Thursday, June 28, 2007

1st ALA Conference 2007 Awards!

Washington, DC welcomes the Librarians

(Photos: National Archives (top left), Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (top right), Chinatown pailou (right)

(Photos: Vietnam War Memorial (top left), Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum (bottom left), Lincoln Memorial (right)

Yes, I know that the ALA conference is all about the programs and networking and professional development, but it's also about all the wonderful freebies as well. So, to start off our first ever ALA conference awards, we'll start with the exhibitor tote bags. The tote bags play an important role because they help us to hold all the free stuff that we get from our exhibitors. Oh yeah, they also promote and publicize the vendor and their products. That's very important too. There were so many wonderful tote bags to choose from, but the top 3 totes are:

Best tote bag award

1st place: Demco gave away this sharp-looking, multicolored tote. Participants got this tote after spinning an enormous game wheel offering selected prizes. Kudos to Demco for offering a fun way to score a terrific tote and possibly other prizes (Pictured bottom row)
2nd place: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers celebrating 40 years of Brown Bear. It's colorful, fun and holds lots of swag stuff. A very popular choice among conference attendees (Pictured top row, left)
3rd Place: Kids Can Press--The art work from their children's books is just great and features Chester. It's colorful, nicely designed and fun! (Pictured top row, right)

"Let's make the Librarians happy and give them a steady stream of caffeine" award

Oh yeah, this award goes to Proquest, who provided a coffee bar at the top of a spiral staircase. So, not only did you get a great panorama view of the exhibitors' hall (see picture) but also a really great latte (yum).

Wow, he sounds like a Kennedy, he looks like a Kennedy, hey, he must be a Kennedy award:

Yes, this award goes to Robert J. Kennedy, Jr.. Mr. Kennedy, the guest speaker for the ALA President's Program, gave a pertinent, reverent, and passionate speech entitled "A Contract with our Future."

He began his speech with a childhood story about his grandmother Rose and her love of books, and later mentioned his uncle Jack. It is exciting, yet strange and unusual, to hear such casual mention of these iconic figures, who are part of our American fabric. Despite your political affiliation or lack thereof, the Kennedys have a special place in our hearts through celebration and loss and tragedy as well as their unwaivering fight for social justice throughout the last 5 decades.

His speech presented an important argument for our environment, information on testing your personal mercury level from Waterkeeper Alliance at and a great quote,

"I've always believed that 80% of republicans are really Democrats that don't know what's going on." --Robert J. Kennedy, Jr. at the 2007 ALA Conference

Thanks to Leslie Burger for inviting Mr. Kennedy!

"We love the environment so lets give away a tree" award

Yes, EBSCO gave away the most environmentally-friendly swag, a starter Colorado Blue Spruce tree plant. In conjuction with the National Arbor Day Foundation at, we give ESBCO Information Services a big "green thumbs up" for their swag. Perhaps Mr. Kennedy's favorite swag as well!

Most friendliest greeter at the ALA Conference award

This award goes to the super nice lady at the 2008 ALA Conference in Anaheim booth! She always greeted you with a huge smile, a sunny disposition and free surf board keychains! So, you can attend the 2008 ALA Conference in Anaheim, meet up with colleagues, surf a little and soak up the California rays!

I feel like I just entered the "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" award

This award clearly goes to the Randolph Rose Collection exhibit featuring bronze statues. It had that reminiscent feeling like you just stepped into the backdrop of eccentric Savannah, Georgia and onto the pages of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." All of the statues were intricate and beautiful, yet a little eery.

Best thing about having the ALA conference in Washington, DC award

This award goes to the opportunity to visit the national monuments and memorials which represents our history, culture and heritage. By having the conference in Washington, DC, the librarians had the chance to visit these sites as well as take tours of the Library of Congress, the Capitol, the Holocaust Museum, plus many, many more...

Photos: The U.S. Capitol (above), Lincoln Memorial (right), Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool (upper right)

Best national monument to visit at night award

What the? Hey, I thought this was the ALA conference awards? Yes, but since many librarians visit the monuments and memorials during off conference time, this is a bonus award! So, for informational purposes only, this award goes to no other than the FDR memorial. This is a great memorial in itself. However, if you visit it during the evening, you will have a uniquely different experience than the daytime. It may be the maze-like design, along with the haunting look of the three dimensional human sculptures that lend itself to making this memorial kind of spooky, but cool at night.

