I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Staying Sharp Notes and Many Useful Links from booklist and NoveList

The latest issue of The Corner Shelf edited by Susan Maguire for Booklist Magazine is now live. This is a wonderful newsletter that explores the place where collection development and RA service meet, kinda like this program I a hosting a week from today [there is still room and Susan will be there too].

There is a lot of good information in every issue, new and backlist. You can click here to see the full archive of newsletters.

However, I wanted to highlight the feature article, "Staying Sharp: Discovering New Authors, Keeping up With Trends," a recap of a program with the same name, for a few reasons:

  • This program with NoveList featured a few of my friends and even two people I mentored in their early careers. All of these presenters know what they are talking about.
  • While their were issues with the recording and they cannot share it, the most useful part of the content was recreated in this article by the panelists for you here and below.
  • The entire point of the program was all about staying fresh and on top of trends. Something I write about on this blog all of the time. Click here to see some of those posts.
  • And....they mention this blog as a great resource. 
But seriously, this feature article from the newsletter is one you can use today, tomorrow, and going forward because it is filled with the links and information you need to let the trends and emerging issues come to you. We are all busy managing all of the moving parts that make up our jobs as library workers, but staying in sharp is key to so much of what we do. Let the experts help you make at least this part of your job, easy.

Staying Sharp: Discovering New Authors, Keeping Up with Trends.

Maguire, Susan (author).

FEATURE. First published September 13, 2018 (Booklist Online).

Your patrons come to you for reading suggestions, but keeping up with the world of books can be a daunting task. How do you identify trends? Can you know about a breakout hit before it hits? What kind of read-alikes do you need to pick up the slack for the holds queue?

We discussed the answers to these questions and more at the RA Conversation: Staying Sharp—sponsored by NoveList—on July 30 at the Woodson Regional Library in Chicago. Joining me were Rohini Bokka, technical services manager, Naperville Public Library; Emily Borsa, adult services librarian, Hinsdale Public Library; and Katie McLain, adult reference assistant, Waukegan Public Library, and contributing editor for Book Riot.

What do we mean by staying sharp? Put simply, it is this: someone asks you a book question, and you can answer it.

Well, maybe it’s not that simple, but by staying sharp, you can anticipate some of your patrons needs, either passively, by making sure you have enough copies of that surprise bestseller or ready lists of readalikes; or actively, by being aware of trends, new authors, and the hot series people are talking about. Staying sharp will give your RA conversations a solid context, leaving patrons with the comforting idea that, hey, that librarian, she knows how to find me a good book to read.

The thing is, there are so many books published every year. Then there’s the variety of publicity we have to keep up with, whether it’s a publisher’s carefully crafted media plan or good ol’ word of mouth. When our patrons hear about a book, they (rightly!) expect us to know about it. I used to drive to work listening to NPR’s Morning Edition, and I would make note of any author interviewed or book discussed (while safely stopped at a red light, of course), because I knew we would get calls for it. Add this to the fact that books are increasingly fodder for TV, movies, and streaming series, not to mention the myriad celebrity book clubs that are engaging readers in new ways: it feels like keeping up with books means keeping up with all media.

Remember back when the only book club we had to worry about was Oprah’s? And the biggest book-to-movie news was Twilight? Those were the days…
Due to myriad technical difficulties (which only proves that we are human!), we don’t have a recording of this event. But I was able to compile a list of suggested resources, suggested by Rohini, Emily, and Katie, that will help you stay sharp.

We like newsletters because they come right to your email inbox—no work required, once you’ve signed up.
Other Resources 
These websites, blogs, and podcasts are another source for the best in books.
Sources for Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs)
Twitter Accounts to Follow
Katie suggests following lots of folks on Twitter; that way, your Twitter feed will double as a professional development tool. You’ll be the first to hear when book news breaks, and you’ll get plenty of ideas for book-suggesting and displays.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Must Read for Continuing Education About Our Profession

I know here on the blog that I have had many posts talking about our profession and how we are made up of over 80% white women and the problems this raises. I discussed this issue as it pertains to how we develop our collection for our readers, those who live in the real world where it is definitely NOT 80+% white women. You can click here or here to read these posts where I write at length about making sure our collection do not just mirror ourselves, why inclusion and diversity are non-negotiable, and how we need to encourage more diverse voices and participation in our entire profession. 

In fact, one of my friends, Robin Bradford has helped me both behind the scenes and has contributed to this blog on this issue [and others]. Well, Robin and another friend of mine, Stephanie Sendaula from Library Journal have a chapter in a brand new book that is out today,. The book is entitled, Pushing the Margins: Women of Color and Intersectionality in LIS. They have contributed a chapter specifically on Collection Development- "Chapter 15. Selection and Self-Identity - Robin Bradford and Stephanie Sendaula."

I feel very strongly that everyone who follows this blog, no matter where you work in the library or what race and gender you identify as, you all need to read at least this chapter. This one at least I can force you to read because it is RA adjacent. 

