For many first-timers — or even sixth-timers — the American Booksellers Association’s ABC Children’s Institute can be an overwhelming maze of education sessions, publisher talks, author signings, and meet and greets. Here are a few reminders and tips to help you navigate the sixth ABC Children’s Institute:
- Before you go, visit the Children’s Institute page on BookWeb for an overview of Ci6.
- Download the Children’s Institute app to stay on top of last-minute schedule changes and 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 a credit card to ease your way at the UPS shipping desk.
- 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 Bookseller Discussion Groups, Rep Picks Speed Dating Lunches, and Bookseller and Publisher Focus Groups.
- 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 black badge holders) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All mentees will sit with their mentors at assigned tables at the breakfast keynotes on Wednesday, June 20, and Thursday, June 21. Otherwise, there is open seating at the keynote sessions; doors open 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start.
- Attendance at the Bookseller-to-Bookseller Discussion Groups on Wednesday, June 20, is critical; beyond the quality discussions booksellers can expect to participate in, these roundtable talks are an ideal way to meet fellow booksellers and make new friends at the start of the institute. Please be sure to join your assigned group.
- ABA does its best to provide an interesting mix of publishers for attendees to meet with during the Rep Picks Speed Dating lunches. 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 Wednesday, June 20.
- Attendance at the Bookseller and Publisher Focus Groups on Wednesday, June 20, is also very important; even if the companies present are not ones you normally do business with, these meetings are an essential element to opening and encouraging dialogue with publisher partners.
- The IndieCommerce team will be available in the Rampart Room at the Sheraton New Orleans 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 Ci6 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.
- 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? Swing by the Grand Registration Desk at the Sheraton New Orleans, where ABA staffers will be at the ABA Welcome Desk on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, June 19–21. Booksellers can also speak with any ABA staffer or e-mail email@example.com.