The Texas Library Association Conference (or TLA) is one of the highlights of the year — 6000+ Texas librarians in one place. Librarians are very special people — and as the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. More excitement, more enthusiasm for books and authors, more posters giveaway, more books signed.
Earlier this month in Austin was no exception.
Somehow, I’ve always managed to miss TLA when it was in Austin, so this was my first trip to this great city. After booth set-up (which went relatively problem free), several of us went to visit Book People, the city’s great independent book store. It was as fabulous as everyone says…we spent more than an hour there. Margaret and I played our usual game of “Find the Boxcar,” and we all found our favorite books, past and present. We talked with some of the booksellers in the children’s section. I counted the number of The Buddy Files #1 (a Texas Bluebonnet nominee for next year) on their shelf (10). And then we went to a neighborhood place for barbeque…yum!
The show itself was fabulous…no slow times…just constantly busy. Lines for author signings. Our posters were popular. And once again, The Goodbye Cancer Garden and Rapunzel (also our most popular poster) were our most looked at titles.
Being on the Bluebonnet master list certainly makes for an exciting time as well. Author Dori Hillestad Butler signed twice — both times with nice lines and extended signing times (half an hour long at one and an hour and a half at the other — both could have gone longer).
Dori and fellow author Jacqueline Jules (Cybils award winning Zapato Power) both attended the Bluebonnet Luncheon as well. We chose a table near the back and surpised some Texas librarians with an impromptu author lunch. That was fun!
We were unhappy to hear that big budget cuts and layoffs of teachers and librarians have come to Texas as well. Yet, people remained hopeful and eager to do what was best for their students and patrons.
We look forward to another great year in Texas and being in Houston next April.