Thirty-four teens from the Mock Newbery and Mock Printz book clubs at Eva Perry Regional Library traveled to Washington, D.C., in June 2010 for the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference . The teens cruised the conference’s exhibit hall for two days, meeting favorite authors and gathering advance reader copies of upcoming releases. Many authors and librarians attending the conference recognized members of the group from their club t-shirts, and several of them generously offered the teens additional books and signed their t-shirts.
The Mock Newbery Book Club attended the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet, where they enjoyed an exclusive meeting with Kekla Magoon, the author of their 2010 Mock Newberry winner. “Hearing Kekla Magoon talk about writing The Rock and the River was one of the highlights of my trip,” remarked a member of the Mock Newbery club.
The Mock Printz Book club attended the Printz Reception at the convention, and participated in the “Save Our Libraries” march on the Capitol.
The trip was coordinated by Valerie Nicholson, winner of the 2009 YALSA MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, and an Eva Perry Regional Library employee. Nicholson has taken similar groups to both the 2002 and 2007 ALA Annual Conferences. “Taking a solitary activity like reading, and relating it not only to their peers but the ALA world, makes a huge impact on these teens,” she explained.
During the trip the teens learned that authors can change people’s opinions, that the field of Library Science is vast and reaches far beyond the local library, and that the ALA is a vibrant organization promoting all types of library service. The ALA Convention was truly the ultimate teen program.