The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office will present twenty-six critically acclaimed and best-selling authors and poets on the LIVE! @ your library Reading Stage from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, and from 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 27, in the exhibits hall at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. Attendees are welcome to take a break from their busy conference schedules and listen to some of their favorite authors and poets read from and autograph their recent works.
We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and I thought I’d pass along The Guardian’s gift of short stories read by leading authors. Many of my favorite authors are included here, both as writer and reader. So make some hot chocolate, grab a blanket or add some logs to the fire, curl up on your favorite chair, put on your earphones, and enjoy. I hope you hear something that makes your season just a little brighter:
If you’re attending ALA Annual Conference, be sure to check out some of the poets and authors reading on the LIVE! @ your library Reading Stage, located at the end of the 2600 aisle in the exhibits hall. Every year, the ALA Public Programs Office presents readings on the LIVE! Stage in keeping with their mission of promoting cultural programming as an integral part of library service.
A new documentary film and biography, Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women, will help audiences explore Louisa May Alcott’s extraordinary life and times. The film was directed by Nancy Porter and written by Harriet Reisen. The companion biography of the same name was written by Harriet Reisen and published by Henry Holt and Company.
The past week saw another great thread in the Public Programs Office’s Public Programs Forum electronic discussion list, this time started by Marie Slaby, Urbana Regional Library, Frederick, Maryland. She wrote, “I’m looking for recommendations of famous living authors you’ve seen or hosted in your communities and would appeal to a broad audience. If money were no object, whom would you choose? Who not only gets them in the door, but also wows them once inside?"
On June 8, 2009, the ALA’s Great Stories CLUB sent me to Crossroads juvenile detention center in East New York, Brooklyn. ALA’s Lainie Castle put out a call to Penguin, my publisher, looking for the wonderful YA author Paul Volponi, to whom I am sometimes compared—a great compliment to me but maybe not so great for Mr. Volponi. Alas, Penguin’s author appearance coordinator, Emily Heddleson, said, “We don’t have Paul Volponi, but I can get you Paul Griffin. He will be more than happy to go.” And I was.
When author Paul Volponi learned that his book Black and White (Penguin, 2005) was included in the ALA Great Stories CLUB (GSC) grant program, he headed online right away to see how he could get involved. After finding the list of participating libraries, he contacted a few personally, offering to conduct conference calls with teens.
Two libraries have already taken advantage of his offer:
Booking authors for programs is trickier than ordering their books because you’re looking for a good reader, besides a good read. You may occasionally decide to book a less than great speaker that thrills your audience with their very presence, but you at least want to know what you’re getting into if at all possible.
This is one of those too-good-to-be-true things. If you think it would be impossible to book one of your favorite authors for a reading at your library, what would you think if it became possible to get not only one, but two?
Here’s the secret: authors often have good, better or best friends who are also writers, and because they all have busy schedules, they rarely see each other. The chance to spend time together AND do a reading at your library might be just the thing that gets them both to say yes.