Nate, Alissa the Mermaid, Melia and Jesse at ALA 2012 in Anaheim

We had lots of fun this year at the beach-themed ByWater booth, complete with colorful beach balls and sunglasses to help enthusiastic librarians enjoy sunny Southern California. Alissa Dirato, a performing artist from New Jersey, amazed conference attendees with her living statue performance as a beautiful, bronze mermaid.

Excited murmurs about famous authors like John Irving filled the palm-lined promenade of the conference center. And as always, everyone went home with exciting, new books!

One of the highlights of this conference for me was hearing about librarians’ experiences with Bookmobiles in rural areas. It was particularly inspiring to learn of librarians bringing books to farm children who have little access to other educational resources. One librarian talked about his confusion when the farm children weren’t interested inThe Giver and other books that are popular with children of that age. When he decided to delve a little deeper into the community, he found that these particular children spent a lot of time with farm animals and were more excited to read books about cows and chickens! In an area where illiteracy rates are quite high, having children excited about reading anything at all can make a big difference.

The best part of the conference, however, was undoubtedly meeting ByWater customers in real life, sometimes for the first time. Having a face and personality to go with the names that you see on emails really makes the customer support experience more personal and satisfying.

Read more by Melia Meggs

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