I spent my Saturday off in Baltimore for Books for the Beast, a teen literature conference. I’ve been facilitating book discussions at Beast for years. They must be desperate for people to work the conference if they keep inviting me back. I’m the least exciting facilitator in the history of facilitators. I’m glad they do, though, because I love the event.
I started the day with free breakfast and coffee and seeing friends I don’t see all the time. Breakfast was followed by the first keynote speaker, Elizabeth Acevedo. If you have not read The Poet X do it now. I would recommend the audio. She reads it and it is phenomenal. She was a great speaker and it was a great way to start the day.
Then came the one group I was assigned to facilitate. We had five books to read and we should have a mix of teens and adults in the group discussion. Apparently, my teens opted to go to other groups with friends as I had none. That was disappointing as I love hearing the teen perspective and didn’t really need more time talking to librarians. I’m a very laid back facilitator. My one rule is don’t trash the book before the discussion begins. Other than that, I want it to be a conversation and I only step in if someone goes off-topic too much or dominates the conversation. I think it was a successful group if I barely need to talk. This was a successful group. I sometimes wonder, though, if people prefer the facilitators who ask a lot of questions and guide the discussion more. That’s what I had in the session I attended in the afternoon. I guess they don’t get complaints about me if they keep asking me back. Or they are desperate. It’s a toss-up. The group was followed by lunch outside with friends and then another discussion group.
The afternoon discussion group was followed by another speaker. This one was Alex London. He is a local guy who went to high school across the street from where we had the conference. He was very funny and I enjoyed his talk. I’ve never read any of his books, but after hearing him speak I feel like I would enjoy them. They then gave us a snack and sent us on our way home.
It is always a good day. A day of authors and books and seeing friends I from the library world. I wish it wasn’t only every other year.