IBPA Report from the Public Library Association Conference 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Following is an excerpt from a report, written by Assistant Director Lisa Krebs, on IBPA’s recent attendance at the PLA Conference. More than 125 members exhibited their books in the IBPA booth and many of those also participated in in-booth autographing sessions. Each member who exhibited their title received a full report on the show as well as contact information for the more than 500 librarians who visited the IBPA booth. See the conference in photos on IBPA’s Facebook page and browse the color catalogue of the titles at the IBPA site here.
According to Publishers Weekly (3/23/12): More than 8,700 attendees and over 400 exhibitors gathered in Philadelphia, March 13–17, for the Public Library Association 2012 Biennial Conference, and despite lingering discord with publishers over e-books and ever-tightening budget constraints, the mood of the show was upbeat, with a strong slate of popular authors, keynote speakers, and a professional program that focused on advocacy and, of course, books.
From the PLA press release: “As society continues to change the way it consumes information, libraries are on the front lines when it comes to adopting new technologies,” said PLA president Marcia Warner, director of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library. “The PLA Conference offers librarians from across the nation an opportunity to discuss the changing nature of public libraries and their evolving role in the communities they serve.”
The PLA is one of the most informative shows IBPA attends. The hours are moderate, and the librarians are very focused on collecting information. The next show, PLA’s 15th National Conference will be March 11-15, 2014, in Indianapolis, IN.
As an every other year show, the PLA “travels” the coasts each conference. This time it was the on the East Coast in Philadelphia, PA. IBPA had a good location near the entrance of the show and close to some popular library vendors. The PLA show is primarily an information gathering show and librarians are “the” information gatherers. Most librarians are very specific in their needs and we help them fill out their lists with the books we had on hand at the booth. Others stand in a certain genre for a period of time, make a detailed list and move on with precision.
Librarians are genuinely interested in the product from independent publishers. Every year, we are approached at the booth by librarians who receive our mailings and tell us how much they appreciate how “one-of-a-kind” and specialized small press titles can be. As one librarian put it, “Independent publishers are the ones with cutting-edge and unique product.” Some librarians gravitated towards the booth just because they saw the word “independent” and wanted to show support and have a look.
It was also great to hear that the librarians are using and appreciate the IBPA flyer programs. Many told us that they pass the fliers to their colleagues and hold onto them for future purchases for their collections. This year, we took a straw poll about how these librarian specialists prefer to receive catalogs and information about your titles – Print or Email? We asked men and women, new and seasoned and the answer was the same. Surprisingly, while a few like getting email catalogs, the result was two-to-one in favor of still receiving print.
Here are some of the comments:
- “I prefer print because I like to mark it up.”
- “I get too many emails—prefer print.”
- “Print catalogues stack up in my office—I’d much rather have e-catalogues”
- “No matter what the format, easy ISBN access is critical.”
- “I can more easily share print catalogues with my colleagues.”
Some interesting notes from the show:
- Send posters to libraries, lots of posters – with useful information and web addresses. Librarians will definitely put them up, especially if it ties in with a certain week, month or holiday.
- A review from one of the following magazines is the stamp of approval that is often needed to write a purchase order: Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Booklist. Other magazines, newspapers and websites are used as well, but one of these magazines will definitely influence a purchase. Therefore, if you have received a review in any of these publications, please make sure it is prominent in any promotion you send to the library.
- Moreover, reviews in general are very necessary for acquisition. It is suggested to get reviews from your local librarian, experts in your field, people of merit in your industry or genre. Even other publishers, if they are well known in the genre, are good review sources.
- “Independent” is “in” and has been popular for librarians, but especially now. So, make sure that your paperwork, brochures, website, etc. contain the words “Independent” and “Indie” publisher.
Specific interests voiced this year were in specific health issues, young adult and reference titles, although the entire stand received well-deserved attention.
The books at the IBPA booth this year were donated to Better World Books after the show. All proceeds from the books will go to help generate funding for Plan USA’s relief and educational programs in Haiti. Plan USA has been working in Haiti since 1973. They were recently selected by the Haitian government to implement the country’s education restoration effort alongside the Ministry of Education, UN agencies, local and international NGO partner.
View the PLA Facebook page with photos.