Every year, I set aside some vacation and make my way to KidlitCon, wherever it may be. It's been in D.C., Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Seattle, and now Austin.
Other bloggers have done lovely roundups of the different sessions. Since I live-tweeted most of the sessions (see #kidlitcon13 for everybody's tweets) I won't attempt to be comprehensive, especially since the sessions aren't my primary reason for being there. They're useful and informative, don't get me wrong. The session on blogger burnout in particular gave me a lot to chew on, as did the session on diversity. I got to sharpen my tech skills and contemplate the future of blogging.
But my reason for being there was the people. Walking into the pre-con get-together and immediately getting a big hug from Pam of MotherReader, being able to say hello to Lee Wind and Jen Robinson for the first time in years, hanging out with Kelly Jensen of Stacked and Leila "Bookshelves of Doom" Roy and discussing the horrendous addiction that is Candy Crush (seriously, so many of us seemed to be playing it this weekend!), meeting Kim (also of Stacked), Sherry Early of Semicolon, and brand-new blogger Danielle of Delco Library Notes, and that was just in the first day! I also got to room with Sheila Ruth from Wands and Worlds, and dine with Charlotte Taylor and Melissa Fox of Booknut and Sarah Stevenson of Finding Wonderland, as well as many others that my brain is just a little too fried to remember.
I am not a person who loves meeting people, you have to understand. But I always, always love meeting people at KidlitCon, because I know without being told--by the fact of their presence--that they are kindred spirits, a term brought up in the future of blogging session. They love something that I love, and that's a pretty steady foundation. These folks do it for the same reason I do it; for the love of it. Some of us have been doing this for years; some have just started.
We all come at it from different directions. Our keynote speaker, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Lee Wind both discussed the diversity within ourselves. Sitting in a room with an archaeologist, a computer programmer, a film critic, many parents, and a number of librarians, I completely understood that! But we've all got that in common, our shared love of reading, of kidlit, and of spreading that love as far and wide as possible.
Thanks to the organizers, Pam, Jen, Sarah, Kim, Kelly, and Leila. Also, Tanita from Finding Wonderland and Jackie of Interactive Reader (who both deserve some kind of award for putting in all this work and not even being able to make it!) for another lovely year.
Next year, the West Coast! Will you be there?