100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Instagramming ALA 2019: Part I

I had one goal for the 2019 American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington D.C.

My goal was to experience, for the first time, the landmark dedicated to my favorite president, Abraham Lincoln. You know the landmark I speak of:

Sure, I was also there to interview some children’s book makers for The Yarn podcast . . .

. . . and generally learn about how to be a better librarian, but more than anything I dreamed of laying eyes on those glorious sand courts I had only seen in photos, films, television shows, and textbooks.

Here’s how it all went down.

It’s become a running joke about how I hardly bring anything to the conference. Here’s my secret: plan exactly what you’re going to wear and don’t bring any options whatsoever. It works for me, but I don’t recommend it at all.

Say I have to pick up a shirt for the fancy Newbery/Caldecott/Legacy banquet on the way to the airport. Can I put that shirt in my bag?

I cannot. It goes in the side pouch. This is ridiculous.

I encountered my first traveling emergency when they searched my bag at the airport (my jumble of weird podcast recording equipment always makes the TSA suspicious). You see, I had so carefully packed that bag, that the sight of watching it opened and rummaged through nearly gave me a heart attack.

After the agent tried (and failed) to put things back in, I finally just said, “I’ll get it”, and did my best. Shout out to the zipper on this bag for not breaking.

I rewarded myself with a nice iced coffee. I might be incorrect here, but I guess the Starbucks straw ban is not in effect yet? Because they’re really straw-ing it up until that thing kicks in:

Bag back together and fully caffeinated, I was ready to get to D.C. (AKA, Land of Lincoln V-Ball Courts).

But first I had to check out the public library kiosk:

Still one of the best ideas ever.

Let the air travel begin! I saw some cool landforms from the plane:

What are they?

Oh, right – the Appalachian Mountains. Shoulda known.

I landed and got a taxi to the airport.

The only other time I’ve been to D.C. was when ALA was there almost 10 years ago. That trip was a quick in and out and I didn’t get to see the city at all.

On the drive in, I first spotted the Washington Monument:

Then we crossed the Potomac, went around a bend and . . .

. . . there they were. Honest Abe’s Beach V-Ball Courts. Dedicated in 1866 in honor of our 16th president’s lifelong love of high-intensity beach volleyball, the courts stand as a reminder that Abe Lincoln was basically the Phil Dalhausser of the 19th century.

Goal achieved much earlier than I had expected, I was at a crossroads. Should I ask the taxi driver to take me back to the airport to return home? Was there nothing left for me in this place?

No. I decided to attend the conference anyway.

I got to the hotel,

had dinner with pal Mr. Schu, and got ready for my first full day of conferencing.

That day began with breakfast. I painstakingly tried to recreate what I eat for breakfast every day – oatmeal and yogurt. I decided to get a little crazy and throw a croissant in there.

Welcome to the Washington Convention Center!

Interviews for The Yarn got rolling with Dave Eggers:

It was great to talk with him – and especially to hear how he began writing children’s books after years of writing for grown-ups.

Check back in tomorrow for Part II

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.