Blog of’s Founder & Webmaster Celebrating our Literary Legacy #readingblack

2009AALBC.comALACarleen BriceDenverJD MasonLiterary Freedom ProjectMeetingMidwinterMosaic MagazineRitz CarltonStevie Wonder Concert

2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting – Denver, CO

As part of my role as a board member of the Literary Freedom Project, and a full page ad in Mosaic Magazine, I offered to help Ron work the table and help promote Mosaic Literary Magazine at the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2009 Midwinter Meeting.

On the day I arrived in Denver (January 22nd) it hit 70 degrees. I was kicking myself for not bringing a lighter jacket. However, that concern was short lived because the following evening it was 17 degrees! The following day temperatures were in the single digits.

Despite the frigid temperatures, dry air (I had Carol Daughters’ Body Butter workin‘ overtime)and lack of oxygen (the Mile High City had me sucking wind on the treadmill). We had a productive conference and a great time.

Ron and I got a chance to have dinner with Denver based authors Carleen Brice (left) and J.D. Mason. We had a good time and a good meal.

Surprisingly (I guess ’cause Denver is not exactly known for fine dining) I had several good and two great meals in Denver. Perhaps the best steak I’ve ever had was at Elway’s I had the bone in Rib Eye and I’d have to say it was superior to the steaks I’ve had at Peter Lugers in Brooklyn.

Elway’s in located in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton. The Ritz Carlton is some hotel. They have, far and away, the best gym I’ve seen in a hotel. The gym has a full court basketball court, swimming pool, huge weight room, plush locker room and a great spa.

Below are two friendly faces from New York City both are ALA members and are in leadership roles in the Black Caucus of ALA. Stanton Biddle from Baruch College & Andrew Jackson from Langston Hughes Community Library.

We were at a reception. I actually won a basket of Chinese New Year (OX, 丑 Chou January 26, 2009) Paraphernalia.

I stuck around an extra day and drove to Vail, CO. The drive was actually pretty hairy; low visibility, and heavy snow — everything was just white. I was driving a 4 wheel drive Expedition and never really felt secure.

Fortunately when I got close to Vail the sky opened up and the view was awe inspiring. Vail provided the greatest skiing conditions I’ve ever experienced!

Vail had an area called the “back bowls”. Basically it was an huge expanse of steep, deep snow. The mountain was virtually empty and there were no lift lines. For perspective, the blue circle below shows a skier — That was the closest skier to me! A great experience!

The drive back to Denver, thankfully, was much better.

Usually when I visit a city for the first time. I check out the ‘hood and the main drags. I was strolling down 16th street (the main drag) and stumbled upon the Tattered Covered Book Store. I actually got a little excited because I’d seen the bookstore on C-Span 2 so many times it was like crossing paths with a famous person. I immediately went in.

Tattered was an impressive, but very warm facility. It is was the largest independent bookstore I’d ever been in. The is plenty of soft seating, a large area for reading two floors of books (down from three) and the obligatory cafe. The next day I dragged Ron with me he took the photo below. We spoke to the staff; who were very friendly. One even gave us a brief tour.

Also announced by the American Library Association during the Midwinter Meeting were the Coretta Scott King Author Awards recognizing African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to “the true worth and value of all beings” Here is a link to those titles:


Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.