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ALA recap

July 6, 2007

Since Gayle insisted I blog about it…

Note: In reading over this post, I noticed that I used the word “nice” a lot. Perhaps I should find some other adjectives to use, but really, what better way to describe people who give you free books?

Here are the programs I attended:

Celebrating Excellence in Audiobooks for Children and Young Adults — Bruce Coville, Judy Blume, John Green, and Jack Gantos spoke about the pleasures and perils of audiobooks. Note the word “Celebrating” in the title. This was a very entertaining celebration of audiobooks, not a panel on using audiobooks in the classroom or anything like that. Listen to the podcast.

Teen Graphic Novels: Maintaining Your Collection for Maximum Impact! — This was advertised in the all the conference guides as a four hour program on graphic novels. Which it was. Except that it was split in two parts. The first part was a panel discussion featuring four librarians (all from public libraries, since it was sponsored by PLA) from a variety of library systems answering questions from the moderator about collection development policies, budget, series issues, space constraints and weeding (just get rid of the whole series!), and more. What I loved best about this panel? Everyone pronounced “manga” correctly. Thank you! But seriously, it was informative, especially with the panelists coming from varied systems and positions. The second half of the program was about the debut Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, with members of the committee booktalking the different titles.

Using Technology to Market the Library to Teens — I took eight pages of notes (though I do have big handwriting), and I still didn’t catch everything. Kimberly Bolan started things off with an introduction to marketing and things to keep in mind when planning a marketing strategy. Namely, it’s a process, talk to teens, don’t make assumptions, keep things manageable, don’t worry about perfection, and if it’s not working, stop and try something else. Slides and handout here. Then Michael Stephens discussed various Web 2.0 products and other technologies, like gaming, that we can use to connect with teens.

Trendsetters in Teen Literature — Totally could have used a bigger room. And more time, for that matter. This session only lasted for an hour and half, but it was broken into three parts that would have made for worthwhile programs on their own. The first part was a discussion of trends in YA books since the year 2000. All the information is from the 3rd edition of Best Books for Young Adults, edited by Holly Koelling (to be published next month). I found this to be the most fascinating part of the program and would have loved a full session on this topic. Definitely need to get the book. Things I found most interesting: I’ve never read the full BBYA guidelines, so the statement that the committee’s charge is essentially to find books of “acceptable literary quality and proven or potential appeal to teens” shocked me. (Acceptable? Not outstanding or some other superlative?) And the first trend discussed was books for older teens, in which Koelling said that back when the 2nd edition of the BBYA book was published ten years ago, publishers said the teen market consisted of younger adolescents, ending at age fourteen or so. Which explains why I stopped reading YA books when I was fourteen or so. Yeah, this was the biggest “Ohhhhhh” moment for me. Then came two different panels featuring authors and editors. The only names I caught from the first panel were David Gale, Ellen Wittlinger, Wendy Lamb, and Rene Saldana (sorry to the two graphic novel guys, James something and Nick something). The second panel featured Malin Alegria, Perry Moore, and Dana Reinhardt. Back to the room size. I got there 15 minutes early and still ended up sitting on the floor in the back of the room along with many others. Though I did get there early enough to pick up an ARC of a graphic novel (can’t remember the title and don’t have it with me, but I think it was by either James something or Nick something) and Perry Moore’s awesome “Who Cares About the Death of a Gay Superhero?” handout.

Future Friends: Marketing Reference and User Services to Generation X — I swear they said handouts would be posted on the RUSA blog, but I can’t find it there. In any case, this was obviously not YA-related, but interesting nonetheless. It started off with an introduction to marketing and some facts about Generation X, then there were speakers from the St. Charles Public Library, which has a series of programs for twenty- and thirtysomethings, and the President of the Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library.

