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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meeting of the Ritas

Last Friday, at the NYLA YSS Spring Conference, three co-panelists and I presented booktalks for an audience of about 50 fellow youth services librarians. Our topic was "In Be-'Tween' Reads" (see what they did there?) It seemed to go over well, but I can never tell with these things. At the very least, no one who attended our presentation fell asleep. You really can't ask for more than that. The other workshops I attended that day were interesting and informative, and it was nice to talk shop with librarians from various places around New York.

But! The best part of the day (besides the chocolate cake they served after lunch) was meeting the lovely Rita Williams-Garcia, who is a fabulous writer and an all-around nice lady. At the conference, I bought a copy of Jumped and approached the signing table. In the interest of having something to say other than the usual awkward comment about how I like an author's books, I planned to play up the old "We have the same name!" angle à la Seinfeld:

JERRY: "Jerry Lewis is gonna be at this Friar's Club roast I'm going to next week. Now I have an 'in' to strike up a conversation with him."

GEORGE: "You already have an in. You have the same first name!...Jerry!"

JERRY: "Oh, that'll intrigue him."

I admit, it wasn't exactly the best plan. However, Ms. Williams-Garcia beat me to the punch and, being a seasoned book-signer, looked at my badge to see what my name was. Her response was an animated "Hey! Your name is Rita too!" And so began a friendship that I'm sure will last forever.

See! She'll look me up in Brooklyn! BFF!

Okay, maybe not. But we did have a nice little chat, and her luncheon speech at the conference was both entertaining and inspiring. Be sure to check out her books! 

On top of everything else, as a gift for participating on the panel, I was given a nice blue water bottle (which will certainly be more appropriate than the one I currently have that says "What Makes You Think This is Water?") Yay for library conferences! 

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