And if you've never been, you MUST come! San Antonio, to me, is one of the best venues by far for this and weather promises to be great! I remember my first time - lonely and scared, I didn't know a person at all. Went to the workshops and went straight back to my room. And worst of all, never even made it into the exhibit hall. Had NO idea what was going on. So, here are some things (if you're new, been there a time or two, or have lived and breathed it for decades) that I think all TLA'ers should know about one of the largest state library conventions in the U.S.:
1. Come early, stay late! There is way too much to go to when it comes to speakers, workshops, and programs. Some of my favorites this year are - Teri Lesesne's New Books for Teens (and some Tweens, Too); Novels in Verse: Powerful Poetry for Teens; Booktalking YA Reading Lists; Speed Geeking with New Technology Tools; Tayshas: Hot High School Authors; A Conversation Between Books and Technology.
2. Browse that program guide until your hands bleed!! Look at the pictures (remember, in testing, pictures are very important! So too, in program guides!) Look for authors' names, other librarians who are presenting that you recognize from blogs or listservs, and most importantly scheduling conflicts. Network it!!
3. Okay, this should have been number one, but too late. I was going to say book a room, but you still can! They'll be booking rooms for next year this year! DO IT NOW...save some headaches for later.
4. OMG...that's all I can say about the exhibit halls. Did you know they give away ARCS like crazy? Did you know they give away tons of candy? Did you know you can enter to win all sorts of amazing things? Authors are there IN THE BOOTHS!!! I remember seeing Beth Coe one year and people just passing her by like she wasn't there. TALK...say hello...you never know....
5. Take it all in and be prepared to let it all out at night! That may be going to the socials, free or paid, if that's your thing. (Follett's Sweets Night is always a popular one!) It could mean hanging on the riverwalk doing some dinner. It may mean sitting in your hotel under a warm blanket reading the newest galleys you just received. Or it could be getting onto the free wi-fi somewhere where you don't have to pay stinking 15.00 bucks a day to use and blogging, checking email, putting in new bookmarks, etc...
6. You are my hero if you wear shoes with heels over half an inch that aren't made of something cushiony. At this point, fashion goes to the back of the wardrobe and I'll be rockin' it in Nike's, Sperries, Vans, or flip flops! Same with the clothes. Bermudas, comfy sweaters (because sometimes the convention center is like the NORTH POLE) and khakis round out my outerwear : )
7. And will you still be alone? Never fear!! I'm a pretty friendly person and I'd love to hang out with you and have lunch, and since I know San Antonio pretty well, we can get some great Mexican food : )
See ya'll in two weeks!!!