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Who doesn’t like free books?

January 13, 2011

On Saturday of last week several of my colleagues and I went down to San Diego for ALA Midwinter and wow did we have fun. I had no idea what to expect, having never gone, but I would now describe it as “free book shopping.” Tons of it. We had to make three trips back to the car to unload. Our shoulders and arms were killing us from carrying so many heavy bags. Of course this was just Denise and I. When we met up with the guys at the end of the day, they were still carrying their original conference bags, and they weren’t even FULL! Not even close! What they had spent their time doing, I am not sure, but they sure weren’t stocking up on free books, pens, bags, audio books, and stuffed animals like we were!

When we first arrived at the conference, and shuffled along with the rest of the crowd into the conference center, we had people thrusting books into our hands and telling us to get in line to get them signed. And so we somewhat dubiously did. But I very quickly learned to be more discriminate in my book grabbing, as I didn’t have nearly enough hands to carry one copy of every book that was being handed out. I got very selective very quickly. In fact, while the guys wandered off to who knows where, Denise and I planted ourselves at Starbucks and went through the conference ‘coupon book’, tearing out all the pages of booths we wanted to visit (the ones with free give-aways of course!). The way the inside of the conference center was set up reminded me of the exhibition halls at the LA Fairgrounds, only much bigger. And suffice it to say, dress boots were not the thing to wear while pounding the pavement for hours and hours! I seriously saw women limping in their heels at the end of the day, and no wonder too. Next year, should I go again, I am wearing tennis shoes, like some of the smart women were wearing. Anyways…sore feet and shoulders aside, we had a great time.

And the thing that made me the happiest? It wasn’t meeting Tim LaHaye or Kristi Yamaguchi (sorry, no pics, did I bring my camera? Um, no, naturally), it was a free WORLD ALMANAC! Do you know how much I have wanted one of these things? Because I am a big fact nerd (really, I am. I love useless facts. Like memorizing all the names of every country in the world, and how to spell them? Azerbaijan? Kyrgyzstan? Kazakhstan? Sao Tome and Principe? Equatorial Guinea? Mauritius? Cote D’Ivoire? Yep, I know ’em all!) Anyways, and every single year I ask for it for Christmas. But does anyone ever buy it for me? No. Maybe my family loves me too much to participate in my fact-nerd ways, or perhaps they really don’t think I’m serious. But I AM! And I finally got my book. And guess what? It has Lady Gaga on the front. Oh yeah, just what I wanted! (ha)

And that little coffee cup next to it? That would be one of the little stress ‘balls’ I picked up. I think it’s adorable.

And another thing that made my day? This kids’ magazine. It’s funny how when you’ve just gone somewhere you notice things that pertain to it everywhere. (Just like when you buy a new car and suddenly see it EVERYWHERE?) Anyways, Caesarea? You don’t see articles about Caesarea every day. Paris, perhaps. But not Caesarea. So I think I was almost giddy when I picked it up.

At the end of the day we stopped by a reception that one of our vendors was throwing in one of the hotel suites. By this time I was a bit over the whole free books thing, having realized that too much of a good thing can sometimes be too much, and I didn’t care to see another stand, vendor or book again. Well, at least for that night. And I was long over being chatty or social with people I’d never seen before in my life, and attempting to pretend enjoying small talk with them, so I grabbed some hors d’oeuvres and parked myself on a couch, content to stare out at the sparkling San Diego skyline and rest my poor overworked feet. It didn’t take too terribly long for people to feel sorry for the redhead sitting alone and come over to talk to me. Okay, I can chat as long as I can sit while doing so. Soon the conversation got around to New York City traffic and how it was faster for the guy we (by then we had a small crowd) were talking to to ride his bike to work, than to take the train. Then he mentioned he’d had two bikes stolen, though. But he wouldn’t have, if they’d had these nifty bike lockers there! (He said he’d never seen them before, and neither had I until I stumbled across these in a back alley of Pasadena)

Have you seen lockers like these before? I never had. Interesting idea.

Anyways…so ALA Midwinter was pretty fun to go to, and I got paid for it too. I’ll go free book shopping any day, especially if you pay me, just remind me to wear comfy shoes!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Becka permalink
    January 14, 2011 10:39 am

    I’ve never seen those bike lockers…awesomeness. And that IS a ton of free books. Hmmm…I might have to beg to go to the ALA conference next year.

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