marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
So this weekend I went to the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, and it was awesome. It was my first time to go, though I've always wanted to.

It is huge. I can't describe how huge. It takes up the whole giant convention center plus meeting space in surrounding hotels. Michelle Obama was the opening keynote speaker (and no, we missed her, because we drove in and didn't get there in time to get in line for her talk.) (Viola Davis was the end of conference speaker, and we couldn't stay long enough to see her.)

The exhibit floor: there were over 600 exhibitors. Some were technical and physical library services (like a place selling realistic metal trees for children's storytime areas which is the coolest thing I ever saw and if I was rich that is absolutely how I would spend my money), some were institutions like the Library of Congress, Oxford University Press, and various academic libraries, but most were publishers. And they were giving away free books. It was free-bookapalooza. There were small booths like Titan Comics and Wizards of the Coast and Skyhorse, then there were giant book encampments like HarperCollins and Penguin Random House. There were author signings and giant piles of ARCs and free buttons and free t-shirts and free totebags and my audiobook publisher (Recorded Books) gave us free earbuds. It was amazing. There are so many free books that librarians from small libraries without a lot of money will use it to basically stock their collections, so you see a lot of people toting multiple bags. Librarians are strong.

We got there Friday night and the conference runs a massive well-organized shuttle bus system with very large buses from all the hotels to the convention center. (They're tall buses and I only almost fell twice, and the second time the driver caught me.) We went to the opening of the exhibit floor, then walked through the convention center, the attached mall, and over to the Hilton to make sure we knew the route for Sunday (when I had two programs only half an hour apart). Then we caught the shuttle from the Hilton to the Marriott (which was across the street from our hotel, the Sheraton) (there were probably thirty convention hotels in use for this) and got advice from the concierge about a good restaurant in walking distance. It was Mr. Ed's in the French quarter, and it was this little two story place that was really delicious. I had crawfish pie.

Saturday we went to eat breakfast at the Ruby Slipper, which was right behind our hotel, and was also delicious (everything was delicious) (I had eggs benedict with pulled pork), and then rode over to the convention center. We did the exhibit hall until noon, and I signed copies of The Cloud Roads at the Skyhorse booth for them to give away on Sunday. Then we met up with a friend from Cushing Memorial Library and Archives for lunch, which was in a tiny place in the French Quarter called Jimmy J's, which only had about ten tables total, and so we had to wait for it quite a while. Lunch took about three hours but the food was worth it and we got to hang out and talk. (fried shrimp and oysters) Then I went back to the exhibit hall briefly to pick up some cards from the Tor Forge booth for my Sunday programs, and then we just rested in the hotel room for a while.

And then on Twitter I found out that All Systems Red won the Locus Award for Best Novella!!! http://locusmag.com/2018/06/2018-locus-awards-winners/ Congrats to all the other winners and nominees!!!!

(I went from zero awards to three awards very quickly this summer so it's been great and overwhelming.)

That night Katharine from Tor.com took us to dinner at the Redfish Grill in the French Quarter and again it was delicious. (fried catfish and etouffee) (These places are all in wonderful old buildings, and I'll post some pictures on tumblr later.)

Then Sunday morning we got up early to take the shuttle to the Hilton for the YALSA coffee klatch. This was basically librarian speed-dating. There was a large group of authors and a big room with forty tables of 3-10 YA librarians each, and the authors go from table to table handing out cards and telling the librarians about their books, and you have about four minutes at each table. In the green room before it started I got to meet Angela Johnson!!! Then it started and it was kind of fun but also completely exhausting. It went a bit longer than they said and I did about 13 tables.

Then we had to do a quick walk through the Hilton, the attached mall and into the convention center for the YALSA Alex Award program. This was really a lot of fun. It was a panel with the winners who were at the conference (me, Seanan McGuire, and Daniel Wilson) and we each spoke for a little bit (I wrote a short speech and then messed it up because I was still so frazzled from the coffee klatch) and then we answered questions. The publishers had supplied copies of our books for everybody at the program and we signed them at the end and got to talk a bit. It was great.

Then we went back to the exhibit hall for a bit, then to the hotel for lunch, then to the French Quarter to sightsee for a few hours. We toured the Gallier House, walked through the Cathedral, and through some art galleries and stores. Then we went to the Court of Two Sisters for dinner (red snapper on crab risotto)

Then we went back to the hotel and collapsed, and then drove home Monday morning. (It's about 7-9 hour drive, depending on traffic.)

So in short, it was great.

ETA:

And here's the tumblr posts with the photos:

https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/175271326682/and-heres-some-more-photos-of-new-orleans-from

https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/175270760777/so-this-weekend-i-went-to-the-american-library
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