The American Library Association Midwinter Meetings are considered the business meetings of the year- this is when the award and bibliography committees meet to discuss (sometimes extremely heatedly), crown their winners and create their lists. Executive committees are always in session, and planning for the Annual Convention, where most of the training sessions occur, is finalized as well.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a LOT going on for anyone not attached to a committee, however. From the exhibits floor and authors to pop out sessions and discussion groups and more, there is a LOT going on outside of committee work.
I tend to over-schedule myself and then when I get to conference pare back once I figure out how far away things are and how I feel; I have committee responsibilities, and then get extremely excited about everything else going on. I’ve learned, however, to go into Midwinter with a few things that I HAVE to hit; otherwise I get scattered, and when it’s over I think, “Why didn’t I do that?!?!?!”
My wishlist of things to hit this year are:
- Author Events: I am a signed book junkie and an author fangirl, and some of my favorite authors are going to be at Midwinter. This includes Sara Farizan (If You Could Be Mine, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel), Jacqueline Carey (Agent of Hel series), Sharon Draper, Adam Selzer (who’s here for his amazing Ghosts of… series but if you haven’t read his young adult books come find me and I will convert you), and Ilsa J. Bick (White Space).
- Auditorium Speaker LeVar Burton: I love that ALA is having the Auditorium Speaker series at Midwinter like they have been been at Annual- I have been going to Midwinter for committee work since 2004, and it hasn’t always been the case. I am definitely hoping to be able to hear this- if you are as well, get in line EARLY, because I’m betting it’ll be packed.
- Book Buzz Theaters: The publishers are showcasing their newest books, and you can’t help but get excited about it. I know there are times when I just can’t get online to their webinars, or search every catalog online, and getting this knowledge helps me build my collection.
- YA Smackdown at the Uncommons: The Uncommons has really grown from an informal place for people to meet to a takeover place for programs and discussions. Storytime Underground has done some really intense sessions showcasing their Guerrilla Storytimes, and they are wonderful at it. They’re doing it again this year, and Amber Creger and Evan Mather from the Arlington (IL) Public Library are going to be showcasing their YA Smackdown at Saturday and Sunday. I’m completely hooked on the idea, and as part of the TSU Team I am hitting up a session to see what it’s all about.
And that’s not including the exhibits and my committee meetings, and socials, friends, and other things!
Are you headed for Chicago? What are your must-dos and want-to-sees? Share in the comments!