Reaching Forward Conference Review And Free Stuff Brag

Reaching Forward Blog
On Friday, May 9 I attended a Library Conference called Reaching Forward. This is a huge deal for me to nerd out with other book lovers and not-quite-librarians, like myself. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but this conference definitely is not it. For good, I should add. It exceeded my expectations for good. Here’s a walk-through of my day.

I was supposed to be at the house of one of my co-workers and then all four of us would go together. The conference doors open at 8, so we were to meet at 7:30 to give us enough time. Silly me was thinking that early morning traffic is non-existent when I, myself, am not going to regular work. Mistake. There was traffic, of course. Everyone was going super slower than usual too on account of rain. (HOLY CRAP! What’s this stuff that’s falling from the sky? I need to go at least 10mph under the speed limit just to be safe. – All drivers everywhere) Off to a great start, I got there late. We zoomed to the conference and made it in plenty of time. On our arrival we were given a messenger bag and led into a big ballroom to get our breakfast. (I snagged up a mini bagel, mini apple danish, and the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life!) Sitting down, I went through my loot. 🙂 Best part about conference is the free loot (and all the experience, of course). In the bag was: 1. Lanyard for our badges. 2. Reaching Forward pin. 3. Pen. 4. Pad of paper. 5. Chapstick. 6. Leather portfolio, complete with notebook pad. I was giddy.

After a speech explaining the growth each year, and that this is the 25th anniversary, we were off to our first session. I went to “Passionate Promise: Storytelling for Young Adults”, with Janice Del Negro as the speaker. It was actually really cool. Talked about how to be a storyteller with the older, moody adolescents and how to keep them engaged. I went to this session with a co-worker and we decided to do a scary storytelling program in October for Halloween. I’m pumped.

With my new pumped energy, I saunter on over to the next session. (I did some in-between stuff that I’ll talk about later.) This session was called “The Next Big Thing: Hot Debut Novels” and had Lynnane Pearson from Skokie Public Library as a speaker. Every time she said “debut” I cringed a bit. She added the “t” sound at the end and it just hit me up the side of the head every time. In this session, she went through a ton of books in different genres that were the first books from an author. The coolest part was that she had giveaways of either early release copies of books she talked about or books that recently were out on the market. (I got Invisible City by Julia Dahl.) Boo-yah. More free stuff. (Loving this convention more and more.) This session basically was me writing down all the books she said, so I can add them to my goodreads “To Read” shelf.

With my new-book glow, I headed back to the ballroom for lunch. Lunch is an understatement. It was more of a feast. Salad, bread, chicken kabob, carrots and green beans, rice, cheesecake, chocolate cake, chocolate covered strawberries, and the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. Award were presented. Speeches were given. Fire alarms went off. (This really happened. It only lasted about two minutes and we didn’t get a chance to leave before it was resolved. Yes, I shoved the rest of the cake in my face. I wasn’t about to leave that alone.) So, now that I’m nice and ready for a nap, it’s off to the third session.

“Not Just For Teens: YA and New Adult Books for Adults”, speaker Lynnanne Pearson, talked about young adult books that had adult appeal as well. There were a few that I had already read like the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Antigoddess, and the Cinder series. Pearson also discussed a new upcoming genre called New Adult. Basically, she described it as young adult books, but with more sex. The examples she gave makes me think that I’ll pass on this one. They all seemed like the O.C. (TV show) or (I don’t even know) trashy novels. Not my thing.

With session four came “Effective Latino Engagement Techniques” with Elizabeth Stearns from Waukegan Public Library. The library I work at is in an area where a huge chunk of the population is Latino, so all my co-workers and I went to this one. Stearns explained how she got her community, which is mostly Mexican population, involved in the library. She talked about everything from getting volunteers to talk about their experiences around the neighborhoods, to having classes dedicated to the needs of the Patrons (ie. English classes).

Ok. Now that the learning part is out of the way, here’s the fun stuff. I didn’t just bolt to each session after one ended. There were a ton of different vendors set up that you could peruse. I got to pet a snake, turtle, and dragon-looking guy. I talked to a college about their online MLS program. Tried samples of different chocolates. Got a kitty bag. (Bag with a kitty on it, not a bag for a kitty that I don’t even have.) Looked at bats. Got our pictures taken in a photo booth. There was basically a ton of different places you could support and even have come in and do a program at the library.

So, how is this applicable to you? If your company has a convention or training or anything of that sort – go to it! Just do it. You might get free stuff. You’re getting paid to not work, and just have fun. You can network with other companies or others that are interested in the same things you are. You get to bond with your current co-workers. You’ll learn new things about your field or even about yourself. SO GO!

Alright, that about wraps it up. If you want me to post the huge list of debut novels and the YA/new adult books, leave me a comment. (Warning: there’s a ton and it will probably end up being a bonus post later in the week.)

Until later; Keep rockin!


3 thoughts on “Reaching Forward Conference Review And Free Stuff Brag

  1. […] list of “Hot Debut” novels or “YA/New Adult” books from my previous post (Reaching Forward Conference Review And Free Stuff Brag). Too bad. I’m going to post them anyway. Each title below is a link that goes to goodreads. […]


  2. […] I got from attending the Reaching Forward Conference. (You can read about my experience there in my blog post.) Again, like the previous Reaching Forward list, each bullet has a link. The link leads directly […]


  3. […] Story: I first got this book as a giveaway at the Reaching Forward Conference. Honestly, this book would have gone unnoticed by me if I was not given a free copy. The book is a […]


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