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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Well, That Happened

This past week’s online conversation (via Twitter, blog posts, comments) has centered around ALA, it’s Exhibit Hall pricing and admissions policy, ARCs, and, well, a whole bunch of things.

I was tempted not to post about it because it  has reached some complex levels, with multiple different arguments going on at the same time and, alas, sometimes statements being taken out of context. Kelly Jensen of Stacked blogged about it at The ARC Stops Here. If you’re scratching your head going “what”, please, read Kelly’s post even though it is long. Two entwined  yet different questions are raised, per my reading: is ALA Exhibits public or not? And if public, does the current fee and attendance structure work in a way that is best for ALA and its members? It looks to me like a fee structure used to encourage attendance by locals who otherwise could not afford to go is now being used by others who see this as a way to have access to exhibitors (specifically, publishers) so travel to Annual just for that exhibit pass. (Some of the people who do this are local; others fly or drive in, get hotel rooms, etc.)

If you’re wondering, why would a non-librarian/library staff member go to ALA, here’s the answer: there are people who are passionate about books and reading, see libraries as being part of that, and attend. Also, the publishers. Sometimes, they are teachers. Or booksellers. Or book bloggers. (As an aside, any of these people can join ALA as Associate Members, and also join Divisions, etc..) Actually, not as an aside: I LOVE that people appreciate what ALA does to the extent that they become members. In case Kelly’s post wasn’t clear, I’ll be clear: when Kelly then begins to talk about public access to the Exhibits, she is not talking about members, whether individual or associate or whatever. In case you’re wondering, the exhibit hall pass is one size fits all: one price, four days, doesn’t matter whether you’re member or not. Unlike other organizations (or, indeed, full conference registration) there is no difference between member or not for cost; and unlike other organizations, there is no structure about who attends what day, etc.

So. Discussion, good, right? Maybe this is an ALA loophole. Or maybe it’s what ALA wants. If it’s a loophole, address it, keeping in mind some now expect it. If it’s not, figure out what to do about the people attending who are unaffiliated with ALA or its typical target audience (library staff). Do those attendees know about the Associate Member rate? What encouragement are they given to join? What resources have been geared towards them attending?

Why resources matter: if you’re even a casual reader of book blogs, before any conference you see helpful posts from book bloggers (librarians and non-librarians) about conference attendance, tips and etiquette. They go from the ever popular comfortable shoes to “don’t push” (don’t ask). If ALA is looking at book bloggers as potential attendees, they may want to do something similar. (Tho I also think that anyone who goes to their first conference gets a bit swept away by it all and ends up with “too many books”.)

Because this — exhibit floor behavior — gets into the reason this even came up. The “ALA Book Haul” posts / videos going up within days of ALA. Some had fairly extensive lists of what items had been picked up. Kelly goes into this in more detail at her post. (I’m pretty sure that no one has posted, this time, about proudly pushing others away).

This is where it gets messy, as any talk of ARCs does. (Yep, the posts sometimes say “book” even though we all know an ARC is not a book.) So, in true blogger fashion, I’m using that as a bit of a springboard to two ARC related questions I have for you. In reading various reactions to this online, I saw two things that puzzled me and so throw it out to you to answer or mull over. And, sorry book bloggers, but the questions I have are more for librarians. You’ll see in a second, but if you do have an opinion/insight, please share.

One, whether or not librarians use ARCs as part of their jobs. I imagine some, such as academic librarians, may not, depending on their specialty. As a youth services librarian, my short list of how ARCS are part of my professional toolbox include collection development, readers advisory, booktalks, developing literacy, programs — and that’s just a quick, broad list. So, do you use ARCs as part of your job? Is it of value to you as a professional?

The second is how easy it is for librarians to “get” ARCs. I put “get” in quotes because it’s not like going to the ARC store. Some books have huge marketing campaigns and there are tons of ARCs to go around; others do not, so the supply is more limited. “Get” sounds a bit cold, because what I’ve found, at least, is that it involves communications with the staff of the publishers that is anything but cold. It’s not “gimme gimme gimme.” It’s a discussion on what books one likes, or doesn’t; what your teens are reading; what they want to read. I’ve found that face-to-face at conference is the best place for that discussion, because I may ask about the “big” ARC everyone knows about but as we talk and the publisher rep hears what I like they’ll pull out ARCs for books I didn’t know about. Seeing those copies in person, even though they are not the final book, allows me to flip through pages and read random passages to determine “yes” or “no.”

