I had every intention of making it to an eight a.m. session on Saturday. But when the alarm went off at 5:45, Dinah came in to snuggle, and who am I to turn down a small furry cat? So I made it down to the conference center around 9 a.m. I had surprisingly good bus karma, vaguely remembering where the Milwaukee bus went and where I needed to get off now that the Blue Line was down . After only being verbally assaulted by one loud guy who felt the need to share his opinion of the new Supreme Court Justice nominee and how I was evil because I’d stopped for coffee, I hopped on the conference bus and headed downtown.

Sibling-the-Elder was up for the day in the exhibits and I tracked her down for a hug and hello. To my surprise, I saw Rachel Singer Gordon passing by and took the chance to introduce myself to the woman who has been trouncing me soundly at Scramble. Not bad for catching people on the fly!!

Then it was off to the AASL President’s session. The room was already full when I got there, so I was in the next to last row with my coffee and donut. (There was a LOT of coffee and baked goods that weekend.) The presentation, once the official stuff was waded through, was “Literacy Leadership and Librarian Flair, engaging 21st -Century Readers with Three Award Winning Young Adult and Children’s Authors.” And I have to admit, I went because I wanted to see Laurie Halse Anderson in person. See the woman sitting in the middle with the red scarf?? That’s her. That’s as far as my camera would zoom in, sorry.

Anderson, Alan Sitomer, and Jacqueline Woodson spoke about inspiring students to read, as Sitomer said, in spite of school. In spite of the piles of textbooks we weigh them down with, in spite of the required reading, in spite of the multitude of other stimuli around them, kids continue to read, they continue to be engaged with books, they enjoy and want to read. Anderson was dynamic, capturing a huge audience, and Sitomer was no less so. My brain disengaged slightly with Woodson.

I might also have been distracted by the fact that our Branch Princess scored an advanced reader copy of Catching Fire, the Hunger Games sequel! I immediately tweeted it out so coworkers could put their names on the “I want to read it!!” We have six consortium wide copies on order so far (four here) and 32 holds. It’s going to be big.

Then it was a cruise around the exhibits and lunch with Sibling-the-Elder. She likes to powerwalk the exhibits and, as it wasn’t really my exhibit day, I was fine with that. The food left a lot to be desired, though there was a lot of it. The “slice” of pizza I got could have fed three people. We had a nice chat about which vendors we liked working with, who we were definitely trying to avoid, and her thoughts on the Evergreen migration that she and most of Indiana have undergone. She’s a big fan.

I popped into a 2.0 session briefly, but I left after the focus appeared to be Second Life, which I haven’t opened in months. I hear brief mentions of it being used here and there, but I don’t think Second Life has taken off the way it was originally intended. I always got frustrated with a lack of anyone to talk to–no matter what time I was on Info Island.

Back to the exhibits then and the very nice people at HarperCollins gave me a copy of Eloisa James’ newer than newest book! (The new book just came out in July, the one I got won’t be on shelves til September) And she was there to SIGN it!! There might have been some hopping up and down. As I waited through perhaps three or four people I turned to watch the line for the person signing across the aisle.

I did not wait in Neil’s line. As much as I would have enjoyed to, the line was a couple of hours long and I had a romance novel program to get to. My final program for the day was “Love is in the Air: Romance Writers Discuss Their Work.”

We needed a bigger room. People were sitting on the floor. Debbie Macomber, Eloisa James, Laura Caldwell, and Cathie Linz talked about romance as a genre, their approaches, and what is coming next for them. It was refreshing to sit in a room and know we all read romances, we all enjoyed them, and there was method to the madness. The women were well spoken, well written, well received by their audience. Though of the four, James is really the only one I read with regularity, I could easily see myself picking up the work of the other four and enjoying it.

And then, with only one frantic call to EJ as I tried to figure out where exactly Franklin Street was in relation to the Palmer House Hilton, it was off to the LSW Meet up. But that’s another post.