Let’s hear it for the packed sessions at the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia: Program-Palooza, the Unconference, Reports of Reference Death May Bet Exaggerated, and LJ-driven panels like Making Business Intelligence Work for Libraries and Library of the Year Pow-Wow, not to mention programming on everything from enhancing your website to building better community relations. While I’m at it, I’ll put a word in for the panel I was honored to have introduced: Meet This Season’s Best in Debut Authors. The panel featured four great authors (see Making Moral Choices, below), all poised to do well and all with general-interest titles, expanding beyond the genre feel of much of PLA’s book programming.
Obviously, there was a hunger for such storytelling. Some 200 librarians flocked the hall, and half an hour after the panel ended, as I was taking my final leave, people were still lined up to get their books signed. Tellingly, when asked whether they have ever considered self-publishing, all the authors countered by praising the editorial, marketing, and design support their publishers had offered, interesting feedback as we eagerly anticipate all the publishing options in this brave new world. We’ll still see the continued exploration of alternate ways to get books out to readers, but it’s worth remembering that in tumultuously changing times, some things aren’t changing so fast.