Due to ALA being within easy driving distance this year, the library offered to pay for our ticket to attend. This was my first ALA conference.
Being a work conference, I had to actually… work… so that meant waking up at the ungodly hour of 6 on a weekend, NOT hitting the snooze button, and driving to Anaheim to attend 8 o’clock panels. I was late the first day, underestimating the ridiculous parking traffic gridlock. And I was heading full steam into a nasty cold that I got from my coworker. So basically, I was the cause for nerd flu at this convention. Sorry everybody. I didn’t shake hands with anyone, so yay?
Pre-ALA, I went to an ALA noob class, and was told it was going to be INSANE, and TONS of people, and I was thinking, “whoa”… and then I found out ALA has 20K people, compared to SDCC’s 120K people. So, not as overwhelming as I feared. The exhibit hall was completely sparse in comparison; the only time it got crazy was at the publishers’ booths when certain people would be signing (for example, Molly Ringwald was there, Garth Nix showed up, Lemony Snicket was signing, and the Animorphs author). It was a HUGE exhibit hall though, just a lot of stuff I wasn’t interested in (like say, book scanning machines or technical publishers), so the interesting things only took up maybe a total of five rows–the big name publishers on the far left, and the graphic novels section in the far right corner. It was also immensely spread out, not being confined to the convention center, but also a half dozen hotel ballrooms, which meant shuttles needed to be used, since the hotels were about a mile away. I lucked out in that all of my panels were at the convention center, except two back-to-back panels at the Hyatt, so that was easy.
After a four hour (ughhhhh) panel on Saturday morning, I ran over to the exhibit hall because I found out that First Second was giving out free FINISHED copies of Hope Larson’s Wrinkle in Time graphic novel (as opposed to a galley/ARC, or Advanced Reader’s Copy), which doesn’t come out until October. Actually they gave them out Friday, but I wasn’t there, but they tweeted about it, and I freaked out, and their twitter person said she would save one for me when they put out Saturday’s bunch. And she TOTALLY DID. I got the last one!! YAY TWITTER. YAY First Second!
On top of that, after tweeting my elation, Hope Larson favorited my tweet! Eeeeeeee!
And then after that, I hunted down Faith Erin Hicks’s booth, and got her last copy of Adventures of Superhero Girl, which I also really really wanted because she self-published that and only sells them at the east coast cons. AND she sketched a picture for me!! She was super nice, too and easy to talk to. I’m so glad I got to meet her. I like it when people are nice when you tell them you like their stuff, instead of being all snotty (I’ve had this happen way too many goddamn times).
While wandering around further in the Artist Alley section of ALA (there were maybe a dozen tables for AA), I ended up standing briefly next to GEORGE R. R. MARTIN, and was all, OMG (in my head). I totally did not yell OMG out loud, although I immediately texted Malvitas and he was all, PICS, so I did.
Stupid crappy camera phone.
I didn’t say anything to him though, because I was totally freaking out inside, and he looked like he just wanted to have a nice time wandering around and other people were trying to talk to him as well.
I did NOT ask him to please not die before finishing his books, which is what Malvitas wanted me to ask him.
I really like getting graphic novels and having the artists sign them because they will usually sketch a cute picture with their signature!
Okay, this one wasn’t really by the artist for the book; it was by Gene Luen Yang who is writing the in between stories between Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. But all of his other friends at the table made him draw the picture. They were a bunch of really silly, really funny Asian nerds.
I got this one because I bought Jason Shiga’s interactive book for my iPad, Meanwhile. Meanwhile‘s sort of like a choose your own adventure type book. Bookhunter is supposed to be about book police of some kind. It sounded cool. I like the idea of book police (see: The Eyre Affair and Library Wars). Plus it’s in Oakland, so yay, NorCal! His art is really cute. He was also one of the Asian dorky guys at the above mentioned table.
I’ve been meaning to read this book forever, as I hear nothing but good things about it. This is Raina Telgemeier’s autobiographical graphic novel, Smile, where she shows what she had to go through when she accidentally knocked out her two front teeth when she was a kid. She was there with her husband, Dave Roman, who was also selling his books, and I bought one of those as well. (I wonder if this happens a lot, graphic novelists marrying other graphic novelists, like Bryan Lee O’Malley and Hope Larson, and now these two).
This one I know nothing about (yet), but it sounded kinda cool. It’s science fictiony. I also got their two ARCs from another booth: Drama by Telgemeier and Teenboat by Roman.
Anyway, here’s my haul of freebies and bought items from ALA.
I would have gotten more freebies, but some of the pubs were very stingy with their ARCs and if you wanted some, they made you wait in a long line to get the author’s signature. I didn’t really want the author’s signature on some of these; I just wanted to look at them, or grab one for a friend who’s also ARC deprived and was totally growled at by the booth guards. So that was super annoying. I bought some of these because the pubs were selling them suuuuper cheap (they know library people are broke). That’s the two on the right, Matched and Entwined.
I also saw one of Shaz’s favorite authors there, so I got her a book for L. L now has a book inscribed to her on her literal birthday (Congrats to Shaz, and welcome, little L!). I think that’s kinda cool. I hope she likes it.
And my final bought item was from the ALA store where I wasn’t planning on buying anything and then I saw this:
This is the original artwork by Gurihiru, but my finished poster says, “Reading is Mind-Bending” across the top. They’re in Wan Shi Tong’s underground library. I was just browsing the selections, and I totally froze when I came across this one. The poster bins weren’t numbered correctly, and I was briefly panicking because I couldn’t find it, but I eventually found the last one (I got a lot of “last ones” at this conference!!).
The panels were pretty decent. Most were fairly informative. Some were confusing, but I had a lot of information being thrown at me, and there was some panel overlap, so I eventually started getting the hang of some concepts. It also didn’t help by Sunday I was fading out really quickly.
A note to panelists:
Please do not read word for word from your Power Point. My entire row fell asleep. It didn’t help that it was right after lunch. It was boring, and it shouldn’t have been, because it was actually something that pertained to what I’m doing right now. I was afraid the guy next to me was going to fall on me, and the lady on my other side was snoring so loud others were looking to see who it was.
This may be the only ALA I ever get to attend, since who knows about my job situation. Plus it moves around, and it isn’t coming back to Southern California until 2018 (?). I’m very grateful I got to go, and I had a fabulous time. Now I must go drink some more garlic tea to drown these horrible cold germs to get ready for Anime Expo this coming weekend!