Friday, July 17, 2015

ALA San Francisco 2015 - The Good, The Bad, and, well...

Two weeks ago was ALA time again! This year I was super excited to have it taking place so close to my hometown, just an hour down the road. No plane ride needed, yay! :D (Can you tell I don't like flying much?)

The city was crazy as always, traffic, traffic, construction, and more traffic.  With Pride running right alongside the conference and the morning's Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage, the city itself just seemed alive with a positive, festive hum. It was actually way less crazy and crowded in the city than I expected it to be---I think I was inside the conference when most of the parade stuff was going on.

ALA itself was run a bit different this year.  I'm not sure what the goal of some of the changes was, but as an exhibit-only badge holder, I couldn't help but feel a bit snubbed. First off, ALA always distributes an Aisle by Aisle guide to the exhibits. Publishers put fun coupons and ads in these that you can tear out to get a special giveaway, usually a featured book or bookbag. This year, exhibit-only folks weren't allowed to have these.  This was also the first year exhibit-only peeps were kept out of opening night. Now I can kind of see what they are trying to do with that--letting the first night be exclusively for librarians and library staff (it is a librarian conference, after all!) but there has to be a better way to do to that.  I saw tons of actual library staffers that were exhibit-only get turned away at the door. (Just a note: I did get in---in the rush of the doors opening, they couldn't have checked every badge, and I didn't realize until I was already in that they were stopping people with yellow exhibit badges. Felt so bad for those that did get turned away at the door, though!)

The Moscone center where it all took place is just massive.  There was so much to see. And sooo much walking. One thing that I thought was odd (and this is my last gripe, I swear lol) was that for the first time, the publishers were split between the two huge halls.  Normally, there is a sort of "publishers alley" where all the publisher are in one 5-6 aisle area.  Having them split just made it exhausting and confusing! So much walking back and forth and having to perfectly coordinate to get to each signing. The two halls looked nearly identical, so I swear I kept forgetting which one I was in! My poor brain and feet--both just exhausted at the end of the day!

One of the things that I love about ALA is not only do I get to feed my need for seeing all the lovely new books coming out and hear about publisher faves for the upcoming season, but I get to be the library girl that I am outside of the blog. Being local, it was also cool to go to a library conference and finally see some of my own library's staffers in attendance! I was especially excited to be able to check out and sample the new library catalog system my library is shifting to next year. That change is going to be a bit scary so it was neat to get to play around with the demo! I'm also the mending wiz at my branch so of course I had to check out the latest book-beautifying supplies!

SO enough of my rambling---on to authors and books!
There were some awesome signings again this year!  I feel bad that I didn't take more pics but I did get a few. 

Amy Lukavics signing Daughters Unto Devils:
 Had to show Amy from two angles--her tattoos are awesome! :D Van Gogh on one side, a raven and stars on the other!!

Erin Bow signing
The Scorpion Rules

Anna-Marie McLemore signing
 The Weight of Feathers

Nova Ren Suma signing
The Walls Around Us

Virginia Boeker signing
The Witch Hunter


William Ritter signing
Jackaby & Beastly Bones

Some of my favorites not pictured were Marissa Meyer (I already had Fairest so I just had her sign my bag--see below), Kelley Armstrong (I think I might have been a little too star-struck to remember to get a pic lol,) Dan Santat, and April Tucholke (she is so adorable, she was drawing little slasher stick figures in each book and her and I just giggled the whole time because the guy in front of me didn't get it--also, see sob story below *sniffle* ).  

Below is a fun little thing I started doing this time--got the idea from another attendee who happened to have this same bag! Only my faves got to sign the bag! So far there is Kelley Armstrong, David Levithan, Marissa Meyer, and William Ritter! :D

And finally, there's the books.  I tried to be good and only grab what I really really wanted, but it still ended up being alot. *sigh* ♥-♥
The whole last pile is signed.  There were some really cool titles that I hadn't even heard of before ALA and I am so excited for now, like The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch and Six-Gun Snow White! The new discoveries is what makes ALA so great!

And then there was this lovely thing!  Just a sampler, but it's absolutely gorgeous and makes me so crazy excited for the finished book in October!! The illustrations are so incredible.

So, yea, on Saturday night during dinner, this happened:
Stupid thieves broke into my car and grabbed my friend's backpack and a couple of bags of books.  *SOB*  Funny thing is, we weren't in a bad neighborhood, and a pretty populated one at that, so it still just flabbergasts me that this happened.  Not so funny thing is--I lost some good books---including that adorable signed-by-giggling-April Tucholke copy of Slasher Girls and Monster Boys and my covented copy of The Doldrums.  And I'm sure those jerk thieves were just thrilled when they realized they'd stolen books. Grrr. :( So precious to readers like us, but I seriously doubt they saw any value in them at all.  So so sad.  And, yea...sad about my car, too.  But BOOKS. 

