So what are Publishers Pushing? Or: A Public Library Association Conference Adventure.

My alternative title might make this post sound more grandiose than it is, but if you’ve already fallen for the clickbait, you may as well read the rest of the post, right? I’m a nerd, I make no attempt to hide or apologize for this fact. And it should be evident that one of my flavours of nerddom is library nerd. So imagine my elation when my application for Vaughan Public Library to send me to the Public Library Association Conference was approved. VPL coordinated with libraries across southern Ontario to send a busload of librarians across the border and down to Columbus, Ohio, for three days of library programming and learning. It was a blast, and I’ve come back with ideas I can use for my programs and things that I need to talk to people higher up to implement. Sorry, there are no spoilers about any of that, but since VPL is constantly innovating, you shouldn’t be at all surprised when new things happen; just astonished by what they are.

The cover of Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman, Illustrated by Heather Fox. Read this book. I don't care if it's a picture book. Read it! It's amazing and hilarious and laughter is good for you.

So, why am I even mentioning this if I won’t divulge what I learned? Because alongside the informative lessons was a giant vendor hall packed with all kinds of neat stuff. Including therapy dogs! I very much want some of it for my own branch, but precisely what I’m hoping for is another thing I’m keeping hush-hush1. Aside from the doggos and cool STEAM stuff, though, there were a whole lot of publishers there giving out books. Sometimes advance copies, sometimes signed copies, sometimes just regular copies, but the point is: I brought back a whole bunch of books. Piles of books. More books than any librarian should ever collect2. But it’s soooooo hard to say no to a free book! And, to be fair, I mostly tried to be a good uncle and took books for my..? I had to look this one up: Niblings. So, I don’t have to worry about storing them, and get to thrust that issue on my siblings while still being the cool uncle.

The Cover of How to Age Disgracefully by Clare Pooley

Not everything I collected has turned up in our catalogue, but How to Age Disgracefully shows up as on order, and it sounds like a riot. I picked it up because I remember enjoying The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared when I read it for a book club I ran many years ago, in the before times. The title of this new book must have reminded me of that laugh-out-loud odyssey. After taking some time to figure out what the book really is3, I realized my initial assessment was reasonably close to the mark: they’re both books about eccentric seniors with fascinating histories getting up to no good. In 100-Year-Old Man, we follow our titular character as he escapes his nursing home before his birthday party because the director won’t let him have any vodka, and we wind up touring the world with the aging explosives expert. In How to Age Disgracefully, the story trades globe-trotting for an ensemble cast as a Senior Citizen’s Social Club teams up with their daycare neighbours to save the aging community centre they meet up in from being sold by the city council. Questionable tactics and hijinks ensue. It sounds like a good time, and I look forward to reaching it on my reading list. We have other Clare Pooley novels in the catalogue, and they sound just as entertaining and heartfelt. So, if you want something in that category and can’t wait for this one to come in, try one of her previous books.

The Cover of Matt Sprouts and The Curse of the Ten Broken Toes by Matt Eicheldinger

Moving to a book I grabbed for the niblings, Matt Sprouts and The Curse of the Ten Broken Toes looks to be a great middle-grade read for the younger ones, and it’s already proving popular on our shelves. Written by Middle school teacher Matt Eicheldinger, the story follows sixth grader Matt Sprouts as he, no spoilers because it’s in the title, breaks all his toes because of a curse he gets for accidentally hurting his neighbour, Jenna. On top of solving the mystery of the curse, Matt has to deal with all kinds of middle school problems, like a younger sibling, beating the best soccer team, and a girl who seems to like him. Simple black-and-white line drawings are interspersed throughout the text, though they are less frequent than in other books of this style, with one or two every few pages. It promises to be a fun read for the niblings, and the copy they’re getting has the author’s signature, since he was at the publisher’s booth as I wandered by.

The cover of Chandra by Vita Ayala.

Finally, a bit of Magic. And yes, that’s capitalized for a reason. Magic the Gathering began as a collectible card game and is still going strong to this day. However, as with many large media franchises, it has branched out from its original form to encompass several facets. Relevant to this post are the MtG comics available on Hoopla. And the one graphic novel we have on our shelves. So what can you expect from these? Magic and mayhem are given since the card game is a duel between players casting spells and summoning creatures to whittle away at their opponent’s lives. But intrigue and dimension hopping are also up there since the game’s powerful Planeswalkers are the main characters of our story and the targets of an assassination plot. “But wait!” I hear you say, “If this is digital, how did you get it from a booth?”. Which is a fair point; I didn’t get it from a booth. Hoopla and other vendors sponsored some parties after each day of the conference, and they happened to give out a physical copy of a MtG comic. So… this post isn’t sponsored, but thanks, Hoopla, for giving me something to write about.

I did pick up more, lots more, but I’m keeping my post to things we have in our collection, so I’ll likely make another one of these if other stuff I’ve picked up makes it onto our shelves. Until then, happy reading!

1 Okay, given my position, I’m fine letting you all know my wishes are STEAM-related

2 This is a lie. There is no upper limit on this statistic. 

3 Yes, I judged a book by its cover

About Adam

Adam is a Digital Creation Specialist - Children who never has enough shelf space for his board game collection, wall space for his photographs, or stomach space for his baking. Once he’s got a book in his clutches (preferably a fantasy, or humorous non-fiction one) absolutely nothing else is getting done that day. Working in a library is a blessing and a curse to his free time.  |  Meet the team