You undoubtedly already know the three fiction and three nonfiction titles that make up the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence shortlist. You’re also likely talking them up to your patrons, devouring the titles yourself, or have already polished them off, and are on to the Booklist-recommended fiction and nonfiction read-alikes.
What you might not know is how awe-inspiring it is to attend the Carnegie awards ceremony in person. Forget the open bar (although who doesn’t need a drink after a long conference day?); forget the shiny medals (they are really shiny); forget the celebrity authors (actually don’t forget them! They’re amazing and kind of a huge part of this.); forget about getting to mingle with said celebrity authors (even though it’s really awesome and one attendee told us, “Meeting and speaking with Richard Ford was the high point of my year!”).
“Meeting and speaking with Richard Ford was the high point of my year!”
The best part of attending the award ceremony is being surrounded by hundreds of people who care ferociously about literature and libraries. And you reply: but isn’t that the whole point of ALA Annual Conference? Well, yes. But picture: several hundred excited people of all ages and backgrounds and reading preferences and professions gathered into a large hotel ballroom and in the seconds before the winners are announced—it is deeply, beautifully, profoundly silent. In that moment, I think everyone is reminded of exactly what this award means and why it’s so important.
In that moment, I think everyone is
reminded of exactly what this award
means and why it’s so important.
Last year, keynote speaker Karin Slaughter, fiction winner Donna Tartt, and nonfiction winner Doris Kearns Goodwin left us with unforgettable words and a fantastic evening. That means the 2015 keynote speaker has huge shoes to fill, which is one of the reasons we’re thrilled to have NBA legend and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hosting the evening! We can’t reveal everything about what’s in store for this year, but we can promise that you’ll want to buy a ticket and mark your calendar for Saturday, June 27, 8 p.m. at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.
If you can’t make it to Annual Conference, create your own celebration back home using the printable bookmarks, postcards, and other resources available on the Carnegie website. We’ll be live-tweeting the event from @ALA_Booklist using #ala_carnegie so you can find out in almost-real time who the winners are. Unfortunately, you’ll have to provide your own drinks, dessert, and NBA legend.