Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Children's Book Festival

Today I am heading to Hattiesburg to attend the much anticipated 44th Annual Fay B Kaigler Children's Book Festival. The Festival was founded in 1968 and is sponsored by the University of Southern Mississippi. What started out as a conference for those interested in writing, illustrating, and publishing of children's books grew to include talks by award winning authors and illustrators, as well as seminars for library science students and professional librarians from both schools and public libraries.

Although I have been working here at the Armstrong Library for nearly eight years, I was always under the impression the Book Festival was strictly for children's librarians and didn't think there would be much for a teen services librarian. However, I went last year, and boy, was I wrong! I had the most wonderful time meeting other librarians, listening to inspirational keynote speakers, and most importantly, meeting the actual authors and illustrators of BOTH children and teen books! And of course, there is nothing more fun than shopping for new books for the Library collection.

I waited in long lines for several hours just to get my books signed and a picture with the author. I was so excited to meet Richard Peck, who happened to be an author I loved from my days as a teenager, that afterwards I had to go back to my hotel room and rest.

Sharon Draper, an African American author whose books are always flying off my shelves, delivered an inspiring message about putting the right book into the hands of children and watching them bloom into lifetime readers.

My bags are packed, hotel reservations made, and I am armed with my schedule and comfy shoes ready to endure the long lines to meet this years Southern Medallion winner T A Barron, author of The Last Years of Merlin Trilogy. I'll give you a report when I get back. 

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