Why I Want to Hug ALL THE LIBRARIANS!*

Recently, I got to spend a day in San Diego in the company of more librarians that I've ever seen together in one place. It would appear that, twice a year (as far as I know) the ALA (American Library Association) gathers to discuss things**. To be honest, I had no idea what these things were when I went down there, but I quickly found out that these meetings are where the magic happens, and by magic, I mean they decide/announce who gets great honors like the Newberry, the Caldecott, and too many other great honors to count.

So at this point you might be wondering why I was there. I'm not, as far as I know, a librarian***. I'm also not a blogger, editor, publisher, etc. However, I was up for the fairly new William C. Morris award, which is an award for debut novelists specifically in the YA area. I did not win, I knew this before I even got on the plane. I should be sad, I know, but I'm not. Most writers dream of writing a book and getting it published. I'm one of the lucky few to get that far--and I do realize how lucky I am, folks. I'm still adjusting to the fact that not only did I write a book, but people are reading it. Strangers. People who aren't related to me. People who have no real reason to read anything I put down except that they feel like it. I can't quite wrap my brain around that. And now you tell me that out of all the new voices in YA this year, and there are so many talented new voices, friends, that the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) picked my book as one of the top five? Well, as you can well see, it's a little hard to get upset about not winning. I get a shiny little sticker for my book. I'm happy. And I got a fancy plaque! I still haven't decided where to put it. My man friend had to put it out of reach so I'd stop hugging it.

I had a lot of fun in San Diego. I got to have a nice dinner with my publisher who had the dubious honor of escorting me around. Let me tell you folks, Laura Godwin is a great date. She's a delight to talk to, has a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and, for putting up with some very giddy new writers, the patience of a saint. Then I had to get up and give a little speech, which is scary, but librarians make for a good crowd. None of the speeches were boring and all the books sounded pretty amazing. I suggest you go and check them out here. While you're at it, check out the books up for that were up for the nonfiction prize. I kind of left wanting to read everything. 

Holt had donated some books to the event, so I got to sign some pages, have my picture taken (which I'm not a huge fan of) and hug some librarians. It was a heady night all in all. The next morning I managed to get out of bed in time to meet an old friend for breakfast (I hadn't seen her in fifteen or so years) and I'm so glad she had the presence of mind to remind me that she lived in San Diego. I almost missed her. A few of my other San Diego buddies pointed it out later that I forgot to tell them that I was in town. All I can say is whoops, guys. I was busy. Hugging librarians. I'll get ya' next time. My goofs aside, I did manage to meet up with my cousin Aaron for coffee. You all should know Aaron by now. If not, check out the bio section. He's the dog in a dinosaur costume. 

I flew out after we had coffee and my flight home went so smoothly it was almost anticlimactic. I even got in early and before the snow hit. Go team. I wasn't home long before I started getting messages on what I affectionately call "the Twitters" congratulating me on making it into the top ten on the BBYA list. This is a list compiled by YALSA, and it started out as 191 nominations, which were whittled down to a list of 99, and then whittled even further to a list of ten. My book is on that list. I checked. Like fifteen times. 

I think now you're starting to see why I want to hug all the librarians.

It's really scary putting a book out into the world, folks. It's a lot like dropping a little kid off at a new school...with twenty bucks taped to his sweater, a kick me sign taped to his back, and watching while he insults the local bullies and hands them a list of all his known fears and allergies at the same time. But to get this kind of support from the ALA community makes it a whole lot easier.

Thanks, ladies and gentlemen of the library persuasion. When I come in to get my hold books and pay my occasional late fee, I'll try to restrain myself. I promise. If I can't, well, can you at least promise not to sue me? I mean well...

 

 

*this might or might not lead to a very large, and sadly for them, not very lucrative sexual harassment suit, but even knowing this ahead of time, I still feel like I must hug every single one of them. Quietly, though. I mean, it is a library.

**Though I have no proof, I am sure they spend a great deal of their time discussing your late fees and how much they hate it when you put books back in the wrong place. And by you, I don't mean a general kind of you, but you specifically, dear reader, so watch it.

***One can never really be sure of these things. I might be sleepwalking and leading a double life. A life where I got a spiffy degree in Library Sciences, perhaps a soft-spoken, poetry writing beau who wears sweaters and is allergic to cats. These things could happen.