Where’s my question. Right. So, one of the things I’ve seen is that librarians don’t have to do this face to face. All they have to do is email or call publishers to get ARCs and it’s easy. Is it that easy for you? For me, it is only that “easy” because I have an established book blog backing up my request. So, that doesn’t count because it’s not the librarian hat making the call. Going back in time to before 2005: no. It wasn’t that easy. Getting ARCs meant being lucky enough to see an announcement on a listserv or having a friend willing to pass one along.

So, those are my weekend questions for you: do you use ARCs? Are they only a phone call or email away?

Now I’m off to boil water to brush my teeth. Don’t ask.

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Good post, Liz. After I look through ARCs, I set them aside for our summer reading program prizes (after participants log their books for the week, they spin our prize wheel–if they land on silver, they can pick a book. Teens don’t have a prize wheel–they are free to pick a book or another prize).

    You made a good point about talking to the folks standing behind the display tables. Not only is this a good way to get more information about certain books–it’s also plain good manners, IMO. You don’t need to get into a lengthy conversation (and with several people actually wanting to speak to the representatives, it’s not likely), but I think it’s decent to at least tell the person who’s standing on his/her feet for several hours “Thank you” after picking up several ARCs.

  2. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Jennifer, I think that using ARCs with teens like that also helps them understand the publishing process so it’s both fun and increases their knowledge.

    Thank you: yes. I totally agree.

  3. I notice some publishers actually flinching at the word blogger. While I was looking at the prouder range of titles displayed behind the front tables, I saw some people rush up to grab ARC’s and announce “I’m a blogger so I need this.” It made me not to quick to do the same at booths. For some booths, I would point to titles on their back displays that I had recently blogged about and I asked them if they had read the post. If not, I left the web address, took their business card, and mentioned that I’d be happy to notify them in the future of reviews. Perhaps this is where I’m weakest as a blogger in going back to the emails. So, I decided to hire my son’s girlfriend to help me type in my blogging database (as soon as she moves here from North Carolina). I work hard to keep track of ARC’s and books received because I want to be accountable. I also donate my ARC’s to students and to other teachers to read who are looking for new titles to purchase for classroom sets in libraries. I send titles up to the high schools for disbursement and give many as prizes. I also give presentations and may give away an ARC there with the reminder that it is not to be put in the library collection, but if they like it they could order the finished product. At ALA the local people who attend exhibits are important for the exhibitors and it also tells the organization which areas are popular. One trend I saw is exhibitors and vendors providing free exhibit passes in the week before conference. Hopefully when they come for the first time, they’ll see great programs and want to attend the full conference. Perhaps we could do a vendor/exhibitor program on the stage just for those bloggers in the future and let them know how important membership and full attendance is.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I have to admit I’ve never really noticed the ARC issue at conferences, but I generally go through the exhibit floor in a haze of intense concentration and rigid discomfort (I really hate crowds) plus I rarely review young adult and it seems like most of the brouhaha centers around those books. Anyhow – I’ve always shared the ARCs I get with neighboring librarians, both public and school. I use them for review, collection development, and finally summer reading prizes. I’ve also shared some with people on Bookmooch and gotten books for our library in exchange. I like the smaller publishers because they’re generally not as busy and I can chat with them about what’s coming and what I’m looking for – easy nonfiction, more beginning chapter books, etc.
    As far as getting ARCs I have politely requested some at conferences when they were gone (or, more usually, they hadn’t brought the ones I want – again, I do middle grade and below). I have a couple small publishers who regularly send me review copies. I’ve never tried getting ARCs from a big publisher, so I don’t know how easy it is. My blog is pretty low-key and so I feel uncertain about asking. Anyways, I’m in a pretty big consortium and if I want to review something before buying it I can usually ILL it.

  5. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Jennifer, yes, I think there has been a surge in YA. I also am not a fan of the crowds. Thanks for sharing how you use ARCs (and what kinds) and how you get them.

  6. helgagrace says:

    As an adult/reference services librarian, I don’t use ARCs very much as a part of my collection development responsibilities, although a rare graphic novel ARC may fall into my hands. However, I know that the teen librarian and children’s librarians at my library all use ARCs for collection development and as items to give away to patrons. In addition, I send ARCs to a voracious homebound reader who appreciates not having to send them back. One of our book groups here at the library features each participant talking about books they have read–rather than everyone reading the same book–and I understand that the facilitator regularly offers them ARCs received from publishers as potential reading material. Although my library could no doubt survive without ARCs, it would make some jobs more difficult.

