(from VP/Director Marcia Purcell)
Each year when I get back from ALA I am totally exhausted! This isn’t anything new. When I was a beginning librarian, decades ago, I found it all overwhelming. Now after many years of working on the publishing side, guess what — I find it all overwhelming! Too many good authors, too many programs, too spread out, too much in general. So the importance of a good plan is vital! Thanks to our author organizer, Erica Melnichok, all of us from RHI come to ALA armed with about a 15-page plan of action. It’s almost a minute-by-minute schedule of our lives for those six ALA days. I’d be lost without it and even have a spare just in case!
WHERE IS SHE GOING WITH ALL THIS?
The point is, ALA can be either wonderful(!) or daunting(!). We hear every year how folks missed a favorite author because they didn’t know about their appearance. Read those ads in LJ and Cognotes! Get your coupons in order! Check out the pre-program on the ALA website! Check out this blog and our Library website!
We had 14 authors this year (I won’t name a single one because all the others will feel left-out.) from first-time novelists to BIG bestsellers. They all had good programs and I hope you were able to attend at least some of them. I worked several of these events and find them to be, without exception, rewarding in unexpected ways. I attended ALTAFF’s Reflecting on the Past – Literary Memoirs, and found it to be amazing with the authors provoking the packed audience to tears and standing ovations! You just can’t beat that. So next year, give yourself a reward, go to author events. And thanks to those of you who braved the worst meeting room ever, to attend the RHI Book Buzz (over 100 jammed into a room with seating for 75) to hear about our books we feel you need for the near future.
Two last points…
ALA sponsored a new Cookbook Pavilion and I was there every day as we featured a wide variety of our Random House, Inc. titles – everyone from Bobby Flay to Ina Garten. Traffic for the display area was nice and steady and everyone talked about how use is up as folks are cooking home more. Every time there was a demo mobs of folks filled up those chairs! The smell of cooking plus a place to sit…an unbeatable combo. (I hear ALA is considering Travel and perhaps Romance Pavilions for the future.)
And literally hot of the presses from the printer to ALA — we were able to feature our new ONE BOOK brochure (the cover is just beautiful!!). The One Book, One Community program is SO important now and the NEA’s Big Read support is at an all time high. We couldn’t keep copies of this catalog on the table and we literally ran out. If you missed, download your copy now, and make use of our great titles that have already been adopted, see suggestions for new titles, and get advice from the person who started it all: Nancy Pearl.
OK, thanks for reading my take on the Biggest ALA Ever at 28,941 – all of whom came through the RHI booth at least three times (or at least that’s what it felt like)! Thanks, very much! Overwhelming, but in a good way!!