Last week was the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival. I’m still not sure I’m completely recovered from it after all the tremendous amount of work we did; I spent most of the week running around like crazy and I don’t think I even remember everything. Early in the week we started getting everything ready. I prepared the shirts and notecards which de Grummond sells and took them to the bookstore, where an entire book festival section is created, with the de Grummond items and books for all of the authors who come to the festival. They have signings every day of the festival and patrons have the opportunity to purchase books prior to the signings.
Wednesday we spent the whole morning working on the exhibit area in Cook Library, getting it ready to open back up. We finished the labeling process, which meant we had to figure out which label went with which picture. For the most part this was easy though there was a series of pictures from one book that were labeled by page numbers and we had to determine which one was which. (They weren’t actually hung in strict numerical order.) We also were worried about leaving the doors open to the exhibit area without any security in place, so added the security strips the library uses to the backs of all the paintings. The cases with the realia were locked, but it is possible some of the paintings could be stolen because they are small enough to fit in a bag.
Thursday was the biggest day for de Grummond because this was the first year the Ezra Jack Keats Awards have been at Southern Miss. This is a huge event for the collection and everyone involved is really excited that we have it now. Thursday morning we went to the Medallion session with Jane Yolen. It was really great until the very end when she started talking about her cat dying. There was a great point to the story—that books allow you to express emotion that you might not feel comfortable expressing otherwise—but I hate that the thing that will stay with me was the story about the cat dying. It demonstrated quite well how much of an incredible storyteller she is though. I also helped them prepare for the Awards luncheon. Though I didn’t attend it, I was busy the entire time they were in it anyway. I also discovered that the bookstore was out of many of the sizes of the new EJK shirts, so we went back to the office and got more shirts and put together more boxes of cards. I also got to go to the EJK lecture with Anita Silvey. It was a discussion of the history of the picture book in America and it was really interesting.
Thursday night we had a reception for the award winners downtown at the train depot. I was technically off those hours, and it was really enjoyable. I felt especially great when the curator thanked the student workers for everything that we’ve done for the reception. Friday we decided since we had barely gotten to sit down the rest of the week to relax. It was nice to get a breather since I was back to work that afternoon doing things for the other office. I was so exhausted at the end of the week that I didn’t want to get out of bed Saturday. My entire body was aching, but I really enjoyed the festival and it was definitely worth the effort.
Link to the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival: http://www.usm.edu/childrens-book-festival