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Christina Coleman (staff)'s picture

Need Volunteers for the ALA Booth at C2E2!

Planning on being on the scene at C2E2? Will you be wearing your “librarian-hat?” Are you willing to lend a hand ?

 Great news! We have ideas taking shape for a re-imagining of the ALA Booth on the show floor! 

 We would really like to make the ALA booth more representative of what Libraries (and librarians) are all about!  Taking the modern library as a design starting point we’re hoping to incorporate things like a reference desk, readers advisory service, craft “programs” and even a storytime. What we are looking for are ideas and volunteers who are willing to act on those ideas!  Here are some thoughts we have come up for the booth.  (FYI – we will NOT have power in the booth! )


Opportunity to sign the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries,”

For more information regarding the “Declaration for the Right to Libraries,” or for information on how to participate, please visit http://tinyurl.com/alalibrarydeclaration.


Story times (in the lobby or foodcourt?)






Make magazine stuff


LED, batteries, conductive thread,

Anyone have stuff/time/ideas to contribute to this?


Physical Library

Book Cart

Free books to give away (contests?)



Readers’ Advisory / Reference

Hot spot “staff” to be able to access internet.  (need to test to make sure this will work on the floor)

Library box (with a sign)

People signed up to actually provide the service? 

Some simple handout with room for us to write RA suggestions that also promotes libraries? 


Stuff needed



Sign on a stick 

Cocktail table to run “events”

Cleaning wipes

Arm bands – price on armbands?  How to identify Librarians?


 Your friendly neighborhood Staff Liaison!

Tina Coleman



Carey Gibbons's picture

I will be at C2E2 - I haven't missed a year since it started! I have nerd things to do while I'm there but I can totally spare some time to volunteer at the ALA booth :)

Samantha Millsap's picture

I'm so far only planning to be there for the Friday Professional's Day, but will be happy to help. I would love doing a teen/adult story time or reference & reader's advisory activities. Have you thought about the trusty "stump-the-librarian" game? What about reference question races?

Denise Murray's picture

I'm going to be there Friday and Saturday but I have the weekend pass so I could be there Sunday as well. I'd love to help out! 

Last year the wifi coverage was great and the speed was at least decent. I wonder if C2E2 would be willing to give the booth power since they seem to support libraries. Maybe someone could get in touch and see if something could be worked out for an awesome nonprofit group?

I'd love to do crafts and do reader's advisory. I could probably put together a list of books for comic book lovers.

Torsten Adair (non-member)'s picture

Okay.... I missed last year (the only one) because my nephew was getting married, but I'll be there!

Librarian hat?  I never got one when I graduated from UNO.  Not even a Scientists hat, since I was B.S. Ed.   Where can I get one?  Or do we craft our own, like building a lightsaber?


"We would really like to make the ALA booth more representative of what Libraries (and librarians) are all about!"

Idea #1:  We run the information booth for the show.  Right up front!  

Idea #2:  We grab one of the conference rooms, set up a few computer stations, power strips, a few ballroom tables, and let people come and relax and hang out.  Maybe we run a little mini-con within that room, showcasing the cool stuff that libraries do, and how fans can network/convince their local librarians to embrace the geek lifestyle.  (Circulation figures!)  

Idea #2.5  Or we grab a corner of the show floor, and set up a mini library!  I suspect most convention centers can set up temporary walls (like the ALA offices in McCormick South in 2013) to make a temporary room.  Then you set up tables, power strips, a few bookshelves from a partner library or region, and demonstrate how libraries can be geeky.  A small stage or corner with bean bags and chairs for presentations.  Presentations are no longer than 15 minutes.  Longer presentations could take place in the panel rooms.  We talk to librarians on how to offer such programs (with handouts!) and we talk to geeks who would love to have their libraries meet their needs!  (Free space for gaming!  Wi-Fi!  Graphic novels!  Video editing!)  

(And then we put THIS project online, so that other libraries and conventions can replicate it!)

(Do conventions get tax credit for non-profit donations?)

Idea #3: An actual librarian hat, perhaps an armband (although armbands have questionable connotations, and are hard to spot from a distance) that identifies the person as someone who can answer questions.  Perhaps we get ReedPOP to give us free wi-fi access so our tablets, phones, etc. can access the Net for any and all answers.  Even easier: t-shirts, preferably in phlox purple for easy identification.  Or better yet: CAPES!  That way, people can wear them for a few hours, then take them off if they wish to remain anonymous.  