    I have not had the opportunity or need to establish a relationship with publishers to receive ARCs in the past, but I always enjoy the opportunity to evaluate books before they’re published when it crops up, and I did contact publishers extensively to receive relevant ARCs before my ALA presentation on nonfiction reader’s advisory. The idea of emailing someone and requesting an ARC, point-blank, seems completely awkward, but so does the idea of asking them in person. However, I would probably be more likely to establish a relationship through personal conversation (at a conference or on Twitter) if I was going to try to incorporate ARCs more into my daily work, and then go from there.

  7. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Diane, that is frustrating! And sometimes part of the good about talking about is maybe the person will see it, realize they were being rude, and change how they approach it. /optimism. And great stuff about using ARCs, possible progams, and the database is a great idea.

  8. I was an online book reviewer (and later blogger) before becoming a middle school librarian. Although a few YA/middle grade ARCs are available, most of my review copies are pdf files. I appreciate the ease of using them but if I had more physical ARCs I would be able to give them away as prizes to my students.

    Since my school is a Title I middle school with a portion of the students transitory, I like to be able to give the students leaving an ARC or a weeded book whenever I can. For some students, this will be the first book that is all their own. It’s a way to give them a positive experience with school and a library.

    Some YA titles are more appropriate for high school readers than middle school so I like to pass those ARCs on to colleague at high school libraries, although I also enjoy reviewing them. Middle school readers cover a lot of ground (from requests for Captain Underpants and Junie B Jones to Breaking Dawn and Where She Went so it helps me a great deal in collection development.

  9. Julia says:

    I’d say ARCs are absolutely of value to me as a professional. If I’m able to read something before putting together an order, I have a much, much better idea of how it will fit our collection than solely relying on a review. Of course, I can’t read everything, but I do try to read as much as I can. Even if I don’t get to an ARC until well after the publication date, at least I’m leaving the library copy (and given the size of my library, it is usually just one copy) on the shelf. My display of new material gets decimated pretty quickly, so the more I can leave there (instead of piling up in my house), the better. I’m fortunate to get a monthly box of ARCs from one of our vendors, but it’s never anywhere close to everything in a given season. I still (try) to pick up other titles of interest at conferences, though that’s been more difficult of late. I’ve never (even when I was blogging regularly), emailed and requested a title from a publisher.

  10. Anna says:

    I sometimes get advance copies of manga, but while I’m a librarian I am not a school/public librarian so I don’t use them in my day to day work.
    I do have good connections with some of my colleagues at the public library and periodically pass along whatever I can when I am weeding through my collection, or have I title that I reviewed and am not likely to reread.

    One of the things I rarely see acknowledged in the whole “gimmee” frenzy over ARCs is that they are more expensive to produce than the final books.

  11. sarag says:

    In my previous job as a teen librarian (I’m a high school librarian now), I didn’t get ARCs because I hated carrying them around and I hated the shoving at the publishers’ booths. I figured I would just read the books once they were published. Honestly, I don’t get why ARCs are such an invaluable professional tool. Can’t you just read the book after it arrives in your library? Sure, some of the hot titles might be on hold and head out as soon as they come in, but in that case, I’m not sure you need to hand-sell them, which means you don’t have to read them. Since I’ll never be able to read EVERY teen novel published, I just get to what I can. Also, I think it’s possible to develop relationships with publishers that allow you access to ARCs outside of conferences; we used to get some shipped to our library every couple of months. I’m not saying people shouldn’t care about ARCs, but I don’t understand the mania over them on either side.

  12. sarah says:

    also, i can’t believe i just spelled my own name wrong!

  13. Melissa says:

    Wow, what a mess. As a librarian I do find ARC’s helpful. I have been burned by trusting reviews (even professional reviews) too many times, and sometimes just need to hold the book in my hand, and read through it to know if it is a good book for my collection. What happens if I buy a wrong book? Well, it either gets sent back to the vendor, meaning we get a refund, but have to pay postage to return it, or if we keep it, it gets moved to another collection–either adult or children’s and the teen budget is out the money for that book. So having an ARC to preview when a book is questionable is essential. ARCs also help me build up reader excitement for the book. So to answer your first question, yes ARCs are a valuable resource for my job.

    Is it easy for me to get ARCs? NO. I sometimes get ones sent to me by vendors, but they are rarely the ones I need to see and usually I get them after the book has already been published. On occasion I have a publisher send me one because I attended a webinar and requested it. NetGalley has been a great resource for me and if not for them I would hardly get any.

