If you’re looking for an evening outing, Politics & Prose has trivia Saturday nights @ 8pm. Book Riot also put together this list of DC’s top indie bookstores. Hungrier for more? Busboys & Poets is a local chain with several locations that offer a curated book selection, open mic, poetry readings, and deliciously conscious cuisine (so many vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options!).

If you haven’t found anything here to spark your interest, rest assured, there’s plenty more bookish things to explore in D.C. Book Riot and Epic Reads have both put together their own guides with some additional suggestions.

Better yet, any D.C. locals want to chime in with their favorites?

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