As a collection development librarian, the exhibits are always a huge draw for me at conferences. Since we’re virtual this year, what do the ALA Midwinter 2021 exhibits look like? Well, of course I’m not able to pick up physical galleys (my shoulders appreciate that!), but there is still a lot to look through on the conference website. Bonus: many digital galleys are available to request by folks who aren’t registered for the conference, too!
The 2021 Virtual ALA Midwinter Exhibits are located in the Midwinter conference website. You do need to be registered for the conference to access the website where reps are available to chat with you, you can enter sweepstakes to win physical books and other swag, and you can see information about publishers’ featured titles or vendor’s products and services. It took me a little while to get the hang of the exhibits website, but I’ve been having pretty good luck finding buzz books and galleys by clicking on either the Swag-a-Palooza link or the Resources link from within a publisher’s conference booth.
Many of the galleys that publishers would ordinarily be placing in ornate stacks and pressing into the hands of librarians are available to download or request on NetGalley or Edelweiss. Librarians can make a free account on either (or both) service to request galleys from publishers that you can download onto an e-reader or read on your computer. I wrote a post for the ALSC Blog in September with more details about using digital galleys.
I’ve been using the time in between live sessions and activities I’m interested in to go through the exhibitors’ pages alphabetically. I’m on the S’s right now! It’s really useful to me to see some of the spring and summer books that are coming out. While I definitely miss physical galleys (and nerdy tote bags!), there are upsides to digital galleys. All I have to do to order titles for my library is open up another browser tab! I also don’t have to worry about fatigue from lugging around books in my tote bags, racing back to my hotel room to unload between sessions, or shipping costs to get all the books home!
Now… which book to dive into first?! Are there any 2021 books you’re especially excited to read? Help me decide and post titles in comments!