It's a bird...It's a plane...It's a blimp award

This award goes to the Queens Library, which promoted itself by anchoring a large blimp to the Carnegie building across from the Convention Center. Could this award be a conflict of interest? Not so much, but sort of...however, there were no other libraries which promoted itself on a blimp, a plane or a bird, that I saw!

Best way to meet librarians from all over the world award

This award goes to the many programs on international libraries and cooperation, the International Librarians reception, and the International Poster Session. These events allow you to meet, exchange information and share experiences with colleagues from other countries as well as with U.S. librarians who have library experiences abroad.

Photos: IRRT Chair's Program "International Library Partnerships: Walking Side by Side," (pictured above), International Poster Session: National Central Library in Taiwan (bottom left) and Dr. Trishanjit Kaur, Punjabi University (bottom right)

Most rewarding ALA Conference experience award

This award goes to the experience of meeting up with or encountering colleagues, both past and present!

Photos: Esther Lee and her friend. Happy retirement, Esther! (pictured above) and up-and-coming librarian Margaret Gibson (pictured right)

Best exhibitor award

This award is given to the exhibitor who makes a lasting impression with their product. This award has 2 winners:

1st place: Creative Arts Unlimited Inc. for it's creative, artistic, and imaginative designs (pictured left)

1st place: Polaris Library Systems which offered attendees a fun way to become a "Read" poster! (pictured right: Queens Library's Edith Capellan)

And now, the moment that we've been waiting for, the top swag awards! Are you ready?

First, thanks to all of
the exhibitors! So, let's start with honorable mention:

Honorable mention: The "Love your Librarian" and "Penguin" placards, the Tech Logic soft eyeglass case and of course, the Skippyjon Jones oval promo card...and now, the winners are:

Best swag award

1st place: Hands down, it's the Charles Darwin bobblehead from Greenwood Press. For swag collectors, you may remember that Greenwood gave away a Chaucer bobblehead at the PLA conference in Boston. Thanks Greenwood Press--we love the bobbleheads, so keep them coming!!!
2nd place: Commemorative t-shirt featuring the Lincoln Memorial from Brodart Co. This swag pays tribute to our hosting city and we like that! Plus, the back of this t-shirt lists the ALA conferences for the next 10 or some years, which is a useful reference and especially helpful for those of us with lapsing memory.
3rd place: Atlas, the plush dog from World Book. Why? Because he's cute! And if you look closely at Atlas' spots, they're shaped like the different continents of the world--very, very clever World Book! So this makes Atlas cute and educational...

Pictured above: Charles Darwin bobblehead (left), Brodart Co. t-shirt (center), Atlas the dog (right)

Photos: Artwork, Washington Convention Center (left), Navy Memorial (lower left), WWII Memorial (below)

Photos: Vietnam War memorial (left), Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (right), R2D2 mailbox near the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum (upper right), The White House (bottom left)

All photos by Char Gwizdala, except Read Poster by Edith Capellan and FDR Memorial by

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Book Expo NYC 2007: Char's Annual Awards

Yes, yes, it's time for my annual BookExpo awards, which some of you might remember from last year. Here goes:

the kindest, sweetest and most patient author award: okay, technically he's an illustrator, but Matthew Reinhart wins this distinction hands down. He did 4 signings for different pop-up books and even stayed after the alotted time to make sure everyone got their books signed. He even signed multiple books (we lost count after 8) for a woman who kept pulling out different pop-up books that he had illustrated. He was so kind, patient and sweet with her and never rushed her or anyone else. And besides, his work totally rocks!!!

yummiest give-away award: The Snoopy dog bone shaped rice krispies treat

coolest picture taking moment award: there are 2 winners, having your picture taken with Dora the Explorer and her friend Diego; or putting on pig ears and having your picture taken with a statue of Olivia

most socially conscious exhibitor, with a creative way to express your conviction award: so, what do BookExpoers feel is the most important issue facing America today? By placing a marble in one of the five jars at the Brookings Institution Press exhibit, you could express the issue most important to you. At the time that we visited, Iraq and Climate Change were tied, with Health Care a comfortable third and Homeland Security and Immigration coming in fourth and fifth.