Idea #3.5:  Two (or more) large mylar balloons floating from the ALA booth.  Question marks, exclamation points, books...  Make it visible from a distance.  Also make it a meeting place!  

Design for a librarian hat:  baseball cap (cheap, easy to attach to head) with an attached deely bobber.  One bobber is a question mark, one is an exclamation point.  


When's the librarian photo?  And how about a big giant photo of geeks in support of libraries?  The hallway along S103 would be good.  The photographer could use the dormant(?) escalator for an aerial shot.  One shot for each day?  (And then if we're really crazy, during National Library Week, we stage similar mobs across the country.  Cosplayers, readers, advocates, schools...)

Christina Coleman (staff)'s picture

Thanks for all the great ideas, Tor. We unfortunately have a few restrictions due to budget and resources on what we can do.

ReedPop has donated the booth space to us already, and BIG ALA is very generously paying for our carpet and furnishings (provided I can keep it as inexpensive as possible)

We are thinking of setting up a mini-library in the booth. We don't have the money for elaborate walls and such, but I think I can figure out a bookshelf and a few other pieces. I don't think ReedPop can give us free wifi, but I'm working on trying to find out if the hotspot I have will work on the exhibit floor.

I would love to have hats, capes, or armbands, but - again - I have no money to buy them and unfortunately I can't swing an out of pocket expense like that at the moment. I can see if my mother and I could make some armbands, but it depends on what kind of time we both have when we're not working.

Can't have helium balloons in the Exhibit Halls at McCormick - the fee for losing one is HUGE.

Eti Berland's picture

I'd love to volunteer at C2E2! I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

For a multi-generational story time idea, we could do a reader's theater performance with people in the audience using Fairy Tale Comics (ed. by Chris Duffy). I have scripts for Rapunzel, Rumpelstilskin, The Twelve Dancing Princess, and Sweet Porridge. If we could get permission, we could even project the images of the comics - or make posters of them.

Another craft idea I'd be happy to help with is your fabulous comic book marble magnets. This project has been a huge hit with youth and adults of all ages. A super easy and fun craft to do! 


Jennifer Billingsley (non-member)'s picture

If someone has fur/fleece/needles/thread/scissors/hair clips that they can donate, I be on hand for a few hours to help folks make these ears on Friday? We could have our "staff" (with enough hair) wear them?

 I would also totally be down to perform in readers theater/ work the booth in general (on Friday at least).

Christina Coleman (staff)'s picture

I've created a Google Doc with a basic outline of the plans already under discussion -


Please add or refine ideas as needed.


I've also created a Google doc for the schedule that outlines the different roles as well as general booth staffing:



KEEP IN MIND - I need to order furniture for the booth by Friday and what I order depends a lot on what we have planned. I love all of these ideas, but I cannot run them without you, so please sign-up to volunteer. This way I will know what we are planning and what resources I need to be focusing on.



Carey Gibbons's picture

Hi Tina,

For some reason, I’m unable to add my name to the volunteer calendar for C2E2. But I’m available on Saturday for general booth staffing or reader’s advisory from 4pm to 6pm. I also have a friend who is a librarian but who is not a member of ALA who would like to volunteer. Is that possible?

Carey Gibbons

Adult Services

Fondulac District Library

400 Richland St. East Peoria, IL 61611



Christina Coleman (staff)'s picture

Thanks, Carey! I'll look into finding out if there is a problem with the permissions on the google doc. :-) I added your name for  4 -6 on Saturday.


And yes! Your friend is welcomed to volunteer. We appreciate the help :-)

Christina Coleman (staff)'s picture

Okay, everyone - I think I fixed the problem with the Google Docs, so if you could go in and put in what time slots you are available to volunteer that would be great.

I need to order furniture NEXT WEEK, so I need to have a good idea about who will be able to do what by then, since what kind of things we need at the booth depends on some of the activities we have planned.

If I don't have enough volunteers I may need to reconfigure the booth plan so I can cover it with one of the other ALA staffers.

Booth Plan Outline

Booth Volunteer Schedule


Thanks everyone.

Dode Wessel (non-member)'s picture

I only see one name on the google doc. Do you still need help? I was planning on heading to St Louis to volunteer at something but I can go the opposite direction and help for a good part of the weekend at your booth if needed. (as long as I can still get access since I didn't purchase anything by the March deadline.)