    Yes I blog, and I have received a couple of ARCs from a publisher specifically for my review on my blog. Sometimes, however, blogging can be seen in a negative from publishers–I want them to see me as a librarian who needs a tool to do her job, not a blogger looking for another title to brag about. When I read the criteria for galleys on NetGalley–you realize that some of the publishers won’t give to bloggers–only to librarians. I always wonder if they are going to hold the fact that I blog against me when I request something, but I feel obligated to include that I blog in my profile because it is part of who I am.

    I didn’t start blogging to get ARCs and I didn’t become a librarian for them either. I feel guilty when I request titles as a librarian–who am I that I deserve this ARC, but sometimes I do need them. I feel honored when a publisher sends me a title.

    I know, I am a mess, but there is so much controversy surrounding ARCs sometimes I don’t want to step into the fray.

  14. I think the thing to remember is that publishers come to ALA and BEA etc and bring ARCs with them because THEY WANT TO GIVE THEM AWAY. Some prefer to give only to librarians and booksellers, or teachers, or bloggers, but I’m none of these (I’m an author. I sometimes blog books) and every publisher was happy for me to take their ARCs. Let’s not forget that the phenomena of Harry Potter, Twilight and 50 Shades were almost completely driven by word of mouth – ordinary readers recommending the books to other ordinary readers. Bloggers, librarians and booksellers caught on eventually and then things went stellar but giving ARCs to ordinary book enthusiasts is part of a healthy marketing campaign. Some people take advantage, yes, and maybe they hoard the books, don’t read them and never tell anyone about them. That’s a shame. But they are cheating the system because they GREEDY, not because they are not librarians, ALA members or some other nebulous qualification. Free samples are part of business, convention samples are a part of business. If publishers didn’t want to give them to civilians they would find a way not to do it. Do librarians have more right to ARCs than regular people? I don’t think anyone is saying that but if they are remember who made 50 Shades a NYT #1. It wasn’t book professionals. It was bored housewives.

  15. Shayera says:

    {leaving out the ranty bits, to just include the somewhat on topic bits}
    1. I do use arcs. And the paper ones I get are sent around to other colleagues for their benefit.
    2. After being physically knocked aside by bloggers at both BEA and ALA, I’m going to stick my opinion up in that ranty bit I left out.
    3. On the other hand, I was absolutely delighted by the number of the volleyball players who found a way to get on the floor and get books. I overheard lots of them talking about how delighted they were by the books. And I say great. They got books into their hands.

  16. Oh, dear. I’m working today, so now that it’s a little slow, I came back to read the Stacked blog post. I didn’t know it was quite that bad. It’s been about two or three years since I’ve attended ALA (I was on a committee with a two year committment, and the last one I attended was either Boston or Chicago, whichever one was last–I think it was Boston), so I guess things have changed. After thinking about it, I do remember that I grew a bit weary of the exhibit floor by the third time I went to ALA, but that was because I knew that my bag would get heavy very quickly, I would have to hunt for boxes in which to ship books, and would have to stand in line for a long time at the little post office that they have (often far from the publishers area).

  17. Lauren says:

    I was a teen librarian up until last year, and I used arcs to do book selection or hand out to teens as summer reading prizes. If I needed them, I could get them at conference or from our collection development department when they were done with them. That said, there are a few issues here.
    1. The exhibits only pass isn’t just for librarians who want to hit the exhibit floor but can’t afford the whole conference. I know several people who bring thier spouses to conference. The exhibits only badge allows those spouses or partners to have something to do while the member is in meetings or sessions.
    2. I’ve noticed over the last few years that publishers are just giving away less stuff. This issue has come up in sort of a perfect storm of lower marketing budgets and increased interest in the books themselves.
    3. rude people are rude. I’m not sure that we should be bullied into changing our whole conference fee structure because some people are jerks. There are plenty of people who are polite and don’t deserve to be penalized for the misbehavior of others.
    4. A friend of mine was pushed into the Demco furniture display by a librarian who just kept going, she was still limping days later. Every type of conference goer has teh potential to act like a jerk.
    Perhaps we can put guidelines for behavior up so that everyone knows what is expected. That could be a good starting place, both addressing issues and giving the rude people some guidelines. Really, if we look at this from the perspective of how we deal with teens and children in our libraries, I think we could agree that a slow escalation of consequences is probably best, at least to prevent the individuals who are doing nothing wrong from being punished as well.

  18. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    helgagrace, thanks for sharing the additional ideas — and yes, it is awkward to do any type of cold calling.

