Hello! I got the great experience of being able to attend ALA in Seattle this year. It wasn’t just as a blogger but as a professional. And as a first time attendee I have so many thoughts. So here is a post about my experience and some thoughts for others who want to attend in the future.
First things first. I was there as both a professional and a blogger. Meaning I got to talk shop while also picking up some ARCs. I know there has been a lot of twitter talk about professionalism. For picking up more books than necessary or taking them from professionals. I can say that everyone I saw was absolutely wonderful and polite. I got to speak to so many librarians, teachers, and professionals and it was enlightening. I had never been to one of these before and while I had to pay my own way it was still worth it.
I ended up with so many ARCs I don’t know how I will be able to read them all. It wasn’t because I ran around grabbing willy nilly (haha) but more of me talking to each person and getting recommendations for both work and blogging. I plan on reading them all, hopefully before they come out, and then passing them along to others. Be that through giveaways, trades, or donations to local schools/libraries.
Here is where it gets fun. I did have someone comment that as a blogger I should leave the books/swag to librarians. It was while I was reading about MG/YA books and asked if they had one in particular that would be good for my job. I was polite and just smiled and thanked them for their input. But really, please do not judge people by what they look like. I was dressed in business casual, had my business cards, and was talking shop. Just because I look young does NOT mean that I do not have a job/other interests besides blogging. So if you are ever at one of these politely ask what they do in a conversational tone, not condescending, and then bow out if you are in the wrong.
- Dress to impress!
- That means business clothes. While jeans are fine make sure they are hole free. Your top should be something you would wear to work. Not a slogan or sweatshirt. People will be nicer if you look the part
- BRING BAGS.
- I went in thinking I would pick up about 5 books and do my networking. Instead I came home with so many amazing books. Flat bottom bags are the best and there will be ones given out by people there.
- Talk to people.
- This seems obvious. The people there are there to talk to you. They want to talk shop, connect, and recommend. It is why they have all of the stuff. So take the time to stop and network with them.
- Be patient and kind
- When asking for a book or waiting in line for a signing don’t complain. Be kind. It is hard work for everyone there. Politeness will get you everywhere.
- Authors are just as big of fans as you are!
Overall I had such an amazing time that I cannot wait to attend my next conference be it as a blogger or for work.
Have you ever gone to one? I plan to try to make it to YALL west which will be a completely different experience but exciting none the less.