Starstruck at ALA

By Michelle in Marketing 

The American Library Association Annual Conference is one of my favorite times for the year.  After all, how often do you get to spend four days with 20,000+ people who love books as much as you do? Publishers hope for a lot of things at ALA and other shows – steady lines for our authors (check), crowded conference sessions featuring our authors (check), fun author dinners with engaging guests (check), and plentiful interactions with attendees in the booth (check) – but there is usually a very unique highlight or two for every convention.  This year in DC was no exception…  

The planned book signing for literacy specialist Sheila Bair was stressful leading up to the event – she is the second most powerful woman in the world – On the day of her signing, she arrived with her family in tow and was so very nice and welcoming that my stress was immediately alleviated. It also helped, that the first people at her signing were members of her former DC-area children’s writing group (see photo). Her two books with us, Isabel’s Car Wash and Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock, were the result of some of her work with this group, so they were excited to get copies.  

Sheila Bair


My “very unique highlight” came shortly into the signing when a woman stopped dead in her tracks in the aisle with a look of utter shock on her face. She was an FDIC employee at the show to staff an FDIC booth promoting materials for financial literacy education. They had not known that Sheila would be signing and Sheila did not know that the FDIC had a booth there. The woman spoke with another Albert Whitman staffer and then went away. She came back shortly, bought both books, had them signed and talked with Sheila for several minutes. For the rest of the signing, about every 10 minutes or so another FDIC staffer came by, bought books, got them signed, shook her hand, and several took pictures with her. They were all extremely excited to meet her. I suppose it was like finding a rock star signing autographs with no line…and that rock star also signed happened to sign your paycheck.

Starstruck at ALA