So as my little tag on the side of my blog says, I attended ALA Annual in Chicago this year. This is my second annual conference, and it was a bit different than Annual in Anaheim last year. I have also attended two Mid-Winter conferences. Overall, I think I prefer Mid-Winter to Annual, but all the conferences are great.
The Publishers. Of course. They are always so wonderful, friendly and generous with the books they give away. They are starting to recognize me, which is great. This conference is the first since I started my blog, and even though I've attended all the conferences as a librarian, I had the extra bonus of letting them know about the blog. I even made cards, so I hope they will remember me when I contact them in the future about author and book promotions, which is something I would love to do on the blog. I want to give a special shout-out to Sourcebooks. Although all the publishers were awesome, the gang at Sourcebooks just go above and beyond for me. Every conference I look forward to seeing them, and every time they out-do themselves with their kindness and their generosity.
The Authors. I loved meeting so many of my favorite authors. Some of whom I have loved forever. I had a huge challenge in that I really had to be in session most of the time, but I had a few worker bees with me (my husband, his uncle, and his uncle's girlfriend). They were able to walk the exhibit hall and stand in the lines while I was able to get my job done. There were several authors that I was able to meet during breaks though.
The Books. This goes back to the publishers. I loved seeing all the new books that are coming out. I got a ton of ARCs and finished copies of books that I can't wait to read. I had to have them shipped to me, and I've only gotten 2 of the 6 boxes that I had to mail back. I forgot to take a picture of the books I've gotten so far, and I already integrated them into my book shelves, here are some of the titles that have arrived so far:
The Crowds. I don't know if it's because of the location of Chicago, or if more people are making an effort to go to ALA because they heard it was just as good as some of the other conferences, just less crowded, but it was crazy busy. It was hard to walk in the aisles most of the time. I hate crowds and it was the worst I've ever seen. There were also lines everywhere because all the signings happen in the booths. The people in line usually did a pretty good job of not blocking the aisles, but it was still bad. Friday night was the worst. You really couldn't walk. It was very reminiscent of Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras. Yuck.
The Theft. It pains me to say this, but the somebody or somebodies were stealing books from the publishers left and right. I was actually disgusted. I talked to some of the publishers and they repeatedly said they had never had so many books stolen from them. For all future attendees and those that may be intending to go to a future ALA conference, please keep in mind, the publishers are there to show off their upcoming products and popular titles. If people keep stealing from them, they will no longer come. Also keep in mind that this is a LIBRARY conference. Any attendees who don't work at a library or for a library are there as guests. Being there is a privilege and not a right. If the publishers complain to the conference organizers about the amount of books that were flat out stolen from them, ALA will close itself off from guests. I know bloggers enjoy the opportunity to talk to the publishers, but the conference is NOT for bloggers. It's for librarians. Good luck at getting in for a reasonable price if this kind of behavior continues. The reason I'm targeting bloggers is because I would be really shocked if it was librarians. Librarians deal with the theft of books on a regular basis, and I don't think any of them would do that to a publisher. I'm not saying it's not possible, but ALA will surely block guests and bloggers from attending long before they block Librarians from attending.