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ALA Summer Conference Isn't Just for Librarians

This summer, massive numbers of librarians (what's the collective noun for librarians? A catalog of librarians?) will congregate in Anaheim for the annual American Library Association summer conference. And I will be among them (at least for one day).

I've been encouraging my writer friends, especially children's writer friends, to go. They don't have to sit through seminars like Using Your Library to Crowdsource (I made that one up), but there are cool things for non-librarians.

For 25 buckeroos, non-ALA members can get an Exhibit Hall Pass. For people who love books, it's an exhibit hall of squee. Some of the authors currently scheduled to be there are Libba Bray, Daniel Handler, Paolo Bacigalupi, Marla Frazee, Mo Willems, Sherman Alexie, Jon Scieszka, Eve Bunting, Cornelia Funke, Jack Gantos, Brian Selznick, Maggie Stiefvater, David Shannon, and Patrick McDonnell. There are over 400 authors coming to the Exhibit Hall, so there's bound to be someone you love there. And there will be more ARCs than you can carry.

If you have an extra 100 smackeroos, you can go to the Newbery/Caldecott banquet dinner. Yes, you can. This is not a ALA member only event. You can see Jack Gantos and Chris Raschka give sure-to-be inspirational acceptance speeches. I went to the banquet back in 2008 when I was still in library school. Brian Selznick won for The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Laura Amy Schlitz won for  Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. (I got to give Laura Amy Schlitz a hug and tell her I wanted to be like her when I grew up, so the night was a total win for me.)

So if you live in southern California, think about going to the ALA conference. If only for the Exhibit Hall. Here's the link to ALA to get you started.

Don't live in the area, don't despair! The ALA has the conference in a different city every year. In 2013, the conference will be in Chicago. In 2014, it'll be in Las Vegas. And in 2015, it's in San Francisco. (Think long-term goals here.)