    Lynne, the whole thing with e-ARCS is, I think, another conversation — I’m reading some but to be honest I prefer print for a number of reasons. A post of its own to consider the increasing use of e-ARCs.

    Julia, yes, I know some vendors (ie the companies that libraries buy books from, not the publishers) send ARCs. Useful; but it’s dictated by things other than what the librarian is looking for for themselves/teens/etc.

  19. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Anna, great point about ARCS. They aren’t cheap.

  20. And I see that I didn’t answer the second question. I have two main revenues for ARCs: any books that SLJ sends me to review and any books that publishers have available for attendees of SLJ/LJ webinars (SLJ and LJ have seasonal book previews, and you can often request ARCs of titles discussed). From time to time, publishers do send me ARCs, but it’s not often. I don’t contact publishers for ARCs (unless they’ve presented specific books at a webinar). My two revenues satisfy our needs for now.

  21. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Sarah (and who hasn’t misspelled their own name? just me?), I get that ARCs wouldn’t be a professional tool for everyone. And I’m glad that you said that because otherwise these responses would look like its just people agreeing that it is. As for the mania — that is another post. That I may never write. Because it’s some complex factors that go beyond libraryland.

    Melissa, good point about being able to see things for yourself. I find professional reviews helpful; but one reason I also like blog reviews is that they are often more detailed so more helpful that way, in giving more information. Also good is being able to be hands-on before it’s bought. It’s complex — with many different viewpoints — and I don’t think there is any “one” “right” answer for ARCs.

    Gabrielle, publishers definately set their own schedules about ARCs (to be overly concise), about how many ARCS, who they promote to, whether its ALA or BEA or both, or directly to blogs, or to reviewers, etc etc. Even within exhibits they schedule, not having certain titles available until certain times or not providing copies to everyone who asks. Reading culture is vibrant — the online component (blogs, goodreads, etc) making it even more so. And yes: it is about people. Not blogger/librarian/teacher/teen. My question isn’t so much librarian v blogger (because I say both), but, as I said, who are the ALA exhibits for? Is, as some say, ALA inviting bloggers? Or not? And if inviting them, what resources/support?

  22. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Shayera, but ranty bits can be fun! I know what you mean, tho. I was hoping some of the volleyball players got some ARCs and saw the exhibits! It was fun sharing the conference facilities with them!

  23. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Jennifer S, I confess to carrying less than I used to because in part the bags get so darn heavy! And thanks for also sharing about the SLJ/LJ webinars (I post tomorrow about the SLJ SummerTeen event)
    online
    Lauren, great additional observations. The issue is a complex one.

  24. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    For some reason, I’m having trouble editing this post. Just wanted to point out Drea’s post on this which also talks about how bloggers (who aren’t librarians) can become members of ALA: PAY IT FORWARD at http://bookblather.net/?p=4626

  25. Marianne F. says:

    I picked up ARCs and gave them to my HS tudent library advisory committee members at the last meeting of the year as a way to thank them for their participation during the school year. I let them select two or more depending on how many committee members there were and how many books I had. Also, now that I am retired (first school year), my husband was able to use the exhibits only pass to select books. I still take them to my district for use in the schools. He has found an author or two that he likes and looks for them to talk to and see what books they have out now. He then purchases their book or looks for it to purchase in a store if it is not yet at conference.
    I didn’t realize that bloggers were an issue but then I only got to spend a few minutes at the exhibits this year because of meetings.

  26. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Marianne, thanks! Yes, I also had much less time on the exhibit floor — a bit of time on Saturday and then Monday morning.

  27. Susan T. says:

    I’ve never attended an ALA event, but appreciate the idea of joining ALA as an associate member. I am not a librarian but am a HUGE fan of libraries. I have relied on libraries for my freelance writing, blogging, and general well-being! Good idea to pay it forward.

  28. Kelly says:

    I have been watching this debate with great interest. I work in Los Angeles and can say with great certainty that many librarians from my system went to the exhibits only and they went for swag. I think David Lee King said in the comments on some blog about this issue that librarians should be able to get these ARCs by contacting publishers and if they can’t it’s due to poor leadership, but the reality is that YAs in large systems like ours don’t always get access to quantities of ARCs. We’re a behemoth system with nearly 75 FTE YA librarian positions. There just isn’t going to be enough swag to go around even if publishers send us lots of stuff.

    That said, ARCs aren’t a perk of ALA membership. They’re just something publishers happen to offer. I doubt behavior has changed much in recent years, it’s just that ARCs are more scarce and publishers have changed the way they manage giving them away. Even if book bloggers aren’t allowed, YA librarians aren’t going to have the same access that we used to have.

