Saturday, July 6, 2013

Taking It All In

I was really looking forward to ALA! In fact, I made posts on Twitter and Facebook about how excited I was. I mentioned my excitement to my husband and he said, "What about Book of Mormon?" (Which we were seeing that weekend.) Um, oops? ;) (Book of Mormon was great, in case you were wondering.) I went prepared with a list of exhibitor booths that I wanted to stop at. I made a list of the authors that I so hoped to squeeze time in to have them sign a book for me. I was excited about free books and swag. What happened when I stepped onto the exhibitor floor? I was overwhelmed. I wanted to go everywhere at once and was disappointed that I didn't have more time. Most importantly, I felt like I belonged.

Amanda and I visited countless booths and I am still processing the day but I'll share my most memorable moments:
  • I may or may not have taken a picture of Ethan Long, author of Up, Tall and High! without him knowing.
  • Amanda and I waited in line to meet Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, author and illustrator of Extra Yarn, respectively. Jon Klassen is also the author and illustrator of the 2013 Caldecott winning picture book This Is Not My Hat. Talk about being star struck! We both had our books signed and we had a good laugh with Jon and Mac. We walked away with smiles across our faces and red cheeks hoping we just didn't embarass ourselves too much. (Sorry Amanda!)
  • Exhibitors announcing free books or even better, free, authographed by the author books? Yes, please! I also managed to snag some cool buttons and pins and of course, pens.
  • Visiting the Evanced area and seeing a demo of both Spaces and Sign-up. Wow! What a remarkable difference on both the staff and patrons' side. If I could quickly sum-up the difference between the old and new platforms, it would be that it seemed as though the old Evanced was really just a beta and the new Evanced is what you would expect to see from a company that is looking to be considered innovative. In Sign-up, you can create templates so you don't have to copy and paste your information every time you're creating a new event, which will help immensely with entering the storytimes. You can even embed videos, which I think would be great to use for promoting performers. I was also intrigued by Dibs! which uses a QR code which you post outside study rooms in the library so patrons can scan them with their smart phones and tablets and reserve a study room. They could even do it from home. I know that is something that I would use when going to a library to do homework!
  • Findaway World, creators of the Playaway Views that have been so popular with our patrons, also make Playaway bookpacks, which are kits that offer collections of books on audio all in one player. Patti selects our kits and she was excited to hear that I grabbed information for her.
At the end of the day, I was so happy that I was able to attend. I've been working in a public library for over 2.5 years now and I just passed my 1 year mark at La Grange Public Library. Each day brings something new for me to get excited about. When I went to ALA, I was given countless things to get excited about, including being surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of people just like me that love their job and are excited to see the future of libraries where innovation and the bringing together of the communtiy meet to offer services that librarians in the field 25 years ago could probably never imagine.

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity,

Rachael Dabkey


  1. I agree that the new Evanced looked fantastic, and that the Playaways offered as kits are pretty neat!

    Oh, and you totally took a creeper picture of Ethan Long!
    : P

  2. I forgot that you can embed videos in SignUp, which could be a great marketing tool. I am also excited about the template feature that will save us time, and I now remember they talked about a payment system which could be beneficial for our babysitting clinic registration.

    Glad to hear you had such a great time! I really want to see the Book of Mormon! I hope I find time to go before it is gone.

  3. It sounds like you had a great experience, Rachael. First and foremost, I’m jealous that you met Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen! Secondly, the new Evanced sounds much improved; embedding videos into events would be a simple way to promote programs visually. And I didn’t know Playaway Views were so popular with our patrons. Good to know.