ALA How To Guide

With BookCon/BEA and ALA coming up. Ok Bookcon and BEA are already happening and I am not even there. I have serious jealousy for everyone who gets to experience that wonderful chaos. But I am getting excited for ALA in a few short weeks. With that I wanted to give some ideas for how to go about attending ALA since it is something completely different than a con.


What to Wear

First up you want to pack for ALA. So what should you bring? First off it is going to be quite hot in June in DC. That means it could be anywhere from the 70s – 90s.

Secondly this is more of a professional conference. Most people are there in a professional capacity. Librarians, teachers, and publishing professionals. So it is probably best to dress business casual.
– Sundresses that are longer do work
– Black jeans/black pants
– Dressy tshirts, tank tops
– No holes in jeans, or scruffy wear.
The people working there can tell if you aren’t being professional and may not interact with you as much as if you were more professionally dressed. That doesn’t mean you have to buy a whole new wardrobe! Just look for things you would wear to a dinner out.


Walking Around

So now that we know what to wear how about walking around. Here are some ideas of what to bring into the conference.

DO Bring
– Business Cards
– Totes to carry books
– Water or money to buy one
– Comfy shoes!

Dont Bring
– Rolling bags ( unless you have a dr note or check them at the door)


The Conference Floor

You have your business professional or better dressed look, your business cards and tote. Now what!?

Alright so ALA Annual is a huge conference and the floor is gigantic. So it is best to not try to rush through to get to everything. A big difference between normal cons and ALA is that this is about getting books in professionals hands. So there will be all types of books and swag everywhere. Most of the time you can just grab from the pile of ARCs. Just don’t get crazy. You really don’t want to be lugging around 30 books and then find more you are interested in. Pick up ones you really wish to read and leave the rest for others. Grabbing doubles isn’t great either. Think professionally and not with your grabby want hands. I admit I had a tough time the first time I went to an ALA. I saw, I grabbed, and I ended up only reading about 50% of what I took. This time I will be better about not taking everything.
The same goes for swag. It will be everywhere and just up for grabs. So take what you wish but don’t take a whole bunch and save some for others.

Now if you are looking for a particular ARC to review for your blog, bookstagram, or other media you can always ask the people working that booth. They might be able to bring one out for you. The booths will also change out what they are offering every so often. There will also be author signings, free copies of FC, and other fun things happening.


Do you have anything else to add to this! Let me know. I know its not a full comprehensive look at ALA but it is a start. I hope to add to this before the conference. So let me know if you have any tips or tricks.

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