    As far as calling some bloggers “bad apples,” I’m very satisfied by the response on the blog from the blogger who brought this all to Kelly’s attention. While YAs may still feel the need to address this “loophole” (if that’s what it is), we need to step back before making accusations. It’s much harder to build relationships and trust in our community than it is to destroy them.

  29. Kat Kan says:

    The bad behavior I saw and experienced in Exhibits this year was also perpetrated by some librarians, not just bloggers. I was pushed and shoved almost continuously in the book publisher aisles. Some of the other vendors in the vicinity were adversely affected by rude crowds as well (booths messed up, books stolen, etc.). I’ve attended ALA for years, and I’ve not seen it as bad as this before.

    As for ARCs – I’m a part time school librarian and a volunteer at my local public library; I share ARCs with my students and with my public library counterparts. My students will often write – usually fan letters rather than reviews, because it’s Lunch Time Book Club and supposed to be FUN – in response to the books they read.

    As for how easy – after nearly 30 years in this career, it’s gotten easier to get ARCs, but not really that easy, if you don’t (or can’t) attend a major conference. It was easy when I served on committees, such as BBYA and the Printz Award, but once I left those committees it was back to being like everyone else.

  30. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Susan, I think joining is a great way to support ALA, obviously!

    Kelly, true that there is not enough to go around! I also thought that the blogger handled this very maturely (and left a comment on her post). I hesitate to name her because, frankly, there are some less than mature people out there.

  31. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Kat, I’m wondering about how to get the word out on bad behaviour (by anyone and everyone — as you said, not a blogger thing because honestly, how can you tell by looking at someone?). I haven’t really posted “how to behave at your first conference/exhibits posts” because I saw other people doing so and assumed the message got out. One thing I wonder is, what can ALA do? Would a program on ARCs (including use, as you mention, professionally and personally) help?

  32. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Adding a comment to this that was posted at Facebook by Teri Lesesne: “I do get review ARCs from some publishers, but there were a couple of titles I wanted to get at ALA. Unfortunately, they were gone. I saw folks wheeling out bags of “goodies.” Since I was in meetings, I basically went by the booths to say HI. Most of the publishers seemed more harried at this conference. I think the criticisms of bad behavior are warranted.”

    And, from Erin Downey Howerton: “Agreed. I’m not willing to fight anyone for an ARC! And I believe that no matter your affiliation, whether blogger/librarian or other, good manners in the exhibit hall should be expected. I was shocked to hear the story about the adult sending out waves of teens to go fetch certain titles… if I was ever so lucky to have ALA near me where I could bring my teens, I’d want to go with them and help them have a quality experience, not mount a ground assault on the publishers’ booths.”

  33. Sarah says:

    As both a new librarian (technically, I’m only a librarian half-time, as I work two part-time positions and one is paraprofessional) and a new blogger (I’ve only been blogging steadily for a year or so), I find this conversation quite fascinating and have been following with interest. To echo what many people have send here, I find ARCs a very valuable tool professionally – I like to keep abreast of what’s upcoming and new in youth literature and reading it myself gives me a chance to champion things that I think may not find their readers as easily. Additionally, not everyone who does the collection development at my library is an avid reader of youth lit – both the junior fiction orderer and teen librarian have appreciated my input on what titles I think would be good additions to the collection. And, no, it’s not always necessary to know about the book before it’s published but I think one can look pretty foolish when a patron asks about a particular title and receives a blank stare in response. Finally, we use ARCs as giveaways – mainly for summer reading prizes, but I also run a tween book club and have offered my attendees some ARCs to keep them reading.

    Being new to the profession, I have zero contacts in the publishing field. At one of my positions, collection development is centralized – I’m not likely to ever gain publishing contacts through this library. And at the other position, I’m paraprofessional and not responsible for any ordering. From what I can tell, neither library receives many, if any, ARCs from publishers on a regular basis. This could be a false impression since, as I said, I’m not directly involved in any library/publisher relationships. And as a new blogger, I’m not sure I have a wide enough audience to attract publisher attention. Part of me has little to no desire to contact a publisher and request an ARC just for the purpose of reviewing on my blog – I see my blog as an extension of my profession, a place to collect my thoughts on the books I’ve read and ideas about which patrons I would recommend them to. Of course, all opinions are my own and maybe have no basis outside my own neuroses. Regardless, I find this whole issue very complex and will continue to follow the discussion.

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