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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

ALA Convention Floor 2010: The Days of Wine and Swag Have Gone

When last we left our intrepid hero, she was spending five hours in a Washington D.C. emergency room rather than hanging out with, oh say, Karen Cushman at a Kidlit Drink Night.  So there was that.

The next day, however, I was determined to make up for lost time.  Alas, being determined and actually convincing your body to act like something rather than a wounded baby seal are two entirely different matters.  I fared better once I realized that I would last longer in this world if I put just a little pressure on the old right foot, and didn’t insist on launching myself through the air like some kind of crutch-wielding orangutan.

So it was on to the convention floor for fun and profit.  First up, I needed to grab my press badge, and while doing so who else did I see but Tom Angleberger, author of the widely (and justifiably) acclaimed The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.  Here Tom is, being interviewed by Barb Langridge of the Howard County Central Library and the television show Books Alive!

While waiting for them to finish I wandered about to my press room.  Outside of it I took a strange delight in this pile of little pamphlets.

Needless to say, I took one.

After exchanging words with Tom and Barb I stepped foot upon the conference floor, whereupon I had an amazing shock.  My general attitude when attending a conference floor, dear readers, is to be sneaky, quick, and sly.  I dart from publisher to publisher, attempting to mimic a dragonfly.  All iridescent flashes and leaps to the side.  However, I found that with my newfound encumbrances I was like nothing so much as those big machines in the second Star Wars movie.  You know the ones I mean (I really should have asked Mr. Angleberger while I was with him what they were called).  The resident Star Wars fan says that they are AT-ATs.  He’s not wrong.  They are also known as Walkers.

Whatever they’re called, they were I.  Clumping, clumsy, clanking, cantankerous.  Until, that is, I saw Laura Amy Schlitz.

Oh, we are getting a better look at that hat.

That’s the stuff.  Authors were in abundance this day, so I took a great deal of fun in snapping quicky pics of them.  These included . . .

Jim Arnosky

David Small

Kadir Nelson

Jacqueline Woodson

And Tony DiTerlizzi

A word about young Mr. DiTerlizzi. Simon & Schuster decided to play a clever game with the man.  I don’t seriously think that anyone would ever have to be lured into a DiTerlizzi signing, but to get folks in line for a copy of The Search for Wondla (Tony’s latest), Jon Anderson stationed himself behind a table covered in sweets.

The catch is that you’re only allowed a sweet if you get a book signed from Tony.  As if folks need the encouragement!  Jon and Justin Chandra, as far as I could tell, traded off the Good Cop / Bad Cop roles, keeping folks from just snatching up the tasty treats without going through the line first.

There are other delights and wonders to find on a conference floor.  The furniture, for one thing, is amazing.  Here, Susan Kusel (of the blog Wizards Wireless, PBS Booklights, and other wonders) models a particularly fine specimen I was admiring.

Roundabout this time my right ankle started singing an Irish sea ditty about a lass named Molly Malone.  So we decided to head on out.  On the way out of the ground floor I saw this group of folks staring at this screen showing the World Cup.

I thought that was kinda cute so I snapped a shot.  Then I went upstairs an encountered this folks doing the same thing.


I leave you today with this vision.  The Cat fixes you with his impenetrable stare, daring you to make sense of the world as you know it today.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I must say, you fared much better than I would’ve with a sprained ankle. Honestly, I’d be a wimp and apprehensive about trying to get around in a convention on crutches I’m not used to. But I’m sure, this being a librarian-centric event, that most people were nice and accommodating. I certainly would have volunteered to be your assistant and followed you around if I were there. 🙂

    You’re a trooper, Betsy! And those of us who can’t make it to ALA thank you for your dedication to reporting the goings-on, despite your injury. (But, seriously, don’t overdo it.)

  2. And you’ve still got your sense of humor and a smile on your face. Thanks for the report! And feel better soon.

  3. I was sad you weren’t at Drink Night but glad to see you are getting around! Hope it heals fast fast fast.

  4. Is it a break or a sprain? (Notice I didn’t say “just” a sprain.)

  5. I hardly know how to respond. Thanks seems a little weak after putting yourself through pain and suffering to put us wannabes in the thick of things. The Schlitz hat alone is worth payment in full.

    Feel better




  6. Tricia Springstubb says:

    This morning I decided to do a bit of ALA people watching from the lobby area. Just sat and enjoyed the parade, noting how tote bags and sensible (but often very cute) shores were de rigueur. I noted two women going by–one barreling by–on crutches and was duly awed. Little did I know this interpid blogger was doing the same. Librarians can handle/footle anything–proven once again.

  7. Crutch-wielding orangutan–ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, ha . . . ha.

  8. “Schlitz hat” sent me scrolling back up through this post wondering how I missed a librarian wandering around in a beer hat, until I remembered that Laura Amy Schlitz’s last name is… and she was wearing…

    ALA make me sleepy and dopey at same time!

  9. Carl in Charlotte says:

    Is it my imagination or does that picture of Tony DiTerlizzi make him look like Drew Carey?

  10. You really worked that ankle and looked fantastic when I saw you at the pre-banquet dinner on Sunday.