Friday, May 9, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Library

A long, long time ago (at least 4 months), I was bumming around the site of the best web comic strip ever and I saw on their calendar that the creators were planning a trip out to Massachusetts to give a talk. I clicked on the pretty blue hypertext to find out where they would be speaking and discovered a broken link. I tried it again the next day and a few days later and then I thought (in that discouraged and somewhat angry tone), well fine, if they don't care enough to keep their links active, I don't care enough to find out where they're speaking. Then a few more days went by and I changed my mind, emailed the creators and got back a very nice email saying "oops!" They cleared up that they would be speaking at the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference in Falmouth, MA in May. From that day on I had one mission: to get to the MLA Annual Conference in Falmouth in May. Well, today my desires were satisfied when I sat in Ballroom One of the Seacrest Resort and Conference Center and heard Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum talk about their comic strip, Unshelved.

The session began by satisfying what I guess has been a longtime dream of Gene's, to hit a beach ball around a conference center ballroom. After a bit, a couple of hits in the face and a brief conversation with Bill, they began their session.

Unshelved is a web comic strip about a library in the fictional town of Mallville. It centers around Dewey, the young, male teen-services library (on whom I have a rather significant crush), the rest of the Mallville Library staff and of course, the crazy patrons. Check out the Primer on the website to find out who's who.

Gene and Bill kept us laughing throughout their entire presentation. They introduced the staff, told about the history of the strip, explained where the idea and the current story lines come from (many from reader's stories) and hit on topics that are way closer to home than many of the librarians in the audience would like to think about on a day away from the library, and somehow, way funnier when told in pen and paper.

They not only made the audience laugh, but made us feel right at home with them. They practically begged for our stories and were friendly and personable when signing book. After the session a fellow school librarian turned to me and said, "This was the best session I've attended all conference. Thank you for dragging me!"

Oh, and they have a new book coming out, check it out here!

-Sarah C.

No comments: