Hello everyone! Today I’m going to share my experience at TBF 2017. I have gone to TBF twice so far, once as an attendee (2016) and once as a volunteer (2017).
Volunteering (anywhere) is a rewarding feeling, but it is especially so when you’re doing it for something you love. Volunteering at TBF is a special memory for me, and I encourage (if you can) to take part in it sometime in the future. Getting to work a little behind-the-scenes definitely helped me better understand the workings of the event and gave me further opportunity to connect with the authors. There are various positions, depending on how many hours you’re available, from 2-hour shifts to the entire day, so hopefully there’s a time that fits for you. The tasks can range from festival greeting to assisting merchandise sales to helping authors (but keep in mind you need to be available all day to apply for an author assistant position).
As for my experience, I had school on Saturday mornings up until this year, but I wanted to be an author assistant so badly I ended up taking the day off- it was worth it. Having your “own” author is such an amazing experience, and you have plenty of time to connect with them over breakfast, autographing sessions, etc. I was an author assistant along with two other teens and one adult to Kim Savage, and she was such a lovely person. Sometimes it can feel really intimidating to meet and talk with an author, but she was so down-to-earth and engaging. When I signed up to volunteer, I had only read one of her novels, and listening to her presentation and talking with her gave me a better understanding of her books and background. Some of our duties included introducing our author, escorting them to lunch and back, maintaining the autograph line, and in general making sure everything went smoothly. Not a moment of it was boring, even when all I had to do was move the autograph sign forward and back. :) It was an amazing experience, as not only were my fellow volunteers passionate about reading, but everyone there was too. Overall, volunteering at TBF is such a unique experience, and the rewarding feeling of contribution has definitely pulled me in for another year.
Registration for volunteering has already begun, so make sure you sign up by April 1! There is a mandatory training session on May 15th. For more information, visit https://www.teenbookfest.org/get-involved/
I hope to see everyone at TBF this year!