Heading to ALA Midwinter in Seattle this week? I’m having a mild panic attack about how much I need to get done beforehand and how much I need to get organized before hopping on a plane super early on Thursday (yes, I am one of those people who takes the 6 am flight all the time). I’m really excited about going and I’m maybe more excited this year as I get to see how the committee I’m an admin to chooses their final list of best books.
Like one of my roommates, Liz, I’ve been planning out what it is I want to do with my somewhat limited free time. With as many meetings going on as there are, it’s hard to pick and choose. Maybe even harder is picking out just where to dine during free time, too. For someone who lives in a food desert, having access to a variety of really great-sounding eateries is beyond exciting (and a little overwhelming).
After an afternoon of committee meetings on Friday, I think I’ll brave the exhibit hall when it opens. In looking at my schedule, it appears the only real free time I have to do this is then. I’m not going to lie — this makes me nervous and anxious, but I do love the fact it is one of the few times at ALA where I get the chance to see people I want to see at the same time. After the exhibits close, of course I’ll be attending the YA Blogger Meetup I’m co-hosting with YA Highway.
Saturday is more meetings, but they’re all during the middle part of the day. I’m hoping to make it to a YALSA Board Meeting for a while. After reading the board docs, I’m especially interested in the discussion of the Mega Issue of renaming the organization, the idea of folding Fab Films and Reader’s Choice lists, and maybe even more than all else, I’m curious to see how YALSA’s Board addresses the issues raised in the member survey. Take a while to read those docs linked above because it’s fascinating, especially the member feedback regarding their locked down award and selection lists (the member survey allowed members to write in responses, and the bulk are about this issue). On deck for Saturday is a luncheon where Lenore is the guest of honor (!) and a dinner event.
I have a shorter committee meeting slot on Sunday morning, which is great because I think I’ll need the downtime before the BFYA Teen Feedback session. If you haven’t attended this but love YA books, I think it’s one of the most fascinating (and brutal) meetings. Local teens come and talk about the books being considered for this list — and they aren’t afraid to tell you what they really think. I didn’t get to attend in person at Annual, so I’m really excited I don’t have meetings and can go. The evening has an event I plan on attending, too.
Then Monday! My favorite day! At the bright hour of 8 am Pacific Time (which is great for my Central Time mind) are the Youth Media Awards. I got to attend last year in person for the first time and it was such a great event. I’m looking forward to it maybe even more this year knowing how hard some of my friends have worked on these award and selection committees. There’s something even more special about knowing the folks who are making these tough decisions through the year. And after that? I’m looking forward to a business lunch and then an afternoon of downtime. Downtime!
Are you heading to Seattle? What are your plans? Anything you’re looking forward to?
Kelly Jensen is a former librarian turned editor for Book Riot. She's the author of IT HAPPENS: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader and the forthcoming Feminism For The Real World (Algonquin Young Readers, Spring 2017).