A Checklist for Children’s Institute First-Timers

For many first-timers — or even 11th-timers — the annual Children’s Institute can be an overwhelming maze of education sessions, publisher talks, author signings, and meet and greets. Here are a few reminders and tips to help you navigate Children’s Institute 2023.

Before you go, know what to expect at Ci2023.
Explore our website and get information on health and safety procedures, accessibility, travel, and an overview of Ci2023. If you have any questions, check out our FAQ page.

Note: Bring preferred masks, some areas will require wearing one.

What to Wear.
We are booksellers and we salute your personal fashion sense and originality. So, dress as you would at your store! For your well-being, we suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes. Please note that some booksellers like to dress up for the author reception, but overall this is a casual event. We advise dressing in layers as Convention Centers are often cold. If you plan on going to a publisher dinner, please check with the restaurant to see if they have any specific dress requirements. 

Download the Children’s Institute App (coming soon).

  • Create an account and log in early to get the most out of the app
  • Stay on top of last-minute schedule changes and allow push notifications to get real-time alerts
  • Review the event schedule and session descriptions
  • Create personal agendas
  • Message fellow attendees
  • Share contact info
  • Explore a map of the Wisconsin Center and the Hilton Milwaukee City Center (There will be a paper copy in your welcome bag too!)
  • Check out the list of attending authors
  • Fill out those ever-important session evaluations

Wear your badge at all times during the event.
Listed on the bottom of the badge are table assignments for the Rep Picks Speed Dating. 

Take time each night to review your plans for the next day.

If scheduled plans change, inform your party or the ABA team.
If you have pre-registered for a session, made an appointment, or have an assignment and find that you cannot keep that obligation, do your best to let the person who is waiting for you know. If all else fails, flag down an ABA team member or email childrensinstitute@bookweb.org.

Plan to attend the First Timer Orientation and Scholarship Meet & Greet on Monday, June 5, at 4:00 pm. Booksellers can meet fellow first-timers and get the scoop on how to best navigate Children’s Institute.

Come to the Opening Reception & Costume Party
Celebrate the opening of Children's Institute 2023 on Monday, June 5 at 6:00 pm, in the company of your colleagues from around the country with a costume party! Come dressed as your favorite book character or collaborate with fellow booksellers on a group costume. All attendees are encouraged to put their best sartorial foot forward and join in the fun!

Attend Rep Picks Speed Dating.
ABA aims to provide an interesting mix of publishers for attendees to meet with during the Rep Picks Speed Dating. As a courtesy to Children’s Institute’s publisher sponsors, booksellers are urged to remain for the entirety of the presentation. Rep Picks Speed Dating will be Tuesday, June 6, at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, and the Rep Picks Presentation & Lunch will be on Wednesday, June 7, at 12:15 pm.

Attend our Book Swap Dinner.
What better way to spend the evening than with your bookseller colleagues over food and books! Place a store bookmark or note in the pages of your favorite book, wrap it, add an intriguing review on the wrapped cover, and bring it to this reception. Dinner options will be available.

Current publisher sponsors for this event include Andrews McMeel Publishing, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Lerner Publishing Group, and The Quarto Group.

Fill out session evaluations through the Children’s Institute app.
Session evaluations are one of the most important tools ABA has for making programming decisions. Booksellers are also encouraged to complete the overall Ci2023 evaluation that will be emailed to attendees following the event.

Books in the Galley Room are there for the taking!
The Galley Room (open Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm) is chock-full of the most exciting forthcoming titles for you to grab. Select titles in the galley room will also have QR codes to request copies to be sent directly to you after the event, so you can save your luggage/shipping space! We ask attendees to take only one copy of each and, if a particular pile is getting low, please take just one to be shared among all store staff. 

Ship your galleys from Ci2023 with FedEx instead of lugging them home! Shipping costs vary based on box weight, size, and destination. 

  • ABA’s PartnerShip benefit can help you save on shipping costs! Not taking advantage of this benefit? Enroll before you go. PartnerShip will preload account numbers to speed up the process.
  • Bring pre-printed FedEx shipping labels to ease your way through the FedEx shipping desk. 
  • Questions? Contact PartnerShip’s Harry Centa at 800-599-2902 x2242, or by email hcenta@PartnerShip.com.

Make sure to network.
According to Institute bookseller veterans, the opportunity to meet fellow booksellers is one of the most valuable parts of the event. Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself and be ready to exchange contact information. Bring business cards and/or one-sheets about your bookstore, plus a pen and paper, and swap business cards with everyone you meet. For easy reference and recall later, make a note on the card about what was discussed.

Finally: Pace yourself, wear comfortable shoes, drink lots of water, and have fun!

Have questions? Email childrensinstitute@bookweb.org.