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Sunday, June 30, 2013

ALA 2013: PLA President's Program and Awards Presentation with Ann Patchett

PLA President's Program and Awards Presentation

The program began with the PLA Awards presentations. All award winners and  are listed here.  Congratulations to them all.

And then the key note with Ann Patchett and her pep talk for librarians.

This is a keynote and not really a training, so I will just share some of her better comments and thoughts.
I was sitting in the back, so I took
a picture of the screen so you
 could see Ann Patchett too.

  • It's a relief to talk to librarians because I know you are with me; you like reading.
  • Told how she began her involvement with the Nashville Public Library because the director was her neighbor.
  • She told a funny story about how she joined the library's Foundation Board.
  • November 2011 that woman retired from the library. It was the same month Ann opened her book store-- Parnassus Books.  Now that director works for Ann.
  • This woman, Donna, said the reason I became a librarian was because I loved to read and put books into people's hands, but once I got to be the Director of a library system I got too far away from that.  Moving to the book store brought her back to that key service, putting books in people's hands.
  • Ann has 1 hobby-- I read.  That is it. Publishers want me to have interesting life stories to share on their websites or use in interviews, but I have spent my life on the couch reading.  My made up characters have interesting stories, but not me.
  • Now with opening Parnassus Books, I have finally done something interesting. Now everyone has something to ask me. Her partner does the nitty gritty, day to day work and she is the public face to promote it.
  • The thing I love best about the book store is that my life time hobby of lying on the couch reading is now useful.  The workers at the store are all too busy working, I am the only one reading, so I write a lot of the reviews.
  • Now I walk around the store and put good books in customer's hands.  I don't even care about selling the book, I want to share the experience of a good book.
  • You don't have to sell the new books.  I press old books on people.  [Becky: I love the backlist] Act One by Moss Hart is her favorite to give out.
  • I also take bad books away from people and give them something better.
  • They have an Ann recommends shelf.
  • She talked about doing real RA stuff. She told stories about talking with customers about the best books for them. It was inspiring.
  • The joy of my life is reading, much more than writing.
  • Sometimes I feel like I am standing in a river of books and I just need to get out before I drown. Then you need a book you love to pull you out and rescue you, makes you want to dive back in.
  • She talked about Saul Bellow's Humboldt's Gift. I read it years ago.  She is right though, it is an older book that is worth the time of today's reader.
  • She gets big authors at her store, so when she has a larger group the library hosts them.
  • SInce I know every author or their agent or their publish. So we get authors coming to Nashville now who never came before.  I feel like my life has become a big Mafia deal.  We host these big authors at the library.
  • Her suggestion to us is to find your local book store people and invite them to lunch. See if you can work together. There is not an unlimited readership, so we need to work together to stoke the biggest fire.
  • Also, if author is already on tour you should be able to get them into the library for FREE.
  • She talked about the post card you saw above. They put out their recommended reads on those postcards and just change the type on the back when necessary.  Here is the current list on the back of the postcard we all got. Here is what is on the back.
  • She then proceeded to book talk the list to us.  I would suggest all of these titles.  Specifically she mentioned The All of It and said it sells better than her books at the store.  Only 130 pages, but brilliant.  Great for a summer book club.
  • She also said that Where's You Go Bernadette is best described as if David Foster Wallace wrote a Nancy Drew novel.  That was great! Here's my review of it too.
  • Ann also felt like Casual Vacancy was the best book written last year.  Everyone she forced to read it has loved it.  Ann interviews Rowling at her only US appearance.  At first Ann thought she shouldn't do the interview because she had never read Harry Potter. They wanted that. They wanted a big name interviewer that would judge the book on its own merit.
  • Notice that she mixes old and new titles. This is what I try to do in my work.  This is what libraries are great at. I am glad she is doing it too.
  • Her desire together with people and ask what they are reading is "blood" for me.  And it gets worse as I get older.  My world is narrowing and reading is all I want to do.

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