Saturday, February 4, 2012

My first ALA experience!

Well as many of you know, I recently attended ALA Midwinter in Dallas. It was my first time, and to say that I was nervous is an understatement. I had no idea what to do or where to go, I was by myself the first day of the even (which was a Friday).


I woke up about 7 AM (I missed school)* and I was on my way to Mesquite, Texas, which is where my aunt lives. After panicking with my mom, who doesn't like to drive in Dallas, we finally reached our destination and I started to prepare myself for ALA.

*Missing school is not a thing I do often, but being an A-B honor roll student has its perks sometimes.

I entered the Dallas Convention Center to the lobby and found this:

After many failed attempts at taking pictures with it, I resigned myself to just taking a picture of it.
Then a very nice lady, kindly offered to take a picture of me with it, and of course I said yes!

Thank-you nice lady!
So I went up the escalator, with trembling fingers from the nerves, and I got in line and I received my first ever event badge (with the ALA bag that you can see above). 

Here's a closer look at my badge:

Here's what the little banners in my badge say:
-Read Irresponsibly (favorite one)
-I *heart* Booklist in print and online (I do)
-ALA First Time Attendee

After I registered, I sat around the lobby for about 30 mins.:

All while using my Dad's iphone to look nonchalant and cool about the whole thing.

A few minutes later, a line started forming, full of Texas Bloggers! The only blogger I had met before that was among everyone was Michelle from Windowpane Memoirs who was so sweet and adopted me as her little sister for the continuation of ALA. She is a super awesome person and blogger, so go check her blog out!

While we were waiting in agony for the doors to open, I was so nervous that I didn't even take the time to take any pictures. Seriously, one of the most overwhelming days of my short life. I had no idea how many books there was going to be that first day (it wasn't even BEA!). I didn't take any pictures because it was so crazy I had no time, I was carrying about two bags full of books for like an hour. My shoulders were KILLING me, until Michelle had to leave for the dinner (which I didn't attend) and I was left alone. She was sweet enough to guide me to the bag check-ins (3 dollars a bag for those who want to know). I was free to roam freely after that, but still didn't take any pictures until the end. This picture is so bad, but I still want to show you what I got my first day I took the picture at the lobby, while was waiting for my mom.

Sorry for the bad quality guys, it was quite dark.

Second day of ALA was not as crazy, because I knew what to expect and I had my friend Fany with me. We had extra bags ready and we had a plan. TIP: ALWAYS HAVE A  BAG PLAN (where are you going to put your bags at when one of them is full). Thing weren't so crazy then, so I had time to take some pics for you guys!

You can see I stalked the Harper booth like crazy, they came out with 5 books at a time, so once they were gone, they were gone.  Lemme tell you, they were gone fast.

 While we was stalking the Harper booth, in walked Katherine Tegen, THE Katherine Tegen. Seriously she exists. I didn't get any pictures of her but guys believe me, SHE IS REAL.

Day two went without any problems. I met some very awesome bloggers and publishers, and so not very nice ones. But lets talk about the nice ones! I met Katie from Katie's Book Blog, she was so sweet and she remembered me from our gmail conversations. I also met Bailey from IB Book Blogging, who was exceptionally sweet, and also remembered me from our Twitter conversations.  I could go on forever, there were more nice people than the not so nice ones, believe me. For example, there was a moment where Harper put up 10 copies of Wings of the Wicked, when I went to get one, they were all gone. I was so disappointed, until this blogger came up to me and offered to me, just like that. I just had to know what her blog was, people just don't hand out their books just like that. So thank you Jen A Book and a Latte, I hope I am thanking the right person, because I asked her for her business card and I lost it! I don't know what happened. Thanks Jen! Some other bloggers handed me the new Diana Peterfreund. Thank-you bloggers!

Day Three was intense. There had been rumors that Harper was going to put up ALL the books they had first thing in the morning. As always, I was one of the first ones in line. I woke up early for this, dedication FTW! Anyway, so they opened the doors, and in we went. Me and my friend fast walked to the Harper Booth, yes there were some runners, there were piles of books there, I grabbed Pandemonium because that was #1 on my list. I was handing my friend out one copy and she was handing me copies of other books. We were a team. But unfortunately, I was the one with the glasses, someone elbowed me in the face, and down they went. Before I could register what was happening I stopped everything I was doing and picked the glasses up. First, I needed them and I knew I would not get a second pair if they broke. Second, they were expensive. I can buy those Harper titles when they are released, but a 200+ dollar pair of glasses are almost irreplaceable for me.  Afterwards I retired from the crowd, I was okay with not getting all of the Harper titles, I had gotten the one I was really anticipating, and my glasses were intact.

We were only able to stay till 12 for Sunday (day #3) but we still managed to get some pretty cool books and swag. We also got to attend the Penguin Book Buzz event, which was pretty cool, and a whole new experience for me. Finally we left Dallas and headed to Fort Worth, it took us about an hour to be able to pack up our luggage and me and my friend's books, but somehow we managed. We were a little squished though.

By Monday, I was so sore I could not lift my arms up at all, but I was excited to have gotten all these amazing titles. If you ever have a chance to attend ALA, do it. It is an amazing (but tiring) experience that you will never forget. TIP: If you DON'T have anything important (school or work) to do the day after ALA, seriously MISS IT, I went to school and boy was I sorry.

I have a quick video of Sunday at ALA which is just footage of me and my friend walking around the exhibit hall. But if you want to see it, let me know in the comments and I would love to upload it for you guys! Also, the books I got at all were a lot but there are some titles that I am more excited for. The ALA books post will be tomorrow, so stay tuned!

**If you are a future ALA newbie and have no idea what is going to happen, I hope this post is useful for you guys. If you have any more questions comment below or e-mail me at morethanjustabook(at)gmail(dot)com, I would be more than happy to answer (to the best of my abilities) any questions that you have.**

Have an amazing Saturday!


  1. Ooh. So jealous! You look like you had a blast. I thought ALA was 18 and over, just like BEA...?

    1. Well I am 17 and my friend is 16 and we got in just fine, I actually didn't know that BEA was 18 and over.

    2. Yeah, it's unfortunate. :( I was really considering BEA last year.

  2. Thanks for your kind words. We had so MUCH Fun!!!

  3. Oh my goodness it sounds like you had such a fun (and busy!) couple of days! That is so awesome you get to fill up bags with books! *drool* I loved the little tags on your namebadge! The read irrisponsibly one is my favorite too! I would have stalked the Harper booth as well! That's crazy about your glasses, I'm glad you got them back alright! YAY for getting your hands on Pandemonium! Thanks for sharing your awesome trip to ALA with us! :D


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