Alice Walker Wore Purple | ALA 2013

The World Will Follow Joy

Alice Walker wore purple.
It was not the last official day of the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago, but the McCormick Center’s auditorium had a kind of concluding air about it. (Perhaps it was the number of librarians carting luggage up and down the halls.) Eva Poole, President of the Public Library Association (PLA), introduced Monday’s midmorning speaker. The audience settled into its seats.
When she arrived at the podium, she sighed. “I’m so glad to see you.”

Readers’ Advisory Panels Look at Genre and Marketing | ALA 2013

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)-sponsored panel, “Beyond Genre: Exploring the Perception, Uses, and Misuses of Genre by Readers, Writers, and Librarians” attracts a large crowd, eager for discussion.

“Whose Table?”: On Libraries and Race | ALA 2013

Todd Honma

Sunday morning’s “In Visibility: Race and Libraries” was a crash course in sociology and libraries, taught by Todd Homna, assistant professor of Asian American Studies at Pitzer College and a former ALA Spectrum Scholar. Sponsored by ALA’s Office for Diversity and the Spectrum Scholars Program, asked the question: “Where do we locate race in relation to librarianship?”

Illusion and Empathy in Science Fiction | ALA 2013

“The mixing of factual and counterfactual is not singular to sci fi and fantasy,” Timothy Zahn (“Thrawn Trilogy”) began. Zahn and Brandon Sanderson (“Mistborn”), Cory Doctorow (Homeland), David Brin (“Uplift”), Elizabeth Bear (Shattered Pillars), and John Scalzi (“Old Man’s War”) were charged with talking about the probable and improbable in science fiction (and, to a certain extent, in fantasy too). Organized by the Library and Information Technology Association and with help from Tor, the Saturday, June 28 panel was packed.

International Crime Month Winds Down at ALA 2013

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For lovers of international crime fiction, June has been busting out all over with a series of readings, panels, and discussions sponsored by  four indie publishers  and featuring such rising stars as Britain’s Mark Billingham, Austria’s Wolf Haas, Australia’s Zane Lovitt, and Nigeria’s .Bayo Ojikutu. Kicked off at the end of May with events at […]

The Library Is Open: A Look at Librarians and Tumblr

The Library Is Open

What makes library Tumblrs different from your run-of-the-mill library blogs is that they can take advantage of a built-in community with built-in readers. If a Wordpress or Blogspot blog is an island, Tumblr blogs are a city. Many librarians were initially attracted to Tumblr for the same reasons nonlibrarians were—ease of use, social features, the cool factor. But, once they arrived, they began to run into each other, then to talk to with one another, and finally to understand themselves as a community. The portmanteau Tumblarians—meaning “Tumblr librarians”—was coined and a subculture born.

Debut Authors Discuss Authenticity and Research at ALA Midwinter

Wash

The January 26 Association of American Publisher’s (AAP) Debut Author Panel, which featured novelists published by Riverhead, Atlantic Monthly, Norton, and William Morrow, gave four writers an opportunity to talk about how their first books began and how they got to market. Dina Nayeri, Margaret Wrinkle, Sean Pidgeon, and Tara Conklin spoke at length on […]

Reference News from the Show | ALA Midwinter 2013

DARE

As usual, ALA was a whirlwind of panels, book buzzes, parties, and my favorite—meeting librarians in the inevitable lines for food and bathrooms (will the conference centers ever figure this out?). The best fun was at the AAP Library Family Feud, where librarians took on authors about such burning questions as what 100 librarians said […]

Librarians & Authors Battle for Trivial Laurels

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After sitting through many a Powerpoint slide show of upcoming titles, I was almost giddy (or was that the Seattle coffee?) to attend the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Library Family Feud program on Sunday afternoon. Hosted by the voluble (and veteran) quizmaster Chris Vaccari of Sterling Publishing—who hosts a Wednesday quiz night in Manhattan—the Feud pitted […]

ALA Midwinter: A Modest Notable Books Proposal

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Don’t kid yourself; the life of an editor is not all glamor. Sunday evening, I had to leave a HarperCollins dinner early with my dinner in a bag, abandoning an interesting table conversation about the realignment of Barnes & Nobles with the independents, the difficulty of planning book talks at libraries in the brave new […]