Last weekend I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend the American Library Association Annual Conference. I’ve been wrestling all week with how to best reflect on a truly magical weekend. My first thought was to chat about it during my Newbery Challenge video yesterday. That didn’t really make sense, since in those videos I chat with Mr. Schu, and since he was at the conference I didn’t think he needed a recap. My second thought was to do a top 10 post, but that post turned into a giant name dropping party. I didn’t want to come across as “that guy”.
I’ve settled on writing a good old fashion paragraphed blog post.
A few years ago I attended the Michigan Reading Conference. I spend the weekend attending great sessions put on by amazing presenters. After one session would end, I would stick my headphones in my ears head to the next session. When I got to the next session I would sit in the back with my headphones in until the session started. I wasn’t at these conferences to make and build relationships. For me, these conferences were solely about taking in what the presenter was dishing out. Your traditional “sit ‘n get”.
Fast forward to ALA 2013, and my conference experience is totally different. I no longer sit in the back with pop music in my ears. Now I sit in the front at a table, or in a row, with my friends. Well, at ALA I didn’t really go to any sessions, but hopefully you get the point. The conference experience is for me is now all about the relationships.
The Nerdy Book Club has sort of become the identity, and maybe the face of this community that I get so much out of both at home and at conferences. Nerdy Book Club isn’t about a blog and it certainly isn’t the 3 people that make sure the website runs smoothly. In my opinion the Nerdy Book Club is a movement. It is a group of people that care deeply about getting books in the hands of readers. It is a community of people that don’t have time for negative reviews, when we know that the books we bless are the books that the young readers in our lives will read.
I spent the entire weekend at ALA chatting with my Nerdy Book Club friends, getting to know new Nerdy Book Club friends, and promoting the Nerdy Book Club movement. The names of the authors, illustrators, editors, publicist, librarians, teachers isn’t important. What is important is what we discussed. We discussed young readers and great books. We talked about this amazing community that so many of us are choosing to be a part of. We pushed the movement forward.
It was all very Nerdy.