Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Unconventional Undertakings

Teenbrarians have to be experts in a number of bizarre things.  Where's the best local pizza place willing to give a good deal for bulk orders?  Which candy varieties have been processed in a plant that also processes things with nuts?  Is that 438 volume boarding school mystery series finished? What about the spinoffs?

Conventional conventions usually throw in a few teen things but really focus on either youth or adult services.  The exception, of course, is the YALSA convention, but for most of us traveling out of state is not really an option. The year that I went it was awesome and fun and useful, but it was expensive and most of the costs came out of my pocked--though my employer covered registration.  So I'm always on the lookout for things that are local or somewhere I can talk a few friends into roadtripping to where I can pick up some weird or interesting skills.

A small, cheap example is the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.  It's a bit of a hike for me, but a couple of friends and I go every year.  It's in the Toronto Reference and Research Library and admission is free.  Last year there was a "Librarians and Educators" day before the festival proper started, and we got to meet and hear from some artists and booksellers about graphic novels.  It's a great chance to get to meet your favorite webcomic and graphic novel artists.  This is where I've been able to meet Lucy Knisley, Kate Beaton, Ryan North, David Malki, Raina Telgemeier, and many many more awesome people.

A big, expensive (but totally worth it if you are a nerd and this is the sort of thing you want to do on vacation) example is BEA.  This is in NYC every year, and is a publishing event, but there's definitely a librarian presence.  Since my BFF lives in New York, the year I went I had a free place to stay, and again my library managed the registration fee.  I had to get myself there and keep myself fed and watered.  All of the major publishers are there showing off their upcoming books, and TONS of big name authors are there doing formal signings and generally wandering around.  Here I got to meet Maureen Johnson and see Nancy Pearl get interviewed by the guys from Unshelved. It's a magical place where people just talk about BOOKS, which was refreshing and really awesome.  I'd love to go again, and really wish I could go every year.

Up next?  C2E2 in April.  Again I'm getting myself there and staying with a friend, but my library will let me count the time as work time, so I don't have to use vacation.  I'll get to sit in on panels and talk books and nerd stuff and have an awesome time while prancing around in a wedding dress like the right fool I am.  I can't wait.  So many opportunities for professional connections and knowledge I didn't even know I needed are there!

*I recognize I should go back and make a lot of things links.  But you know what? You're an intellectually curious person with the ability to google shit yourself.  Also, you look GREAT today.

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