Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Book Events in Boston and Baltimore

As we approach Thanksgiving and eventually finals for the Fall 2022 semester, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the book-themed events I’ve attended this semester. I’d like to highlight the following three: 

First was the Boston Book Festival, which happened on October 29. (See Claire’s post about it if you’d like another perspective.) I went as an attendee in the morning and a volunteer in the afternoon. I had a chance to go to a comics panel at the Boston Architectural College which I’ve walked past many times but have never gone into. The inside of the building is very visually appealing with displays of architectural models, hardwood, and a spiral staircase. The event space was large despite the small number of attendees, the book sale table was well-stocked, the authors had a great conversation, and the questions asked to the authors were engaging. I ended up buying two young adult graphic novels after this event. Next, I went to the young adult horror event in Teen Central, which is the teen space in the central location of the Boston Public Library. I interned in this space last semester so it was really nice to see staff members I had not connected with in person since May 2022. The audience was much larger for this event, the authors were more prominent, and the space had a very different vibe. I even got to wave hello to my children’s literature professor (Dr. Montgomery) who was there to listen to the authors herself. She has great taste so I knew it would be a worthwhile event! Following that panel was my free volunteer lunch and then my placement with the Children’s Passport program. I handed out passports to any family I spotted with young children, and this program encouraged them to engage with different tables in Copley Square to get the most out of the festival. When my passports ran out, I got to sit with Clare (the Simmons Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions) at the Simmons table to promote the Library Science and Children’s Literature programs. We gave away SO many pencils, and I loved meeting new people since it is easier for me to talk to complete strangers. I closed out my time at the Book Fest with the Malinda Lo event at the Old South Church. I had already seen Malinda at the Simmons Community Reads event, but she signed my books at the Book Fest and chat with me for a few minutes before her event started. Overall, it was a GREAT Saturday and I am already looking forward to next year! 

Second was the Framingham Swiacki Children’s Literature Festival on November 2. I got to attend this event at a steep discount, thanks to Dr. Mercier letting us know about this opportunity. I took the commuter rail from Boston to Framingham on a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon to a town I had never visited before. (It felt a lot like Malden to me.) I got to meet authors Raúl the Third and Erin Entrada Kelly, who signed my newly purchased books. Dr. Mercier gave a stellar presentation on “What’s New in Children’s Literature,” giving me even more “To Be Read” titles. We ate a delicious dinner after that, followed by a presentation by Courtney Waring, the Education Director at the Eric Carle Museum. I was already planning on taking at least one class there as I have the privilege of doing that as a Children’s Literature MA student. Courtney’s presentation sealed the deal on that and even made me want to apply for a summer internship at the museum. We closed out the night with presentations and a Q&A from Erin and Raúl. I didn’t know too much about them before this festival, but now I know that they are both winning personalities with great senses of humor and stunning collections of children’s books. I am excited to continue to follow them as they tirelessly publish new books. 

Finally, I last attended the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Symposium in Baltimore, MD on November 4-6. This was one of my favorite weekends ever which is something that I do not say lightly. Not only was it empowering to travel alone, but it was euphoric to meet hundreds of other young adult services librarians from all over the country. The energy, solidarity, and empathy of the crowd could be felt at all points of this event. I got business cards from many of the presenters and new friends that I met. Most of the people that I talked to were from Michigan, the Carolinas, or California. I was shocked to not meet more Northeasterners, but the crowd varies from year to year. In addition to many great sessions that I attended, I got to visit the Enoch Pratt Public Library (which I will apply to for a job post-graduation), Blue Agave (a new favorite Mexican restaurants), Bar 1801 (which has some of the grooviest jazz I’ve listened to in a while), and Top of the World Observation (a skydeck to see Baltimore from four angles, 27 floors up). I added an extra afternoon and evening to my trip so I could get a new tattoo and see the jazz open jam which I am so glad that I did. I have a list of places I would like to visit on my next trip to Baltimore which will not be during the summer because it is so hot and humid. Overall, this trip went WAY better than I thought it would! You can see more content from this event by looking at #yalsa22 on Twitter and Instagram. Librarians are known for using Twitter, and I found a lot of great content on that platform.       

I am so ecstatic that the East Coast has so many book and library events that I can go to! Thanks to the Simmons professional development fund and emails from Simmons faculty, I am able to attend these events at a steeply discounted rate. I cannot wait to see what other events I am able to attend for the tail end of 2022!