Library Journal 2016 Video Reviewer of the Year Douglas Rednour, collection support specialist at Georgia State University in Atlanta, made his first appearance at an American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting this January. He has reviewed dozens of horror films for us since mid-2015. How scary could this conference have been? Here’s what he has to say:
“ALA was quite an experience! It was held in Atlanta’s World Congress Center (WCC), which I hadn’t been to since the mid-1980s when I went to my first comic book convention, and it was interesting to see the space from that nostalgic point of view. Unfortunately, Atlanta was experiencing torrential storms that morning, so I got soaked inside a MARTA station on the way in (which as a regular MARTA rider is not something I’ve seen before in all my years of travel)!
Once in the center, it was hard to get the lay of the land. I figured out registration and got my badge, but the first session I was going to would require me perhaps to leave the WCC area to get to it, and I figured that without my swim trunks that might be problematic. So I dove headfirst into the Exhibit Hall. People were hawking wares all over the place. The main floor was filled with the big vendors wheeling and dealing (that’s where my boss spent almost all of her time). Not being in a position to make deals for my library, I found one booth where I could interact more easily with the staff. The Library of Congress area held new sessions on myriad topics every 30 minutes or so. I got information on some of its genealogy resources, as well as one of its internship/training classes.
Then, of course, there were the publishers and the glorious world of books and galleys! Some publishers seemed content to have people look over their upcoming titles, others were selling books, and others were giving them away. It was a variety of approaches with surely numerous goals: making direct connections to librarians who might purchase items for their library after experiencing them firsthand, or hoping a positive buzz for the upcoming publishing season would rub off on people who weren’t there. I mostly just looked, but I did get a superkeen early printing of an upcoming graphic novel, Afar [writer Leila del Duca teams up with artist Kit Seaton for the coming-of-age fantasy to be published in March by Image Comics], and a galley for a new adventure book. I also lucked out with a free vanilla cupcake in celebration of Tundra’s publishing anniversary event—quite a designer cupcake, made of the purest yum! There were author signings with attendant long lines and the mood was one of book loving and friendliness.
I didn’t wind up taking in any of the speaker programs or big events, but I did go to a session on collections that I thought was very helpful. And the ALA store had some great items. For my niece who is set to give birth in about 40 days, I got a baby onesie with the cover of Goodnight Moon emblazoned on it, as well as some other swell knickknacks and cool stuff for family and moi.
Overall, Midwinter was quite memorable. I eventually bucked up the courage to talk to the fine folks at the Library Journal and School Library Journal exhibit and the editor on hand. I can’t imagine what it must be like to work in one of the booths, but that is probably a different kind of fun.”