Sunday, April 19, 2015

TLA Recap, Part 1 of 2

I look forward every year to attending the Texas Library Association's annual conference. It is truly always a highlight of my year.  A. It comes at a great time--right around my birthday, in fact, so that it feels like a mini-vacation celebrating ME,  B. I connect and reconnect with other bookish folk from all over Texas and lands further out, as well, and C. I come back renewed and excited dragging bags of new books with me! I mean, seriously what's NOT to love about that, right?

For the past few years, my TLA roomie has been one of my very best friends on the planet, fellow bibliophile, and librarian Angie.  Angie and I worked together years ago, and she is now the librarian at my former middle school library.  Here we are looking cute at an event sponsored by one of our book jobbers.  Hey, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it, right?

TLA started off with a bang this year.  I missed out on the Tech Camp pre-conference last year and was determined to make it this year.  Thank goodness they opened the enrollment from about 200 last year to around 600 or so this year!  It was well worth attending.  Honestly, my head was spinning from SO much GREAT information just from Tech Camp alone.  I'm working on ways to incorporate Maker Spaces into my current library situation, as well as thinking about other ways I can incorporate my learning.  I took notes galore--some on my phone, some on paper, as I am an equal opportunity note-taker. I heard Aaron and Colleen Graves, Matthew Winner, Lisa Johnson, and the Tech Chics (Anna Adam & Helen Mowers) all give amazing info that I can take back to my school.  

After Tech Camp, our #TXLchat group met up at our table for the Great Ideas Poster Session.  It was awesome to meet folks in real life that are part of the best PLN on the planet, and to chat up new folks, as well.  I'd like to take this opportunity here & now to invite you to join us every Tuesday night from 8:00-8:30 CST for some great discussions on all things library on Twitter using the hashtag #txlchat.

a few of the #txlchat crew at our poster session!
Tuesday evening was spent at lovely dinner put on by the fine folks at Simon & Schuster. Held at NoVa, a group gathered around the table to celebrate the ever-amazing Laurie Halse Anderson.  I cannot tell you how much I admire her--as an author, and a fellow human on this planet.  She is equal parts brilliant and warm, as were the others gathered there, and the night was fantastic.  I enjoyed catching up with friends old & new, being entertained by stories of the shenanigans of other people's children, and learning about the fabulous Brooklyn Sky-Farm. Hearing Laurie read from her work-in-progress was icing on the cake.  Speaking of icing...the dessert that evening consisted of a homemade fried blueberry cake donut ball rolled in powdered sugar with lavender icing for dipping.  Yes, it was as fabulous as you might imagine.

Wednesday started off with the first General Session of the conference, with author David Baldacci as our keynote speaker.  Awards for Texas library fabulousness were given out, and then David Baldacci took the mic.  He was charming and self-deprecating, and hilarious to boot.  I attended sessions on budgeting for Teen programming and telling your library story through your online presence.  Then I attended the Texas Tea---a meet and greet with YA authors.  Over 50 authors attended, but each table of librarians met approximately 8-10 of them as they rotated through their assigned tables.  I enjoyed meeting the authors, of course and have several new titles on my "to purchase" list for the high school.  

Highlights were chatting with Marie Lu and having another of my weird-but-in-a-good-way moments with another author who shall remain nameless right now.  Now most authors come to the table, give their elevator speeches, pass around their book and a bit of swag and are then ready to chat until the bell rings to change tables. Author Dude skipped the first parts and went straight into the chat portion of events with our side of the table.  He asked, "so do any of you write?"  I said nothing.  Mostly because I have no finished product I would be willing to share.  I don't have a manuscript---I have multiple WIPs and no sign of finishing any of them particularly soon.  My friend Angie, however, pipes up with "she does" and points to me.  

"I KNEW it!" he said.  "So, whatcha working on right now?" 
Then it was my turn to give an elevator speech. He listened and when I finish he looks at me and says something along the lines of  "My agent would love it. I'm serious.  You have a million-dollar idea right there."  

I honestly can't remember his exact words because...well, because duh! I'm gobsmacked and floating above my body. Anyway, he reaches over, grabs a napkin, and writes his email address on it.  He told me to send him my manuscript when I finish and he will forward it to his agent for me. Just another sign to keep on keeping on, right?  I appreciate that the universe sends those my direction every now and again. 

To be continued....


  1. Sonja!!! That's fab-tastic! How exciting!!!!

  2. TLA is always right around my birthday, too. :) Feels like a great big party! Glad you had a good conference.