I'm enjoying reading various ALA roundups. Descriptions of the conference buoyed my spirits not only because the ALA had record attendance, despite the economic slump, but also because I love seeing crowds of folks gathered to celebrate books.
Libraries have a special place in my heart. When I was very young the Vaughn Public Library in Ashland, WI functioned as my de facto babysitter. The library was across the street from my dad's office and I curled up in the stacks surrounded by books often enough that all the librarians knew me by name.
That familiarity helped a great deal when it was time to get my first job. The summer before my sophomore year in high school I applied to work, where else, but at the library! I worked amid those stacks I loved so well, full-time in the summers and part-time during the school year, for the next three years.
When I went to college my work study jobs were always at the library. I love the way libraries smell and though I am adjusting I still have a strange reaction to seeing computers instead of a Dewey decimal card catalog when I visit my local library. Libraries make and sustain readers, librarians are astounding founts of knowledge and exceptional defenders of civil rights.
Huzzah steadfast librarians, thank you for all you do every day!!
Getting back to that greatest of all librarian gatherings, my favorite rundown of the ALA thus far comes from the fabulous Maggie Stiefvater, whose upcoming book Shiver was well-feted at the conference (I can't wait to read it! And its release date happens to be my birthday...ahem).
Too much press of late has been disheartening about the "end of publishing" and how hard it is for new writers to break into the industry. While all this may be true, it only takes a few images from the ALA to remember how exciting a good book really is and that reading is here to stay.