Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ALA Midwinter 2013: Financials and General List of Obsessively Detailed Stuff I did

This is what my conference cost me and what I did there. Please note this is not a criticism of anybody who could not afford to go, could afford to go, spent more than I did, spent less than I did, or did something different. This isn't even the same as what I did at the last two Midwinters I was able to attend (San Diego and Boston). For one thing, I had regular meals. Also, the Roosevelt Hotel where we stayed was AWESOME. My library gave me Friday and Monday off from work. I was not compensated for Saturday-Sunday or the half of Tuesday I spent traveling. I seem to fall midway between those who were paid every day they were traveling and conferencing and those who had to take vacation days for all of it, so I am content. This is what my library did before and I think it's reasonable.

Financials (because, admit it, you really want to know how much money I spent)
  • $110 Membership in ALA and ALSC (This is the first year I've been a member - it gets more expensive)
  • $333 Bundled registration for midwinter and annual (reimbursed by my library)
  • $281 Air fare to and from Seattle
  • $69 (roundtrip bus fare from airport to Beloit and fee for leaving my car in their park 'n' ride)
  • $50 Checked bag both ways (first way it had my mini suitcase inside it, going back they were both full of books!)
  • $27 (shuttle from airport to hotel and back again)
  • $209 Hotel (my half - shared with Sara the Librarian)
  • $28 (misc. items from a crochet hook to lollipops, toothpaste to nuts for the trip)
  • $7 postage for posters (my library would have reimbursed me for this, but I cannot find the receipt anywhere!)
  • $120 food. This was a bit more than I had hoped to spend, I was trying to keep it under $100, but it's not bad for the 8 meals I ate (I didn't bother with food other than some nuts after breakfast on Monday until I got home Tuesday afternoon.)
  • $30 Purchase of books at conference (reimbursed by my library)
Now, as to what I did...
  • We left around 6:15 on Friday morning and made our way to the O'Hare airport via bus at Beloit. It was snowing. We arrived in Seattle around 2, checked in, registered, and had a very late lunch or early dinner, depending on how you look at it, at the Cheesecake Factory. Then we explored the exhibits for the first time (really the first time for Sara the Librarian!)
  • We went to dinner with my committee at Tango. We discussed our libraries, our lives, blogging and review copies, STEM, after school programs, and a little about the topics our committee would be tackling on Sunday. Later had a long discussion about choosing and joining committees and potential ALSC presidents as we walked back to our hotel with another committee member (clarification: Sara the Librarian is not on my committee, she just came to observe)
  • On Saturday, we dragged ourselves out of bed (time change!) and got crepes for breakfast, then went to the discussion on Dewey vs. Genre. It was, however, VERY full. We decided we didn't feel like sitting on the floor. We went to a publisher Book Buzz instead (where they present their upcoming list) and then to the exhibits, where we lost each other. I had a long talk with Peachtree, one of my favorite small publishers, about upcoming easy nonfiction and after we found each other again we stopped off at Simply Read Books for a long time, they are a small publisher from Canada with much awesomeness. Spent a long time looking at the various Make kits, then we went and got lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
  • Yes, we are aware Seattle has much awesome food. Every time people asked where we were eating, I would say "I have a very tight budget" then they would recommend places where the appetizers cost my entire budget for a whole meal. Clearly, my idea of affordable is not the generally accepted one.
  • We returned to the exhibits and spent some time at the small press exhibit talking to the OwlKids representative, who is a friend of Jean Little! Small moment of fan awesomeness here.
  • We talked to Playaway about their View products (it's not for us, but I just smile and nod), introduced Sara to Zest Books, and went back to Make to discuss which kits my library needs.
  • I spent the evening reviewing my committee information and websites, discussing our schedule for Sunday and Monday, and we had appetizers and dessert for dinner at, yes, the Cheesecake Factory (did I mention it was down the street?)
  • Sunday was committee day! My committee didn't start until 9:30, so we had time for breakfast (oh the yumminess of crepes! Also the affordableness!)
  • The committee was awesome. Sara observed, I took notes, lots of people stopped by, and we had the most fun committee ever! Also, we stayed longer than anyone else. A few ideas outside our committee work - putting new book posters in bathrooms, putting rhymes and fingerplays over changing tables, and lots of trading of ideas and information.
  • We then went back to the exhibits, talked to Simply Read books again for a while, I did some networking for board books for review with a small publisher and about 3:00 we went for lunner (you know where). We missed most of the Penguin presentation (our waiter disappeared and it took us forever to find him and get out) but we came in time to get their massive catalogs. Then there was a presentation from Scholastic and I spent some time talking to them about their new Branch series for beginning readers.
  • Sara and I had a ripping party with the Penguin catalogs, then she went to a showing of Fat Kid Rules the World and I transcribed my 7 1/2 pages of notes from the committee meeting.
  • Monday! Last day! Going the awards is a LOT more fun when you go with people! We went with my committee and some bloggers I grabbed at the last minute to join us. BOMB DESERVES ALL THE SHINY, YAYYYYY!!! Then we went out to breakfast with some No Flying No Tights folks at Lola's (we were going to Dahlia Cafe, but I guess they are just a bakery or something) and friends. The ideas flowed like milk and many business cards were exchanged. I can't wait to get the info on the mini-weapons program!
  • We zipped back to the hotel, then to the exhibits again, wandered through and got the last-minute free books, I mailed my posters, then we had a little sight-seeing. We went to See's Candy (lollipops for me!) and Evolution (their strawberry lemonade was vastly inferior to their grapefruit juice). Then we went back to the hotel and figured out our travel plans, then walked back to Dahlia for treats (for Sara). The awesome Dahlia people found me a sewing shop where I could find a crochet hook and I stopped at a World Market (no turkish delight, alas). We stopped by a Barnes and Noble and I snapped a bunch of pictures with my phone, then our trip was over.
  • And I spent from 5:30pm on Monday to 12:15pm on Tuesday on planes, in airports, and on buses, but that's another story.


Ms. Yingling said...

I'm shooting for attending in 2015. It's not so much the cost, just the logisitics. I have to convince myself that the world will not fall apart if I stray from Ohio!

Jennifer said...

Well, not to discourage you, but as far as I can tell the world DID fall apart while I was gone! The middle schoolers can sense when we are understaffed and they were right royal stinkers. I came back to in inbox full of "I'm calling parents" and lists of banned kids. Plus multiple requests and "where are you?s" from my outreach partners.