So that's it guys! Another ALA annual gone by! Despite all the weirdness (Oh did I mention the all-gender bathrooms?), and the few negative changes, and my poor car, it was a blast again and so fun to see and meet so many blog friends, publishers, library friends, and authors!  Hope I can make it again next summer to ALA Orlando (in 90 degree-90% humidity- summer...honestly who picks these locations??) and Harry Potter World!


  1. Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry to hear about your car and those books :(

  2. Amber (@ YA Indulgences)July 17, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    Hmm, the exhibit change sounds interesting, but…maybe next year they'll go about organizing that a little better.

    Ooh! That signing your bag idea is so cool!

    Oh no! I can't believe people broke into your car and stole…books. :( That's sad. I wonder what they'll do with the books…But that sucks about your car too, of course!

    All gender bathrooms? Er…what an interesting change.

    I'm glad you had a mostly nice time. :)

  3. Liz @ Planet PrintJuly 17, 2015 at 5:54 PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your car and your things getting stolen! All those books :(. I'm glad you at least managed to enjoy ALA though, despite some of the changes. The books you got look amazing, and I love the signing of the tote bag idea! Very jealous of the Harry Potter sampler as well, I can't wait for that illustrated version!

  4. Thanks, Eileen. Sadly the "smash and grab" theft is a pretty common occurrence in San Francisco. The cops won't even bother coming out for it.

  5. LOL, yea, the all-gender bathrooms caused quite a stir! You should have seen all the librarians taking pictures of the sign explaining the policy. It had nothing to do with ALA, it was the conference center's thing. I appreciate that they are trying to help transgender people feel more comfortable, but personally I don't think they are looking at the bigger picture. For instance, would they feel comfortable with their daughter going into the restroom and seeing some creeper-looking man go in after her? I'm thinking no. But that's just a mom :)

  6. Oh, I can't WAIT to see the whole HP illustrated book. It looks so amazing already. Yup, it was a fun time! And I love the signed bag, too! :) Hope to fill the bag with more fun signatures someday!

  7. Oh damn, I can't believe someone did that to your car! So sorry they stole your books.
    On the plus side, that library card bag with author signatures and the Harry Potter illustrated edition sampler totally made up for it right?? At least, I hope so because those items made me so happy and excited to see!! I hope your overall experience at ALA was good despite the theft and the negative changes at the conference.

  8. Sorry to hear about your car and that really sucks that they stole your books. But you got tons of other books to make up for it. It sounds like it was a lot of fun.

    Grace @ Books of Love

  9. So true! So grateful for the books I did get and had a blast at the conference. I really think what bothered me the most was, not my own loss of the books, but that they probably just tossed them when they realized it was nothing "valuable". So sad to think of that.

  10. Absolutely! I already love my library card bag , but now I love it even more! The authors get a kick out of it, too---David Levithan said, "As long as you don't start charging me library fines!" :D

  11. OH MY GOD. They stole your books? WHAT. SO SO SO MEAN. I could never :'( It would break my heart. Oh. The devils. Grrrrr. You did not deserve that. <3 Okay, shame about the car too, hih, but the BOOKS :( Car can be fixed. Books can not be returned, sad face. Anyway. You are aaadorable. Thank you for sharing this very gorgeous recap Becky :) ALA sounds a bit crazy. But fun too. I'm glad you enjoyed it :) Yay for meeting Marissa Meyer. <3 Love her so much. Sigh. And yaaaaay for all those precious books :D Wishing I could come steal them all, lol :) Happy reading sweet girl. <3 I hope you will love all of these :) And oh my gosh! You got Riders? Dies. I want it so badly. Sigh. It is going to be perfect, I think :)

  12. People stupid enough to break into someone else's car probably don't even read. What idiots! I'm sorry this happened. I hope you get a chance to pick up the books that were stolen thru the publisher or trading.

  13. Lol yes, crazy fun..that's definitely ALA in a nutshell. :D And this one felt crazier than normal. Yes Marissa Meyer is so so talented and so sweet. As much as you do for showing her books love, Carina, I hope you get meet her someday!

  14. Right?? I have this terrible vision of the idiots discovering they'd stolen books and throwing them out of their car window. 😢 Those poor lovely books. I will always have the memories of giggly April T drawing murderous stick figures in her book tho...precious : ) Can't steal those!

  15. Oh Becky, I'm sorry that happened to you. It's sucks that there are people out there like that. I'm glad you made into the conference despite loosing a few books.