It’s funny when I look back and see how far we have come as an organization in just two years. So much has happened and so much is about to happen.
It was no more obvious than last week. Almost two years ago I walked into Book Expo America (BEA), with business cards in hand and a dream in my heart. A clear vision but not much else. I attended BEA because I wanted to talk to publishers. I wanted them to hear the idea for Library For All and immediately believe in it and I guess believe in me.
To my great surprise, when I met with the publishers, they didn’t laugh at me or scoff at the idea. Instead they gave me enough encouragement and wise council to keep going and push forward. Some of those first contacts in the publishing industry are still some of our most generous advisors and we wouldn’t be where we are today without their support.
Walking into BEA this year had a very different feel. We are no longer just an idea hoping to find willing ears. This year when I walked in I could see the huge signs of our major publishing partners hanging from the roof of the convention centre. This year I didn’t need to hang around their booths hoping to get a meeting with someone that could help us. Instead I could look around the enormous convention center and get excited by the giants we now have in our corner. Cheering us on to reach more and more children.
This year when we met with the remaining large publishers and the smaller and medium size publishers it was no longer a question in my mind if they would support us and give us access to their books, but when and how quickly could we facilitate it. The momentum we are gaining in the publishing sector is tangible and so exciting.
It was also special in many other ways. I was given the opportunity to speak on a panel this year, specifically about getting books to developing and emerging markets. Library For All was also given the opportunity to have a booth. Only two years have passed, and no longer was I a card-carrying dreamer. Our team were speakers and exhibitors in a massive room full of our valued publishing peers.