I'm so pleased to have this live (ish) report from the Mid-Winter American Library Association conference held in Denver over the last few days. This comes from Carrie Kania, Publisher of Harper Perennial. I'm sorry to have missed what sounds like a great event. And in these troubled times, as is pointed out, libraries are more important than ever, especially to book groups!
Greetings from a snowy Denver, our host city for the Mid-Winter ALA conference.
Our crack library team puts together one heck of a show at the Harper booth - tons of authors meeting librarians, advance readers editions of books "coming to a library near you," and lots of water (we're in Denver, after all, you're advised to drink plenty of water). And if you're thinking it's all work and no play - you haven't lived until you watch readers clutch armfuls of books to share with their hometown readers or meet Nancy Pearl, famed Seattle librarian, gifted author, radio star. "She's a rockstar" I overheard one librarian exclaim.
I had lots of discussions about what we can do to help support our local libraries and all of their amazing community outreach. Did you know that many libraries host book club events? Lectures and writing workshops? Some are expanding their literary magazine selections (n+1, The Believer, A Public Space, Open City, Paris Review - all important magazines publishing some of the most exciting writing happening today) and increasing the number of debut novels offered. A library is a great opportunity to try a new genre (when was the last time you read a classic noir novel or re-read that beloved novel from your childhood - Judy Blume anyone?). Movie nights, childrens programming, how-to-get-published seminars - have you visited your local library lately?
A special thanks goes out to all of our lovely authors who graciously visited our booth and signed copies of their Harper Perennial books, including Judith Hendricks (Laws of Harmony), Simon Van Booy (Love Begins in Winter), Lydia Peelle (Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing), Eli Gottlieb (Now You See Him), Janis Hallowell (The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn and She Was), Catherine O'Connell (Well Bred and Dead and Well Read and Dead) and Michael Craven (Body Copy). How wonderful it is to watch the connection between author and reader.
We love our librarian friends!