Thursday, April 23, 2015

TLA Recap, Part 2 of 2

TLA was fabulous, of course.  This is the final installment in the TLA recap for 2015.  

Wednesday evening I had a lovely dinner at Parkside Austin put on by Macmillan Publishing.  Their fabulous school & library marketing manager, Katie Halata, is the epitome of graciousness. Authors Jessica Brody, Cecil Castellucci, Kimberly Willis Holt, Jacqueline Kelly, Emmy Laybourne, Jennifer Mathieu, Mary Pearson, Marie Rutkoski, Dan Yaccarino and EugeneYelchin were there.  (I just could swoon all day over this guest list, couldn't you? I mean seriously!!!)

Librarians Sonja & Jeri photobombed by the fabulous author Jessica Brody
Everyone was incredibly lovely and the conversations were lively.  I found myself seated next to Emmy Laybourne and across from Mary Pearson during dinner (again--seriously!!! I pinch myself). Let me just say that Emmy and I bonded like peas & carrots.  She is an absolute delight.  I am currently in the middle of reading a few new books, and her Sweet is one of them.  OH LAWD, but I am captivated by this story! You must rush out and get this book right this second. It was an altogether fantastic evening.

Thursday morning began early with a District 8 business meeting.  I am (was) the outgoing secretary, so it was my moment to take notes.  It really hit me during this meeting how many amazing librarians are out there doing such fantastic things for their patrons.  While few of us will ever receive awards for our work, we show up consistently, working hard to provide a wonderful warm atmosphere for our patrons so they may find & use a wide variety of information.
I LOVE this gig so much, y'all.

I went to some amazing sessions.  YA Historical Fiction, Marketing 101 for Libraries, YA Contemporary Literature, to name a few. I just feel giddy with the fabulous knowledge that now fills my brain after TLA!  :) Seriously amazing authors with such eloquence spoke about topics that are SO important---why diverse books are important and necessary, how to hook kids into reading, etc., as well as great ideas on marketing everything we do for our patrons.

Dinner the final night was an absolute celebration. It was like the very best kinds of dinner parties--the kind with old friends who are both witty and charming without trying too hard.  The kind you feel you can just kick your shoes off and be yourself and laugh over shared experiences. Yes, the folks at Harper Collins are fanflippintastic, and dinner was fabulous.  Author Julie Murphy and I are soul sisters, for real.  The fabulous Patti and I bonded over curly hair products (as we curly girls are prone to do.)  Is anyone on the planet cooler than Alessandra Belzer?  More darling than Molly Motch? I think not! Here are some shots of me with my new BFFs and some lovely flowers from the middle of the table.
we needed a selfie stick! ;)

hot stuff!  
aren't they gorgeous?
The Amazing continued on into Friday morning.  Author and Graphic Novelist Jeff Smith (JEFF SMITH!!!!) spoke in a room filled with caped superhero librarians.
Jeff Smith, author of Bone
And then I wept (WEPT) at the TASL (Texas Association of School Librarians) meeting when the winning Letters for Literature essays were read aloud by the students who wrote them.  All were wonderful, but the young lady that won the high school division had the room mesmerized by the power of her words.  She got a much-deserved standing ovation when she finished.

Oh yeah, and the #txlchat moderators won an award there, too---I am so fortunate to be part of such a great group.  Sharon Gullet, our fearless leader, deserves more accolades than we can talk about in the space of one blog post.  She has been the most wonderful mentor I could have ever dreamed of throughout my library career and I am forever in her debt.

I guess that is just about it.  TLA 2015 was a fantastic time of learning, networking, hanging out with friends both old and new, and recharging my batteries.  I'm completely ready to tackle the final 6 weeks of the school year and finish strong. Bring it on!

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