only one regret, but it's okay award: that BookExpo is in Los Angeles next year. But good news, it returns to NYC in 2009

the coolest and most unassuming couple award: Sometimes you see many couples (both married and partners) at BookExpo, especially from small, independent bookstores or the exhibitors themselves. The best couple award goes to the friendly guy and his wife and her bird. We were warmly greeted by the gentleman (pictured left) who was promoting the new Merck Manual for Pet Health. He said make sure that you go visit my wife and her bird, who were next to him. So, we stepped over to his wife and the beautiful toucan bird. Oh my gosh, it's Joan Embry! So we said to the husband, "hey, you didn't tell us your wife was famous!" And Joan said, "I'm not famous, the animals are famous." Wow, she knows so much about animals. We learned all of these facts about the Amazon Rainforest toucan in only a few minutes. So, for their hospitality, humility and for being really cool people, and of course, unassuming, Joan Embry and her husband get this award

best swag award:
Yes, I know that the expo is all about the books, but let's be honest, who doesn't like all the free swag stuff. Okay, so we'll start with the tote bags. There were so many to choose from and many runner-ups, but the top 5 tote bags are, drum roll please:

1st Place: Ingram--The Ingram tote bag has the Brooklyn Bridge on either side and is the only tote that I saw that paid tribute to NYC. So, we appreciate that and give them 1st place
2nd Place: Good Books--This publisher gave away a beautiful canvas, zipped tote which has the book cover art work from two of their children's books. This is the 2nd year that they placed in this category because they gave away a similar bag last year. It is just beautiful, thanks Good Books! (Pictured top row, left)
3rd Place:Kids Can Press--The art work from their children's books is just great. It's fun, colorful and a practical tote! (Pictured top row, right)
4th Place: Viz still has the best overall design, which is the same from last year! If it's ain't broke, why fix it, right?
5th Place: Penguin Classic--Who doesn't love penguins....everyone, right?

the best swag, other than a tote bag award:
Outside of tote bags, the best swag award goes to the Bad Kitty clip-on given out by MerryMakers Inc. We give honorable mention to the "Want a Poogle" pin, the highlighter/post-it pen, and the apple shape cookie cutter

the most often heard phrase award:
"Hey, the lightsabers light up, cool!"
Repeated continuously and sometimes in unison by those who got a copy of Matthew Reinhart's Star Wars Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy, or to anyone who had a copy and showed it to someone. This pop-up book so totally rocks. If you know a Star Wars fan, this is a must purchase. Due out October 2007.

I didn't take a picture, what was I thinking :( award: Sandra Boynton sitting on the carpeted floor in her publishers' booth, using a wooden block as a table. I'm not sure you can get more down to earth than that...

you paid how much for that? award: Carving chef extraordinaire, pictured below, is sculpturing a swan out of a watermelon (notice the beautiful lotus flowers carved from onions in front of the watermelon). The chef forgot to bring a watermelon to the expo so he had to buy one in the city. Guess how much he paid for that watermelon? Yup, $20.00! He said that he won't forget to bring his watermelon next time :)

most imaginative, yet kind-of-creepy promotion for a book award:
A live Statue of Liberty to promo John Keatt's Tales of New York. It really looked like a statue until she opened her eyes and her eyes followed you without any other part of her body moving (that's the creepy part)

one of the best ways to meet your colleagues award:

the autograph lines waiting to get that book that you really want signed by one of your favorite authors.

the best experience that I wouldn't change for a million dollars award: attending BookExpo with my friend Lisa, who I met in library school and also lives in NYC. She's in knowledge management now, so she doesn't attend many of these public functions. It was such a great time to spend the day with her and to add another experience to our 20+ year friendship.

I will tell you that, as a book lover and librarian, there is no greater experience than BookExpo. You have a chance to meet and talk with some really great authors (new and seasoned); visit and talk with the publishers and learn about new titles and product; and meet some wonderful colleagues and people from all over the country and around the world. The following 3 posts are pictures that Lisa and I took at BookExpo, enjoy!

Images from BookExpo NYC 2007:
top left: Feelings to Share A to Z, 2007,Carrie Hartman, Illustration; top middle: Street Dogs by Traer Scott due out October 2007; bottom left: Maurice Sendak's Mommy Pop-up book by Arthur Yorkins and Matthew Reinhart; bottom left: ABC - NYC: A Manhattan Alphabet Book, Travel Guide and Souvenir by Matthew G. Rosenberger