Monday, May 16, 2011

Christi's Adventures: NJLA Conference

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I had the privilege of attending the NJLA (New Jersey Library Association) Conference in Long Branch the first week of May, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend both days of the conference. I thought I'd share some of the highlights with you all.

Arrived just in time, registered, and met up with some other librarians in the area (including my very own cosmic twin, Kristie!). The first program we attended was called Cook It, Build It, Play It!, which provided us lots of great craft ideas for tweens and even some Mother-Daughter crafts. Edible art, anyone?

We then saw the fantastic Adriana Trigiani, who was the keynote speaker. I've heard of her, but haven't yet read anything she's written (her YA books are Viola in Reel Life and Viola in the Spotlight). She was absolutely incredible--I could listen to her talk for hours. I had the great fortune of meeting her after her speech--because I was smart and purchased all my books ahead of time, I was able to get right in line. So I didn't miss the next session (others did--there was still a line almost an hour later!). My cosmic twin snapped a picture for me, will update if/when I get it.

The next session we attended was about holding an eight-week teen writing program with a visiting author. It sounded great, but I don't have anywhere near the budget for that. I do have all the information, though, so perhaps I can modify to better suit the needs of my teens. The Cape May County Library ran this program, and their visiting author, Keri Mikulski, was presenting with them. She was signing after this program, so I was able to get a personalized copy of her book, Head Games (#3 in the Pretty Tough series).

Then we had a nice leisurely lunch at, of all places, Stewart's (best root beer ever!). I tell you, I don't get very many opportunities to network with other librarians, so this was one of my favorite parts. My final workshop for the day was about bullying. It was mostly about how to spot bullying; I would liked to have seen more information on how to stop it. But, it is what it is. After that I headed home. It was a long but productive day.

I knew I was going to be late for this second day--but I didn't anticipate the torrential downpours that would make me even later! I carpooled with a co-worker today, and we absolutely missed the entire first session. We arrived with a few minutes to shop and then grabbed seats for the keynote speaker, Marilyn Johnson. She gave a nice speech about the importance of libraries and librarians.

After that we wandered the exhibits and then I jumped in line to meet Jacqueline Woodson! She was the guest at the Garden State Children's Book Awards luncheon, which I was not attending, but she was also signing before and after the luncheon. I asked her to sign my favorite book of hers, Hush:

My coworkers and I chose to attend the Best Graphic Novels of 2010 session next. I don't read a lot of graphic novels, so I found this session particularly educational. After that, well, it was time for lunch! A bunch of us headed over to It's Greek to Me, where we all enjoyed some fantastic food. 

Finally, the event that I'd been waiting for--the Teen Author Spotlight! We didn't want to be late so we went in and grabbed second row seats early (because no one sat in the first row, so essentially we were in the first row after all). Soon enough, it was time for the panel--Barry Lyga (filling in for one double-booked David Levithan), Eireann Corrigan, and Susane Colasanti! The moderator asked them a ton of great questions, and we learned all sorts of interesting tidbits--for instance, Eireann's headmaster reads all of her drafts, while Susane says no one ever reads her drafts. Barry said different people read different things, but his brother always criticizes reads his drafts. We also learned that all three authors have interesting projects in the works--Barry is finishing up, like, 4 projects and working on an epic novel, Eireann is past deadline on a project, and Susane is wrapping up book 6 but already looking ahead to book 7. The authors also shared some quite interesting tidbits about their childhood works of writing. The moderator concluded her section of the Q&A with 10 Questions, one of which was "What is your favorite swear word?" I can't in good conscience repeat Barry's (although it's also my favorite and rhymes with "chuck") or Eireann's (three syllables, starts with "c" and ends with "ucker"), but Susane said she likes "eff," just like that, as her fave. I tell you, it was one of the funniest panels I've ever attended, and definitely one of the highlights of my time at the conference (my actual favorite moment is still to come!).

After the talk the authors agreed to autograph books. I don't have a picture of Barry, but he signed The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy & Goth Girl for me. Then Susane signed Something Like Fate (which is my favorite of hers so far).

Then I went to where Eireann was sitting and handed her my copy of Accomplice to sign. I told her how much I loved it and that I listed it on my "Teens in NJ" booklist. She looked at the post-it for my name and suddenly said "I know you! We're Facebook friends! You wrote a really nice review on your blog!" O. M. G. Eireann Corrigan knows me. She. recognized. me. Um, AWESOME! 

(If you haven't read Accomplice, you really should. It was a great 2010 novel that I think just got overlooked. My review is here, if you're interested.) I also had her sign a copy of her poetic memoir, You Remind Me of You, under the pretense that I might be giving it away, either here or as a summer reading prize. But I'm totally keeping it.

So that was my first professional conference in a nutshell. I had a really great time. But, if I'm this fan girly just over NJLA, what's going to happen at BEA???

Enjoy your reading!

1 comment:

  1. Hi!!! I have got to send those photos over to you-tonight! I haven't pulled my camera out since NJLA. Hanging out with you was the best part of NJLA for me!!!
    Do you think my review of Sharks $ Boys is too spoilery? Is spoilery a word? Maybe I should add a disclaimer....I just thought from the cover, that people knew already. Hmmm.
    PS,I am jealous you have your NJLA recap post up. I hate school.


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