ALA Annual 2011 New Orleans Recap – Part 2

Part 2 of my experience at ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans. Part 1 can be found here. One thing I forgot about Saturday: I ended up at the cooking stage in the exhibit hall and was able to see Kevin Zraly speak about wine and wine tasting.

He was very entertaining and educational without being any sort of wine-snob. I loved it! One thing he said that I found interesting: 90% of all wine is drunk by 10% of the population. They ran out of his books so the publisher said she would send me one. I hope she follows through!


I headed over to the YA Author Coffee Klatch. This is the second time I attended this event, and I have mixed feelings on whether I will continue to do so. It often seems like an awkward audition the author is performing for us, even when the author is someone much beloved like Maureen Johnson. I do like that it gives us librarians an opportunity to hear about an author’s upcoming release, or even be introduced to new authors. It’s just…awkward. The authors that visited our table include: Leila Sales, Paul Volponi, Cynthia Liu, Alden Bell (AKA Joshua Gaylord), and

Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler:

Sarah Dessen:

Maureen Johnson:

Next up on my agenda: the Beekman Boys! I haven’t had a chance to blog about my love for the Beekman Boys, but I will. If you aren’t aware of who they are, they are Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, two guys from NYC who bought a mansion/farm in upstate New York. A lot of goats live there, and they help Farmer John care for them and use the goat milk to make products they sell. They are an adorable couple who have been together for 10+ years, and have been doing a show on Planet Green for two seasons now. They have a cookbook coming out later this year, which is why they came to ALA.

They spoke a bit, and mentioned that Josh had proposed to Brent via text message that Friday night with the gay marriage vote was being taken in New York. Brent had not accepted or declined as of that Sunday.

After answering audience questions, everyone hustled in to line to try to score an advanced copy of the cookbook, signed by both guys. They also had their famous Blaak cheese on hand to taste (over 4,000 names are on the waiting list!) in addition to the onion jam and rosemary honey. I did not taste the jam as I abhor onions, but I had some cheese and honey:

and both were delicious! I really loved the honey and want to order some once I decide if I will really use it. I was also able to get a signed cookbook from the two gentlemen.

I love them.

I was hungry for some lunch after that, so I decided to try Sun Ray Grill. The food was decent but the service was terrible. I posted a more detailed review on Yelp, so that’s enough about that.

After lunch, I attended the session “Teens Reading Digitally: Going Handheld and Mobile.” It was interesting, and I came away with more food for thought, but, again, I thought too much time was given to an author to discuss their work.

Next on the schedule was the Teen Services Mash-Up. I really liked the idea of it, especially because it allowed presenters to have fresh content. One weakness with ALA sessions is that proposals are due something like a year or so before the conference. This sometimes leads to sessions that are just re-hashing what has already been said in the community but not offering new input. The Mash-Up was put together in less than a year (exact dates are unknown to me) and I thought presenters featured content that wasn’t discussed elsewhere.

There were 16 tables, and you received a brochure with brief descriptions when you entered. Before we began, each presenter was given 30 seconds to “sell” themselves. We then were given 20 minutes at four different tables of our choosing to listen to presenters. My first stop was Sarah and Kelly‘s presentation on contemporary YA lit, aka “Filthy Rotten Grief-Stricken Sex (and What to Do if You’re Too Deaf to Hear It).” I really appreciated this talk because it was a response to the avalanche of paranormal/fantasy that has been coming down the YA lit publishing hill. They had a great handout with a list of different titles and the topics addressed, and I came away with some ideas of books I need to purchase for my school and knowledge about books I was aware of but hadn’t read.

My one complaint about the Mash-Up was that things were a mix of public and school libraries, and some people were really only focused on one. The next table I visited was centered on serving teens with special needs. This is an area I lack experience in, so I thought it would be a great way to get some ideas to take back to my school. It was interesting, but only focused on public libraries and programming, not anything that can help me in my teaching. I think in the brochure or the 30 second sell, the presenters should have had to say if they were be focusing on public or school libraries, or if they thought their info was for all (like the contemp lit was). In larger sessions, I feel okay with walking out if I’m not getting anything out of the presentation, but at small tables of eight or less people, I didn’t feel comfortable excusing myself to find another table.

After that disappointment, I visited “Teaching Digital Citizenship” which I knew from the description would focus on school libraries. Dr. Lesley Farmer was the presenter, and she made sure to have bookmarks with her websites for us: ECitizenship and K-12 Digital Citizenship. I think our current education system is not concerned with teaching students about the importance of their internet presence and being digitally responsible. Dr. Farmer had a lot of good things to say and I have a lot of notes to look over while exploring her two sites.

We had time for one more table visit, but I had dinner plans and needed to go, so I grabbed handouts from other tables on QR codes and graphic novels and headed to my hotel.

I met up with Kelly, Tiffany, Katie, Andrea (and someone else whom I have forgotten – I’m sorry!) for dinner at Domenica. Oh wow, was this place good. Our waiter, Tyler, was adorable and prompt and good with the recommendations. I had the Pizza Enzo with anchovies, garlic, and mortadella. WOW! Everyone seemed very happy with their food. I passed on dessert for another glass of wine, but the desserts looked awesome, too. Definitely recommend this place if you are ever in New Orleans.

Sunday was a long day, so my bed was calling after that awesome meal.

Stay tuned for Monday, the last real day of the conference, and Tuesday and Wednesday, the days I played tourist!



Filed under Libraries, Life

2 responses to “ALA Annual 2011 New Orleans Recap – Part 2

  1. Pingback: ALA Annual 2011 New Orleans Recap – Part 3 | Dog-eared and Well-read

  2. Pingback: Hello There, Dear Blog | Dog-eared and Well-read

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