Monday, March 9, 2015

ALLA at Point Clear: Ya'll come!

I have spent the last year as president of the Alabama Library Association. The ne plus ultra of that position involves planning for our annual conference. We're holding this year's meeting in Point Clear, Alabama, April 7-10 at The Grand Hotel, a lovely antebellum place on Mobile Bay. It's really idyllic down there, and I think it will be the perfect getaway after our especially long hard winter. There's a superhero theme, and we're also partnering with the regional Southeastern Library Association, so it should be a happening conference.

I was totally charmed by our state's "East Coast" when I visited last spring, and the local committee has been hard at work and has recruited some fabulous author speakers, including Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series, Hester Bass, Beck McDowell, Gilbert Morris, and TK Thorne. I'm especially jazzed about the preconference with a local historian, who's going to talk about the Civil War landmarks on the bay, the welcome reception Tuesday night on the pier at sunset, and the President's Luncheon with Rachel Hawkins speaking and shrimp and grits on the menu (I don't eat shrimp, but I do appreciate the grits!). This year's Alabama Author Award Winners are stellar, too, and all of them will be there:

Nonfiction: Lily Ledbetter and Lanier Isom, Grace and grit: my fight for equal pay at Goodyear and beyond.
Fiction: Walter Bennett, Leaving Tuscaloosa
Children's: Lori Nichols, Maple
Young adult: S.J. Kincaid, Insignia

Last month, I happened to pick up Wendy Corsi Staub's thriller The Perfect Stranger, which has a Point Clear tie-in as the home of the one of the women in the online cancer support group and destination for a face-to-face meet-up. The character's daughter works at The Grand! That seemed such a happy omen for this conference.

I'll be pretty concentrated on this event for the next month, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed we break even, everyone enjoys the food and entertainment, and the range of sessions appeals to librarians of all stripes. And, despite my propensity for worrying, I think it's going to be a good one.

Jessica Hagy
Preregistration goes through March 29th, and while the conference block at The Grand has sold out, there are still some rooms available there at the rack rate and more affordable accommodations  at other Fairhope hotels, including the Hampton Inn, The Holiday Inn Express, and the Key West Inn.  I hope to see all my Alabama librarian friends there!

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