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Book Expo: Living the Dream

June 1, 2017

My first Book Expo was in 2010. In January of 2012, I started library school, completing my degree in 2015, and starting my first job as a librarian, after having written a book about libraries. All of this recap is basically to say:

The Book Expo was a large part of the reason I went to library school.

And , this year, I am attending as a real, live, actual, practical, public librarian.

I got my badge yesterday. And then I had to take a few minutes to look at it.

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LIBRARIAN.

That’s me!

Now I get to be one of the cool people kicking back in the Librarians Lounge on the show floor, swapping stories about summer reading, arts and crafts, kids in the branch, and collection development.

I’ve been coming to the Book Expo (when it comes to me, missed it in Chicago) since 2010. I love it for the chance to learn about (and get my hands on) new books by favorite authors, and I love it even more for books I hadn’t had on my radar.The Night Circus,  Jackaby and The Scorpion Rules were Book Expo treasures from years past.  I love the chance to see authors I know, whose work I love. It’s such fun to chat with them and realize they’re lovely people too. It’s a chance to connect with out-of-town librarian friends (Hi Kaite from Kansas City.)

I remember thinking, even at my first Book Expo, that the librarians were especially fun to talk to. Welcoming, smart, funny. Great book recommendations, and it was fun to hear about the work they did in the public libraries all over the country. Good people. Wanting to join those conversations more fully, to be part of that group and that work, was a really big part of my decision to go to library school, and my initial dreams about working in a public library.

Today, as at every Book Expo, I got to meet wonderful authors, see some old friends, come home with at least 20 books I didn’t expect, alongside books I’ve been pining for.  More on that as I sift through the three bags of books I hauled home. And the gleeful knowledge that I get to do it again tomorrow.

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Hilary and I are old hands at the Book Expo. Sometimes, she writes on hers, though

I came with high expectations, and high anticipation, buoyed both by past book and author memories, curious about the conversations I’d have and the authors, book marketers and librarians I would talk to. Today wasn’t perfect: there have been some changes in the way Book Expo is organized, that are maddening, confusing, and made me grumpy and prone to ranting. I really don’t like conflicting information, or feeling like things aren’t well organized spatially or logistically, and there were a few moments with author tickets, uncertainty about programming and conflicting information. Feh!

On balance, there was more to love than to dislike.

Today, I got to hang out and eat lunch in the Librarian’s Lounge, one of any number of Librarians, talking about summer reading, kids in the branch, arts and crafts, and collection development, as well as new book finds. Librarian colleagues from my local system, as well as librarians from everywhere from upstate New York to San Diego. I got to say “I’m a public librarian. I work with teens.”

I even got to tell one of my favorite authors,  Daniel José Older, that I am a public librarian, and talk about the sense of neighborhood in his books and in my branch. Mostly coherently. He was very gracious.

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Just to make today even better, I also ran into two former colleagues from my stint as a business books publicist, one of whom has also made a career transition into the public library sphere, and even works in the same system. I spotted a teacher from the college where I’d been an academic librarian, who took a selfie with me and promised to say hi to the librarians there. And it turned out that lunch in the Librarians Lounge was catered by Rowman and Littlefield, the publishers who published my book. So I got to chat with a rep from their office, and hand off one of my new librarian business cards for him to pass along to the book editor with a note from me: “I got my dream job! Thank you!”

And just as I was getting ready to leave, the last person I saw was a former library colleague from my current branch, much missed but much celebrated for the promotion that let her move on. So I got to hug her on the way out.

How’s that for a narrative arc?

I’m surrounded by books and good people. In work, and in life.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 1, 2017 10:05 pm

    What a wonderful, positive post. Congratulations on moving forward into your dream job!

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