Oh, What a Time It Was: The ALA Annual 2016 Conference Floor
Sweaty, sticky, moist Orlando edition.
So here’s a new way to experience the American Library Association Conference. We’re going to tackle it in a visual way. Which is to say, if I took a picture of it, it’s going into this post. Here then is a look at what caught my eye on the conference floor, where the booths are plentiful, the alcohol oddly prevalent, and the carpets super sproingy.
First up, a slew of diverse picture books I hadn’t heard of before that I encountered for the first time at ALA. In no particular order:
This is such a cool book. It’s the children and possibly grandchildren of modern immigrants talking about how much they owe to their forebears. This is the perfect book to combat immigration studies in schools that begin and end with Ellis Island. The text is shockingly simple, but very well done. Look for it!
Other cool looking books included:
Next up, titles that aren’t necessarily picture books that caught my eye for different reasons. All of these look interesting to me in some way. Without comment:
Now for some of the more useful items from the floor.
When you walk past the booths at ALA you may find yourself avoiding eye contact with anyone aside from a large publisher. This act has some problematic repercussions, particularly when the person at the conference is new. Honestly, if the rep from Vox Books hadn’t called me by name I might have missed what is clearly a super cool new innovation in audio picture books. And please bear in mind, if I’m enthusiastic about this it’s because I liked what I heard. I haven’t tried out this product myself yet.
Meet Vox Books. Better yet, take a gander at it.
Okay, so what you’re seeing here is going to be a little unclear at first. Basically, this is a picture book, normal as can be, but with a little, thin, audio component on the left. Do you see it? Right there. It really doesn’t affect the closing of the book at all and it can’t be removed.
Now if you’re library is anything like the ones I’ve worked in, you may have an area where book and CD sets hang off to the side. And as we all know, when they’re returned, half the time the book and CD don’t even match. One library system I worked for tried just creating little pockets for the CDs within the books, but then you couldn’t tell them from the other picture books on the shelves. And then the CDs would get lost.
In this case you have the audio right there, with a headphone jack, the ability to skip ahead or adjust the pages, and some seriously good books. Check ’em out:
Really quite good. You should hear the background music they create as well. The readers are also excellent.
They’ve even covered their bases and done nonfiction books too:
And let me tell you, that hardcore voice reading the Earth Movers book was great to listen too.
I know what you children’s librarians out there are thinking. You’re considering the noise these could create in the library. You aren’t wrong. Remember The Very Quiet Cricket? Ever have the batteries in one of those puppies die on you? You get a sick sounding duck quack emanating from your shelves, randomly, for days. This could be much worse, except you can actually charge these books up. They even ding when you’re supposed to turn the page.
So yeah. Looked neat. Worth exploring, anyway.
Less useful items from the floor? You got it:
First up, it seems that Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is committing hardcore to the children’s book scene. They have early chapter books, nonfiction, board books, you name it coming out. And they had one of their fellas doing caricatures on the floor. Vain critter I am, I couldn’t resist:
Then there was a station set up to help people with copyright advice. I approved of the look of the place:
Have I any regrets from the weekend? Well, I would have liked to have known about this beforehand. I didn’t have any ideas of what to read, but it would have been really fun.
And finally, some good old-fashioned liquid nitrogen.
I’ve seen some fun gimmicks at a conference before, but dipping carmel corn into liquid nitrogen so that when you eat it you look like a dragon spitting smoke . . . well that’s pretty original.
What did the rest of you guys who went see?
Tomorrow – Actual panels n’ stuff!
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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