I had planned on going to the Wiking the Blog and Walking the Dog program, and got there right as it started. By that point, there were people out the door trying to take notes. But the reason I was late is that as soon as I arrived at the Convention Center that day, I headed to the exhibits and scored the last Heartsick ARC at St. Martin’s Chelsea Cain signing, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain. After deciding not to stand outside the door to listen in on this session, I dropped in on How To Be Smart and Popular! YALSA’s Popular Paperback’s List for a bit before heading back to the exhibits.

Five words: Darwin bobblehead. Harry Potter bag. I probably would have been happy with just that. Well, that and the cool Hyperion Teen summer reads bag that multiple people asked me about. But you really care about the ARCs, right?

I’m not organized enough to have a list of every ARC I picked up. For one thing, most of the ARCs are on a truck or train or boat somewhere since I only sent one box Priority Mail (yay flat rate Priority Mail boxes!). Everything else got shipped book rate, which means I have no idea how long it’ll take for everything to show up. USPS said 3-5 weeks, I was too cheap to pay for anything faster, and besides, the last time I shipped stuff book rate (which, okay, was five years ago), it did not take 3-5 weeks. What, did their service get slower even though rates have gone up? I did bring some books back with me on the plane, though.

  • The Poison Apples by Lily Archer {awesome. Watch for a review by either me or Gayle at some point. And can I just say I love the look of the Feiwel & Friends ARCs? The Poison Apples used the actual cover of the book, but the others had a very classy uniform design. Nice. And thanks to the very nice rep for the ARC.}
  • Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin {which I really should review discuss, because I’m still trying to sort out my feelings about it. On the one hand, there are parts that are so memorable. On the other, well…}
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale {so good. I would have loved it even if she hadn’t used Mongolia as the basis for the setting.}
  • General Winston’s Daughter by Sharon Shinn {another one to discuss. Unless Jolene wants the honors (*cough*cough*)}
  • Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith
  • Hero by Perry Moore
  • Slam by Nick Hornby

I probably should have shipped more stuff, since I ended up having to shell out an additional fifty bucks because my suitcase was overweight with the aforementioned ARCs, plus some signed books, and all the other books I bought while in Washington, DC. How could I resist when that Chip Kidd book was on sale at the National Building Museum? And of course I had to buy the catalog for the Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Then there was omiyage for the library staff…

Oh, and I mentioned earlier how I wanted ARCs of The Sweet Far Thing and The Luxe. No luck with the former, but a nice HarperTeen person said she would send me an ARC of The Luxe (which is actually the first book in a series).

First off, it was weird but cool to hear people, especially authors and folks from publishing houses, say they’ve read the blog. Wow.

At the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet, I sat next to the very cool Marilyn Johnson, author of The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and Other Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries, which I vaguely recall reading about, but now must read.

And a big thanks to Mother Reader for organizing and hosting the Kid Lit Drink Night. It was great meeting authors, folks in publishing, and other bloggers, some of whom I was already aware of (like Zee and Mother Reader herself), some whom were new to me (Jennie/Biblio File). And Mitali Perkins complimented our Asian-Americans in YA Lit wish list! I now have even more blogs to read.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2007 8:25 am

    The Poison Apples sounds great!

  2. July 7, 2007 7:18 pm

    And it totally is! You should definitely read it when it comes out.

  3. July 9, 2007 4:05 pm

    Interseting. We went to completely different sessions. And I don’t think we have any of the same ARCs either. It just goes to show how huge the conference is when we are both interested in teens and both did completely different things.

  4. Gayle permalink*
    July 11, 2007 6:11 pm

    Awesome recap. Hope you were dressed comfortably when you had to sit on the floor.

    I’m impressed that our blog has a following. Thanks for being our fearless blog leader.

  5. July 11, 2007 6:37 pm

    Lindsey – I know! Thank god for blogs so we can find out what happened in the other sessions and which ARCs we may have missed.

    Gayle – Aw, thanks. And, well, my clothes were comfortable, but the floor was not.

  6. July 16, 2007 2:42 am

    Hi Trisha, You’re cool, too!
    And wasn’t that awards dinner fun?


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