The American Library Association Conference AKA Book Heaven

by Shari Randall

You may know me as the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series, but this week I get to wear another hat, that of Library Liaison for Sisters in Crime.

Part of the Library Liaison gig is organizing the Sisters in Crime booth for the American Library Association’s convention in Washington, DC June 21-24. After years working in children’s services at a public library in Virginia, it will feel good to be back in the library world, even if it’s only for a weekend.

Never been to ALA? It’s book heaven. The ALA Conference is a souk of ideas, connections, and fun. Dozens of authors will appear on panels and sign books. There’s a Cooking Stage to celebrate cookbooks with live demonstrations. Speakers! This year the speakers include Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, award winning children’s author Jason Reynolds, tv talk show star Hoda Kotb, comedian Mo Rocca, graphic novel legend Frank Miller, publishing sensation Tomi Adeyemi, and Star Trek icon George Takei. Talk about something for everyone!

The Exhibit Hall, with hundreds of booths and displays by publishers and other businesses related to libraries, is just as exciting as the speakers. Because librarians are taste makers and influencers, publishers entice them with heaps of swag and give away advance readers copies of books they hope will become best sellers  – stacks of them. Because wheeled carts have been banned from the hall, librarians struggle to get all the free books home – you’ll see them weighed down by bulging tote bags, but smiling through. All those books are a nice problem to have.

But the thing I’m most excited about is the chance to tell librarians, publishers, and readers about Sisters in Crime. Sisters in Crime is a world-wide organization devoted to promoting the advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.

And we love libraries! Tell your librarian friends to stop by the SINC Booth 1353. We’re doing a giveaway called It’s Raining Books. The library that wins the giveaway will receive a shower of books from over 100 authors – best sellers, award winners, mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense. The best part? As any librarian who has hauled home all those ARCS can attest, the only downside of ALA is getting all the books home. Well, Sisters in Crime will ship the shower of books to the winning library. #freeshipping

We also offer the Doris Ann Norris We Love Libraries grant. SINC gives a $1,000 grant to one library per month. You can find out more here.
See you at the conference!