The heartiest hand went to ALSC's Local Arrangements committee at this year's Newbery-Caldecott banquet, and it was well-deserved. ALA in general did a great job, I thought, of handling the challenges of a New Orleans meeting, as did New Orleans itself. (This is the first conference at which I saw souvenir t-shirts for librarians on sale in local shops, God love 'em. Which reminds me of my longstanding favorite exhibit hall anecdote. Several years ago at conference, I watched a woman coming down the aisle. Each hand held overstuffed bags of posters, etc., and her badge was swathed with stickers and ribbons denoting her allegiance to various ALA causes and factions. She was of a certain age and weight and vision-impairment and her hair was all over the place. She wore a t-shirt that read: "NOBODY KNOWS I'M A LIBRARIAN." Uh-huh.)
ALSC President Ellen Fader graciously hosted the evening; glamorously, too, with her hair a subtle dark purple haze (go ahead, sing) to match her gown. Fabulous under the lights, darling. The best outfit on the floor was Nina Lindsay's red and gold leather mask; she looked like something from the infamous party scene in Eyes Wide Shut. When I leaned in to tell her that all her get-up lacked was a whip, I inadvertently whacked a poor waiter right in the shin with the heavy heel of my big-boy shoe, earning me murderous looks for the rest of the evening. I hope he didn't spit in my bananas foster. Still, it was delicious.
The speeches went well, and reminded me again of the difference between speech and print--I had read the speeches months ago, because we print them in the July/August issue, but it wasn't until he stood-and-delivered that I saw how funny (in a good way) Raschka's speech was. The same thing happened last year, where Kate DiCamillo's expert delivery gave a deadpan hilarity to her words (I should have known then that she could be scary.) Lynne Rae Perkins looked and sounded beautiful, but her speech has a lot of layers that I'm glad people will be able to appreciate when they read it.
While I miss the old "Stand and Be Recognized!" line that the Honors winners used to get, it was fun watching them parade to the stage; first prize goes to Shannon Hale, coltish in red, sprinting and beaming to get her due.
I had meant to continue this entry in the exhibit hall, where wireless access is proudly trumpeted but actually only spottily available if you go out into the lobby and sit by the door (get with the times, ALA), but will continue when I get back to Boston. See you then.