“Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ALA National Conference

Night of the Living Librarians
2010 Pitt Book Cart Drill Team

Our Gold Winning Book Cart

Skeletons From the Danse Macrabe,
Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

Children's Authors & MC's Mo Willems & Jon Scieszka

Two weeks before my final graduate school weekend at Pitt, I attended my first ALA National Conference. I was lucky that it was held just a few hours drive away in Washington, DC. I had already attended both PALA and PSLA in October and March and was expecting a similar level of excitement. Little did I know just how overwhelming the national conference would prove to be! It was unbelievable how much was packed into one conference. I had fortunately signed up for a fabulous pre-conference workshop presented by children's book artists. It was on a much smaller scale and the discussions and contact with illustrators was terrific. My favorite illustrator was Timothy Basil Ehring who did the illustrations for Kate DiCamillo's Tale of Despereaux and his own book (a personal favorite), Frog Belly Rat Bone, as well as numerous others. He did an illustrated Dr. Frankenstein's Diary that looks as if the Dr. himself wrote it.

Frog Belly Rat Bone

The rest of the conference was a whirlwind as I tried to cram in as much as possible. For most true bibliophiles, meeting excellent authors is akin to having rockstar moments and I had many at ALA. I met Salmon Rushdie, MT Anderson, John Green, Libba Bray, Marlo Thomas, this year's Newberry and Caldecott winners Jerry Pinckney and Rebecca Stead, Jon Selcznick, and so many other amazing people. I came home with 50 signed books!

Adding to the rockstar moments, our Pitt Book Cart Drill Team came in first place for our interpretation of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book using book carts, the music Danse Macrabe and voice over from his reading of the book on CD where he describes the dance. Our captain Sherri got permission from Mr. Gaiman ahead of time to use the book and his recording and he did send us an official congratulations on winning via e-mail! I hope to one day meet Neil Gaiman in person. It will truly be one of those author meetings to remember for me!

Night of the Living Librarians; 2010 Pitt Book Cart Drill Team at ALA

No comments: