kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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Book Launch Party

There's so much that happened here and really so little time to write it down -- this is more of a photo album with captions than a proper recap. Back in 2014, I'm sure you all know, I photographed some librarians in a viral photo essay for Slate called This is What a Librarian Looks Like. in the intervening years, I've photographed hundreds of librarians and had a book come out. Last week I went to my fifth American Library Association conference, not to photograph people, but to launch the book, which is very exciting. All those years of work get compressed into one singularity and when it's finally done, you get back all that joy that you missed every time you couldn't go out because you were working, or your couldn't go on vacation because you had a deadline, or you couldn't see your wife's play because you were photographing people in some faraway state.....

This is how it all begins. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

My book launch party, was sponsored by EveryLibrary which I think of as a sort of Amnesty International for libraries. They advocate for library funding, help communities inform voters, and help develop fundraising strategies. They'd rented the top floor of a bar called the Old Crow in Chicago and we'd developed a slide show of about 500 photos of librarians to play during the event, and around that, I spent three days signing copies of the book.

All the stars were assuredly aligned -- as I got off the plane people started texting to let me know that the Los Angeles Times book section had just printed a full page (and very positive) review of This is What a Librarian Looks Like.

LA Times! You may clickenzee to Embiggen!

Unique to this trip was that trillian_stars was able to come, on account of one of her rehearsals being cancelled. We got in on Friday morning and I went for a run through the city, along the lakefront, out to the WBEZ radio station and then back along up the river. Chicago really uses its waterfront very well. In philly we've got rivers and we have running trails along rivers, but we don't really have boat rides, convenient kayak rentals, places to stop and get an ice cream cone or waterfront breweries. On the one hand it's selfishly nice that I don't have to run past a bunch of tourists loping along, but on the other -- everybody should be enjoying this.

My first signing was in the evening. I got all suited up and headed out.

This is about half of the exhibit floor. Book stuff EVERYWHERE. You may clickenzee to Embiggen!

Ingram, the ginormous book distributor is kicking off a year of librarian programming and they'd set up a gigantic booth for me to sign books all weekend, and while I was signing, they were giving librarians an opportunity to continue telling their stories with a photo booth. You can see the photos they're shooting and printing out in the background (here's a closeup). This whole thing was the idea of Heidi Kantor, who works at Hachette (she's over on the right in the purple shirt talking to my publicist Betsy) it was an entire year in the making and it went beautifully.

My gigantic signing booth! Thanks Ingram! You may clickenzee to Embiggen!

This is Elizabeth Frailberg From who Ingram got to do all the photos. She was super awesome.

You may clickenzee to Embiggen!

Ingram made this mailer to publicize the event -- this is the first time I saw it -- it's a fold out polaroid camera that shoots little prints from the book out. It was absolutely stunning.

You may clickenzee to Embiggen!

If the lines were long I didn't stop signing. All in all, I think I signed books for about seven hours. Betsy stood there the whole time setting up books, keeping people in line entertained, making sure I got where I needed to get on time, handing out cake and plotting with the media.

You may clickenzee to Embiggen!

Whenever I wasn't writing down my name I was carrying around an extra copy of the book because the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden was ... somewhere ... at the convention. People would sporadically post Twitter selfies with her "I met Dr. Hayden at the bar!" -- "I saw Dr. Hayden in an elevator!" they were calling them "unicorn sightings". I figured that if I didn't carry a copy of the book around, I'd certainly see her in the Walgreens or in the lobby of a hotel. I eventually did run into her at 9 am on Saturday morning. I said "I wrote this book--" and she cut me off

he Librarian of Congress: "Wait, are you Kyle?!? I actually bought your book. It's a wonderful book. It's on display behind my desk, in my office, next to my Nancy Pearl shushing-doll. I take it down every single day to show people all the things that librarians are doing around the country. In fact, I'm mentioning it in my speech today."

Me: "omg".

Librarian of Congress: "Give your info to my communications director, we'll talk.

Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

There's actually embarrassing video of me freaking out when she said that. And now we have plans for a Top Sekrit Projekt.


I signed books on Saturday and then we snuck out to a quick lunch with novelist Anne Gross, her first novel, The Conjured Woman, which I'm reading now, is a fictional book about real life historical tarot card reader, Mademoiselle Lenormand, who is working for Napoleon and attempts to create a golem to do the Emperor's bidding but somehow ends up dragging a hard partying nurse from 21st century Arizona into the past. I'm on chapter five -- after awakening in the 1800's our heroine escapes what she believes to be kidnappers but is distracted by a bar 15 feet down the road and spends three pages trying to find someone to buy her a drink instead of continuing to escape. It's kind of like Outlander but with a protagonist who spends a lot of time swilling gin and punching people.

Anne Gross, you may clickenzee to Embiggen!

We stopped in at the Ingram books party which was on the 99th floor of the Willis Tower and had some amazing views of the city. You could also go UP one more floor and then stand on a glass deck with the city under your feet. (NopeNopeNopeNope)

We met a bunch of cool people there like Librarian Steve from Circulating Ideas and Peter Straub's buddy Brad Morrow signing a massive stack of books.

The 99th floor. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

We left the Ingram party for our party -- which turned out to be the most awesome book launch party you could possibly imagine.

On the way to the book release party. Dress by Heartless Revival. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

My book launch party. Wow. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

My book launch party. Wow. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

Here's Peter Sagal, trillian_stars and Librarian Steve from the Circulating Ideas podcast (you can listen to Steve's interview with me here.

At the book launch. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

Emil Ferris, author of My Favorite Thing is Monsters was there.

Peter, Emil Ferris and me. You may clickenzee to embiggen us!

It was great seeing people from the book. Some of them I only met for, literally, 60 seconds three years ago and their images have been frozen in time, but others (like Ingrid) have been working on this with me the whole time. Ingrid's now who you see when you google "what does a librarian look like?" which is thanks in large part to Slate who picked her photo to lead the original viral photo essay.

At the book launch. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

Over the weekend I tried to get as many people as I could to sign my book. here, and here, and here

We stayed up laaaaate after the party hanging out with Singer / Songwriter Molly Robison then getting up insanely early to sign books.

Look at me ma, I'm on TV! With Rebecca Miller from Library Journal talking about library advocacy and ways to outreach to communities and politicians about libraries.

Library Journal interview. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

I was on some ALA programming too, basically just talking about the book and then signing it, it was really the only time I got off of the exhibit floor. We met some cool people including Craig Grossi and Fred, Craig is a U.S. Marine and Fred is the stray dog he rescued in Afghanistan and brought back to the U.S., and Nate Pederson author of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways To Cure Everything

Non fiction panel. You may clickenzee to embiggen!

I plotted with Adam and Jill at Overdrive, the digital library app, on a new project.

On Sunday I signed the last book, Elizabeth took the last photo, my last event was "Champaign and Cake" in the ALA lounge, I signed books and posters and plotted with ALA past president Maureen Sullivan on yet another project,
got in a good talk with Gordon about new book projects and I headed home. I'm grateful that so many people have believed so strongly in this idea for so long. Particularly my agent, the magical Gordon Warnock at Fuse Literary, my editor Becky Koh and publicist Betsy Hulsebosch as well as Heidi Kantor at Hachette, Ingram who have invested two years of their time and money into this, and all the librarians who do this amazing work every single day, fighting to get people access to information.

That's a wrap! You may clickenzee to embiggen! I think my head looks really small in this photo.

Sorry all the people and things I left out.

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