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We came, We saw, We stalked: Karen’s ALA Highlights

Last week Heather, Christie and I went to ALA in Chicago. It was epic!

Top LtoR: Karen & Christie, author Sharon Biggs Waller, Vordak, author Jonathan Maberry
2nd Row LtoR: author Cory Doctorow, author S. J. Adams and Christie, Free Comic Book Day Panel, Heather Booth reading Rose Under Fire
3rd Row LtoR: author Mindy McGinnis, Free Comic Book Day Panel, author Simone Elkeles
Bottom LtoR: author Tim Federle, author Sean Beaudoin, author Jennifer McGowan, Heather, Karen and Christie

See the complete ALA 2013 TLT Photo Album here

TLT Meet Up!

First, this is the first time that Christie and I have actually met Heather in person.  She feels like part of the family.  In fact, Heather and I just wrote an entire book together – The Whole Teen Library Handbook – but this is the first time we have met, in person, face to face.  In fact, I stayed at her house and it was totally fun.  So here we be, three of the TLT team.

Cory Doctorow Talks, We Should All Listen

At one point, I went and listened to Cory Doctorow talk about intellectual freedom, patent craziness, and more.  He made an interesting statement about how our outdoors playgrouds are often empty because parents are afraid to let their children play because we live in such a dangerous world, and yet we let our children play freely on the most dangerous playground of all – the Internet.  He made a great case for how we must do better in helping others understand this information rich world we live in while protecting their privacy and learning to evaluate the information we see.

New Adult? Or is it “New Adult”?

I also attended a session on New Adult Literature which made me very happy because I was glad to hear others saying what I thought about the issue.  1) The genre has always existed.  2) The name is troublesome because when I hear new adult, I think “oh look, here is some NEW Adult Fiction.” What do we call new titles in this genre, New New Adult?  If it were a perfect world, which it is not, we would call it Young Adult (because that’s what they are, young adults in the 19-24 age group) and call Young Adult fiction Teen Fiction, especially since the teens refer to themselves as teens.  In fact, walk into a Barnes and Noble store and they even have it labelled Teen Fiction.  3)  Yes, teens are and will read New Adult (just as they do Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark and more) but it should be in the Adult area, not YA (or Teen Area as I like to call it). 4) New Adult has a lot of the same diversity issues as Young Adult.  You can find an overview of the session here and a link to their NA RA blog.

Karen Geeks Out Over the 3D Printer

To have a totally geeky moment: I FINALLY SAW A 3D PRINTER.  I have been truly fascinated by the 3d printer concept in part because I couldn’t figure out how it worked and what the final product looked like.  There was one in the Exhibits Hall as well as some finished products, including a model of a bridge and a working whistle.  I really want one.

Meeting the Authors – and You!

From Left to Right: Christa Desir author of Faultline, Sharon Biggs Waller author of A Mad, Wicked Folly and Mindy McGinnis author of Not a Drop to Drink

Another great part of ALA is seeing people you know and love, meeting new people, and meeting some of the authors that write the books you love.  I spent a lot of time with fellow TLTers, my mentor and adopted mom, and met some amazing authors, publishers, and Erinn Batkyefer from The Library is Incubator Project for the first time.  Even though we have been working together for 2 years now on the It Came from a Book project, this is the first time we have met in person.  She stood in line with me while I waited to get a signed copy of Fire and Ash by Jonathan Maberry.  Speaking of Maberry, I got the very first signed ARC of Fire and Ash, the final book in the Rot & Ruin series.  I also was willing to stand in line to meet Sean Beaudoin, because I like not only his books, but a lot of his online writing.

I had dinner with debut author Mindy McGinniss and an author you may have heard of, Veronica Roth.  I had the most fascinating conversation with Roth about Divergent and a scene in it, which she said if she was writing it now she might leave out.  I also got to talk to Michael Grant about the BZRK series, which is a great series and should probably be marketed as awesome Sci Fi instead of awesome YA, because I think it has just as much adult appeal (and adult voice) as the works of Michael Crichton and Phillip K. Dick.  Having now met author Mindy McGinnis in person, it looks like we may be presenting together in April at TLA (I’ll tell you more when I can make an official announcement).

I am not going to lie, I had the best time ever at ALA.  I feel like I learned a lot, met a lot of great fellow librarians and authors, and really just felt invigorated and full of new ideas that I wanted to take back and try.  And yes, I discovered a lot of new books that I want to investigate further.  In fact, I used my phone to take pictures of the covers.  I will write about the books in a separate post.

Did you go to ALA? Share your highlights with us in the comments.

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