Open Wounds

The Scrum of Speed Dating

At the New York City Department of Education Library Services Conference in Brooklyn (that’s a mouthful) I was invited to do speed dating with librarians. I’ve done this before. At BEA in NYC . At ALA in New Orleans. As a matter of fact one woman I speed dated at ALA liked what I said enough to invite me to this NYC event. I feel like I can get a librarian to date me (or read my book which is probably more important). Well, you know what I mean. Connections, connections, connections. It is about relationships.

So these are the rules. There are tables full of librarians and in this instance all the authors were grouped together at one side of the room. There were some dozen tables and about 14 or 15 authors. I have to say I had to fight the competitive response. Because as soon as the microphone sounded authors sprang into action to find the biggest table first.

Some observations.

I shared my first table with a more established writer. We were nice to each other. Cordial. Smiled. We shared our time. But I could see it in her eyes. Neither one of us was going to share a table again.

When the buzzer sounded to shift tables you had to be fast or you wouldn’t get another table and would have to wait or share your time. I have to say. I’m slow and I need to get faster. Either that or talk less. At the least I have to be more aware of the buzzer. Because if you’re slow you miss the chance to get a seat at another table. The woman in charge took pity on me and found me an empty table three times in a row. Thank you, un-named librarian who helped this author to find his groove. Five librarians bought my book that afternoon – always a good thing. By the last table I, having to skip one round because I wasn’t quick enough to grab a seat, waited behind an author at a large table and as soon as the buzzer rang, took her seat. Another author raced over to try to sit in what would be my seat. I looked at him and shook my head slowly. Not this time. He moved away with a strained smile.

Some events just bring out the best in me.


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