Librarian Survives Vegas
After three days at the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas, Susan and I felt like trapped players in an adult video game. As Woody Allen once said, “Vegas is a city dedicated to greed and bad taste,” an observation as accurate now as it was when Bugsy Siegel moved the Mob west.Like a couple of foreign bumpkins, witnesses to uncontrolled drunkenness, half dressed women wearing six inch heels and stretchy stuff meant for someone five sizes smaller, not to mention flatbed trucks with A frame ads telling onlookers that a professional masseuse could be sent to their room right now, this minute, for a massage–in the face of all this, Susan and I had a fabulous three days. About the massage marketing machinery–there must be thousands of pulled muscles each day; working the slots, playing golf, twisted necks while gawking at a parade of people from another planet, or running every few minutes for another drink. This marketing message was hammered home by a squad of little old ladies walking the streets with helium filled balloons with the same ads. Not to be outdone by baseball playing cards littering the sidewalks with the same kind adverts, and splendid pics to boot. I never collected playing cards like this when I was a kid. So what does a parent say to a kid–a kid who has been taken to this city with the adult promise of a fun time–when the kid wants to add this special kind of playing card to his collection? “Give me that card son,” says the dad, to impress the wife his lack of interest, then secretively slipping the card into his back pocket. Do not think for one minute, librarian Bob was in any way distracted from the library conference task at hand. I was but a humble observer, guarded and guided by the lovely Susan, and most fantastic friend, super AISR librarian Kelly. What a pleasure to catch up and hear about all the wonderful workings of our former life in a different kind of desert setting. Never, was the pressure of airline weight restrictions more insidious than in these three days. In this city where lust is worshipped. We promised ourselves a degree of self-control. You might have guessed, lust ruled the day–book lust, fifty added pounds of sheer, unadulterated, book binging. It could have been worse. Kelly was the best part of the conference, followed by Marcus Zusak, John Scieska, Lois Lowery, and Jeff Bridges–star of soon to be released The Giver. Jeff was fabulous. All winners of this year’s Prinz award were okay, but Rainbow Rowell, author of my favorite book this year–Eleanor and Park, reminded me of Libba Bray, ’nuff said. Vegas–love it when we get there, love it when we leave. I was again reminded why I love this job, and as a newly published author, I was inspired and validated by all the author presentations I attended.