Chicago was the place to be for book people over the last weekend of June as more than 15,000 librarians gathered with hundreds of publishers, authors, organizations, and book-related equipment providers for the 2023 American Library Association’s Annual Conference.
The conference slammed the door on any remaining stereotypes of librarians as mousy bespectacled introverts. Today’s librarians are sharp, extremely well-read community pillars, and they are fighting back hard against book bans and other forms of censorship that have littered the cultural landscape during the past year.
Three Rooms Press co-directors Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges met with literally thousands of librarians, to discuss book trends in their communities, and provide advance copies of our three lead titles for Fall 2023: The Unvarnished Gary Phillips: A Mondo Pulp Collection by Gary Phillips; Vulgarian Rhapsody: A Novel by Alvin Orloff; and Lovesick Blossoms: A Novel by Julia Watts. We also shared details on our current LGBTQ+ Young Adult novels, Secret Rules to Being a Rockstar by Jessamyn Violet, and Robin and Her Misfits by Kelly Ann Jacobson, and built up the buzz for two upcoming poetry books: Life in the Past Lane by Peter Carlaftes, and Awe and Other Words Like Wow by Kat Georges.
To round out our many presentations, we reintroduced 3RP books with a Chicago connection, including Anthony Award-winning anthology The Obama Inheritance: 15 Stories of Conspiracy Noir edited by Gary Phillips and Yippie Girl: Exploits in Protest and Defeating the FBI by Judy Gumbo (Foreword INDIES Honorable Mention for memoir). Plus many of our titles were on display in the conference’s Diversity Pavilion, including Foreword INDIES YA book of the year Aquarian Dawn by Ebele Chizea, Nirvana Is Here: A Novel by LAMBDA Award-winning author Aaron Hamburger, Foreword INDIES YA book of the year Tink and Wendy by Kelly Ann Jacobson, and Goldie YA book of the year Everything Grows: A Novel by Aimee Herman.
Thanks to our distributor, Publishers Group West (an Ingram Company) for providing tons of support and making valuable introductions—plus sponsoring an awesome networking reception on the 99th floor of the Willis Tower—check out the view from there—whoa!
And special thanks to our on-site distribution team of Jo Beaton, Mary Skiver, Judy Allen, Susan McConnell, and Betty Redmond.
Finally, very special thanks to all of the fierce librarians for taking a stand against censorship and making reading cool again. Please support your local library and get involved with local committees who set guidelines for such things book challenges and bans, not to mention library funding, which is critical to maintain in this era of misinformation. Above all else—read! There are so many distractions in this world to keep you from reading, but once you get into the habit, you’ll find the rewards extremely satisfying and you’ll want to continue for life.