So you don’t need me to tell you that
It was my first ALA Midwinter conference and it was just friggin awesome. I had some of the most interesting and entertaining conversations of my life, and I have come back to Queens invigorated and excited about being a librarian again – which is good because I was really in a place where I wasn’t so sure about working in a library anymore. Now I’m ready to kick some ass…in a good way, of course.
If anyone reading this is a librarian who has had their degree for less than 5 years OR is younger than 35, I highly encourage you to apply for the 2009 ALA Emerging Leaders program. It’s really a fantastic program that made me feel empowered and inspired. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask me (via comments or email me personally). I definitely think Leslie Burger was on to something when she created this program – it’s a wonderful way to include up-and-coming librarians in the process and to elicit their ideas about the direction of
I even managed to fit in my love of all things food-related: Harcourt invited me to a dinner at Fork, a swoon-worthy restaurant on Market and 3rd. Fantastic food. For an appetizer I had the flatbread with sautéed calamari, parmesan cheese, and white beans. A little on the dry side, but the calamari was really flavorful. For my entrée, I got the hangar steak with frites and it rocked. I asked for it rare and they actually gave it to me RARE! It’s an anomaly in the restaurant world – you folks who like your meat rare will know what I mean. For dessert, I had the dark chocolate mousse with cognac, which was very light and flavorful…but I don’t know if I made the right choice. Ellen Greene, Harcourt’s library marketing guru, ordered the ricotta cheesecake and I’ve never tasted anything like it in my life. I normally don’t go for cheesecake because it’s so dense but, lordy, that’s because I’ve never tried Fork’s cheesecake. Light as friggin air. Amazing. And of course, there was wine. See, I prove again how books, wine, and food are so completely interrelated. This whole meal – and Harcourt’s generosity in hosting it – will continue to be the major highlight of the conference for me.
But enough of that, let’s talk about the BOOKS! I still can’t believe it was just yesterday morning that I was sitting in that enormous ballroom, listening to the book award winners announced right before my eyes. As the Batchelder and Schneider Family awards were being announced, I felt all tingly and thrilled and excited. Then…as the moment of truth arrived…I felt all tense. Why? I realized that I was nervous because WHAT IF I HADN’T ORDERED THE RIGHT BOOKS ALL YEAR?! What if I had NONE of the major award winners in ANY of the libraries?!?!?! Luckily, though, I was golden. Granted, not every single library had a copy of every single book but at least we had some libraries holding all of some of the books. You know? Phew! I do have to say – and no description will truly capture it unless you were there – but listening to that enormous audible gasp when Hugo Cabret was announced was awesome, and the wild applause afterward was a thrill. And can I even tell you how pleased I am that Let It Shine got the CSK Award? Well-deserved. Overall, I’m enormously pleased with the award recipients, though there are a few question marks: Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County? Jabberwocky? Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian? And I sure was hoping that Jonathan Bean would get some well-deserved love but, alas, it wasn’t his year. Not to worry because I know his time is coming any year now.
All my gushing aside, it’s damn good to be home and make myself a home-cooked meal for the first time in five days. Even if it was as simple as a salad and a melty camembert grilled cheese sandwich. And pinot noir, of course.