For many first-timers — or even seventh-timers — the American Booksellers Association’s ABC Children’s Institute can be an overwhelming maze of education sessions, publisher talks, author signings, and networking opportunities. Here are a few reminders and tips to help you navigate the seventh ABC Children’s Institute:
- Before you go, visit the Children’s Institute page on BookWeb for an overview of Ci7.
- Download the Children’s Institute app to stay on top of last-minute schedule changes; choose to allow push notifications to get real-time alerts. The app enables users to review the event schedule and session descriptions, create personal agendas, message fellow attendees, share contact info, explore a map of the hotel, check out the list of attending authors, and fill out those ever-important session evaluations. Create an account and log in to get the most out of the app.
- Bring business cards and/or one-sheets about your bookstore, plus a pen.
- Wear your badge at all times during the event. Listed on the back of the badge are table assignments for the Rep Picks Speed Dating Lunch and the Mix & Mingle.
- Plan to attend the First-Timer Orientation & Mentor/Mentee Meet-up on Wednesday, June 26, at 4:15 p.m. in the GreenTree Ballroom, just ahead of the Ci7 Welcome Reception and Book Character Costume Party.
- Take time each night to review your plans for the next day.
- If you have preregistered for a session, made an appointment, or have an assignment and find that you cannot keep that obligation, do your best to let the person who is waiting for you know. If all else fails, flag down an ABA staff person (identifiable by our purple badge holders) or e-mail email@example.com.
- All mentees will sit with their mentors at assigned tables at the breakfast keynotes on Thursday, June 27, and Friday, June 28. Otherwise, there is open seating at the keynote sessions; doors open 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start.
- ABA does its best to provide an interesting mix of publishers for attendees to meet with during the Rep Picks Speed Dating lunch. As a courtesy to Children’s Institute’s publisher sponsors, booksellers are urged to remain for the entirety of the presentations at the Rep Picks Speed Dating Lunch on Thursday, June 27, and the Rep Picks Plenary Lunch Presentations on Friday, June 28.
- Don’t miss the Mix & Mingle on June 27, a new event featuring intimate meetings between participating publishing sponsors and booksellers that provide opportunities to address issues of concern one-on-one. Please arrive five minutes early for your assigned time.
- Make sure you also get to the first ever Children’s Institute Town Hall meeting, an opportunity for open discussion about industry and association issues. ABA Board President Jamie Fiocco (Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) will facilitate the meeting and board members will respond to questions and comments from all booksellers; booksellers who would like to send questions in advance can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The IndieCommerce team will be available in the Allegheny Room at the DoubleTree to speak with any bookseller interested in improving their store’s online presence, whether they are a participating IndieCommerce store or not. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome.
- Session evaluations are one of the most important tools ABA has for making future programming decisions. Booksellers can fill out evaluations through the Children’s Institute app and are also encouraged to complete the overall Ci7 evaluation that will be e-mailed to attendees following the institute.
- Books in the Galley Room are there for the taking, but attendees are asked to take only one copy of each; if a particular pile is getting low, please take just one to be shared among all store staff.
- Bring your bookstore’s pre-printed FedEx labels for easy shipping once you’ve stacked up those boxes of galleys. For more information about ABA shipping partner PartnerShip, call Keith Korhely at (800) 599-2902, ext. 2254.
- The opportunity to meet fellow booksellers is one of the most valuable parts of the event. Don’t be shy; introduce yourself and be ready to exchange contact information. Swap business cards with everyone you meet; for easy reference and recall later, make a note on the card about what was discussed.
- Finally: Pace yourself, wear comfortable shoes, and have fun!
Have questions? ABA staffers will be at the ABA Welcome Desk in the lobby of the DoubleTree from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, as well as at the Ask ABA desk in the Ballroom Rotunda from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, and 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, June 28. Booksellers can also speak with any ABA staffer on-site or e-mail email@example.com.