My mother is a crazy, enthusiastic children’s librarian and I am her crazy, librarian-wannabe daughter which means that ALA is like Disney World for the two of us. I’m lucky that she’s my mom because otherwise I might not even know what ALA stands for.

But she is, and I do, and now we’re getting ready for our second trip to the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. As a teenager and not technically a librarian yet (even though I like to pretend that I already am) ALA is all about fun for me. Of course, I’m such a librarian nerd that even sessions about RefWorks are pretty thrilling but the true magic happens in the Exhibits Hall.

So, with excitement and antici…pation running through my book nerdy veins, I thought that I would write a list of the top ten things I hope I can tell you about in my post-conference post:

  1. Meeting Lauren Oliver and telling her that Before I Fall was one of the most beautiful novels that I have ever read. When you start a novel wanting to punch the main character in the face and end a novel crying because you know she has to die, you know you’ve just experienced something that doesn’t happen very often.
  2. Congratulating Libba Bray on her Printz Award and tell her that I TOTALLY saw it coming, because honestly, how could I not? I think she might also like to know that I am now the proud owner of a growing lawn gnome collection, all thanks to her.
  3. Participating in Libraries Build Communities again.
  4. Attending the YA Author Coffee Klatch and trying to contain my giddiness, especially if John Green is anywhere in the vicinity.
  5. Waiting just outside the Exhibits Hall just before they open and making a mad dash for all of the major publishers before the really good ARCs are gone.
  6. Talking about books with the Best Fiction for Young Adults panel (including my fabulous VOYA partner, Alissa Lauzon)
  7. Planning to fan girl every YA author I can find but ending up just staring at them in awe while my mother tells them how much I talk about their books.
  8. Recreating another serendipitous moment where I turn the corner and there is STEPHEN CHBOSKY signing The Perks of Being a Wallflower .
  9. Wandering through the Exhibits Hall pulling the “I am an eager teen reader. Please give me books” card.
  10. Being around a bunch of librarians who are as excited about books as I am.

I have no doubt that no matter how many of these things I actually get to do, I will still manage to have a great time, learn a lot, and get a ton of awesome ARCs. See you there!

12 Thoughts on “Why ALA is Going to be Awesome

  1. Thanks for summing up some of the joys of attending conference. Your mom is a lucky librarian to have you for a daughter to share the excitement and fan girl moments with you.

  2. Molly on June 1, 2010 at 10:44 am said:

    What a great post! Nice to be reminded of these joys to be had at conferences. I once planned my entire ALA schedule around every event Sherman Alexie was attending, and, too, stared in awe. As I am 33 (almost 34 years old!), some things never change.

  3. Nancy Boutet on June 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm said:

    I am the crazy mother of this incredible child and I have to tell you, she really was speechless when she first met John Green and we literally walked around a corner at the exhibits in Anaheim and there was STEPHEN CHBOSKY being totally charming. We owe it all to Alissa.

  4. Sue Raboy on June 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm said:

    Your enthusiasm jumps off of the page. You know you’re the reader we all long for and your love of books is probably contagious to all you meet. And, while you’re not yet a librarian you sure do enrich our profession. There are many reasons why it is sad not to be going to Annual. Not being there to meet you is now added to my list.

    Read on!

  5. Fantastic post–as soon as I read the snippet on American Libraries Direct, I knew it was you! I hope you and your mom have a fantastic time–hopefully I’ll see you both there! 🙂

  6. Don’t forget the two things going on that are breaking the “librarian” stereotype:

    Project Brand Yourself a Librarian, where librarians from across the country will be getting tattoos (


    The ALA 2010 Dance Party! (

    Looking forward to it all!

  7. Pam Hatton on June 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm said:

    How cool it is to be a retired librarian and be able to claim, both mother and daughter as cousins!!!!

  8. Mickie on June 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm said:

    Was that a Rocky Horror Reference?! WOOT!! XD

  9. My parents are both librarians, and i’m library assistant at my school.I’m a teen reader myself, and I think that this post covers my feelings of the exhibits. i’ve got an enourmous collection of uncorrected proofs, and I try to meet a lot of authors. But, other than the exhibits, i must say that ALA is sdead boring. the best one i’ve been to was in anaheim, just cause there was good food. This said, I really liked this post. this has already been said, but your entusiasm is contagious. this is good writing!

  10. Jen Cohen on June 4, 2010 at 10:13 am said:

    What a great post! I’m a 32-year-old library student and I love YA books. This will be my first ALA Annual; I attended this year’s Midwinter Meeting, and I was completely awestruck when I walked into the exhibits hall. I think I probably missed out on a number of great ARCs because at first I couldn’t believe all those books were just there for the taking, so I was only looking; once I saw everyone grabbing them, though, I picked up a bag and went for it. I’ll also be at the Coffee Klatch, eagerly hoping to meet John Green. Hopefully I’ll run into you as well! 🙂

  11. I took both my son and daughter to ALA conferences. My daughter and I went to ALA in New Orleans for her 21st birthday. Not many young people want to celebrate their 21st birthdays at a library conference. After graduating from college, she became the evening supervisor at a college library. My son decided he wanted to follow in my footsteps and become a crazy, youth services librarian. While he was completing his MLIS at Florida State, he took time off from classes to attend ALA in Chicago with me. He was totally blown away with the experience. So our two generations of librarians enthusiastically encourage all of you to make the ALA conference a family event!

  12. I just wanted to know, this being my first time going to the ALA. What time would you suggest getting there before the mad dash and all the good ARC’s are gone?

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