However, I would also advocate that you read the entire book. If you work in a library [whether or not you have the professional degree] you need to understand all of the issues around the fact that this profession is way too dominated by the white female perspective. When you are in the majority, it is very easy to lose site of the minority. So, especially the white women [like me] need to read this book and see just a little glimpse of what problems and issues this causes for the entire profession from the perspective of the women who are not white.

We can all learn to be better at our jobs by reading critical works about our profession, but this book is especially important for the current moment. I am getting on the hold list right now.

Click here to order the book for your library's professional development collection. Click here to see the entire series of books on "Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in LIS," which again, all libraries with a professional development collection should carry. If you library can't afford this, use ILL to find it at a university library. But as professional development books go, it is not very expensive. Heck it's cheaper than my book, and quite honestly, can help a lot more people make real change in response to real issues and problems

Here is all of the info direct from Library Juice Press and reprinted below [so you have no excuse to not look into it further] including the full table of contents.


Pushing the Margins: Women of Color and Intersectionality in LIS
Editors: Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho
Price: $35.00
Published: September 2018
ISBN: 978-1-63400-052-9
Printed on acid-free paper
6″ by 9″
508 Pages
This book is number three in the Litwin Books/Library Juice Press Series on Critical Race Studies and Multiculturalism in LIS, Rose L. Chou and Annie Pho, series editors.
Using intersectionality as a framework, this edited collection explores the experiences of women of color in library and information science (LIS). With roots in black feminism and critical race theory, intersectionality studies the ways in which multiple social and cultural identities impact individual experience. Libraries and archives idealistically portray themselves as egalitarian and neutral entities that provide information equally to everyone, yet these institutions often reflect and perpetuate societal racism, sexism, and additional forms of oppression. Women of color who work in LIS are often placed in the position of balancing the ideal of the library and archive providing good customer service and being an unbiased environment with the lived reality of receiving microaggressions and other forms of harassment on a daily basis from both colleagues and patrons. This book examines how lived experiences of social identities affect women of color and their work in LIS.
Rose L. Chou is Budget & Personnel Manager at American University Library, where she also serves as Chair of AU Library’s Internal Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She received her MLIS from San Jose State University and BA in Sociology from Boston College. Her research interests include race, gender, and social justice in LIS.
Annie Pho is Inquiry and Instruction Librarian for Peer-to-Peer Services and Public Programming at UCLA Libraries. She received her MLS from Indiana University-Indianapolis and BA in Art History from San Francisco State University. She’s on the editorial board of In the Library with a Lead Pipe, a co-moderator of the #critlib Twitter chat, and a Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians 2014 alumnus. Her research interests are in critical pedagogy, diversity, and student research behavior.

Table of Contents:
Foreword by Fobazi Ettarh
Chapter 1. “When I Enter”: Black Women and Disruption of the White, Heteronormative Narrative of Librarianship - Caitlin M. J. Pollock and Shelley P. Haley
Chapter 2. Sisters of the Stacks - Alexsandra Mitchell
Chapter 3. I Am a Muslim, a Woman, a Librarian: Muslim Women and Public Libraries - Negeen Aghassibake
Chapter 4. The Other Asian: Reflections of South Asian Americans in Libraryland - Nisha Mody, Lalitha Nataraj, Gayatri Singh, and Aditi Worcester
Chapter 5. I AM My Hair, and My Hair Is Me: #BlackGirlMagic in LIS - Teresa Y. Neely, Ph.D.
Chapter 6. The Voice of a Black Woman in Libraryland: A Theoretical Narrative - LaVerne Gray
Chapter 7. A Woman of Color’s Work Is Never Done: Intersectionality, Emotional, and Invisible Labor in Reference and Information Work - Kawanna Bright
Chapter 8. “Sister, You’ve Been on My Mind”: Experiences of Women of Color in the Library and Information Sciences Profession - Alyse Minter and Genevia M. Chamblee-Smith
Chapter 9. Small Brown Faces in Large White Spaces - Rosalinda Hernandez Linares and Sojourna J. Cunningham
Chapter 10. I, Too: Unmasking Emotional Labor of Women of Color Community College Librarians - Alyssa Jocson Porter, Sharon Spence-Wilcox, and Kimberly Tate-Malone
Chapter 11. The Burden of Care: Cultural Taxation of Women of Color Librarians on the Tenure-Track - Tarida Anantachai and Camille Chesley 
Chapter 12. Authenticity vs. Professionalism: Being True to Ourselves at Work - Jennifer Brown and Sofia Leung
Chapter 13. Identity, Activism, Self-care, and Women of Color Librarians - Alanna Aiko Moore and Jan E. Estrellado
Chapter 14. When Will My Reflection Show?: Women of Color in the Kennesaw State University Archives - JoyEllen Freeman
Chapter 15. Selection and Self-Identity - Robin Bradford and Stephanie Sendaula
Chapter 16. Reflections on the Intersection of Publishing and Librarianship: The Experiences of Women of Color - Charlotte Roh
Chapter 17. Positionality, Epistemology, and New Paradigms for LIS: A Critical Dialog with Clara M. Chu - Todd Honma and Clara M. Chu

Friday, September 14, 2018

What I’m Reading: Burning Sky

Today I have a title that has wide appeal for fans of military stories, horror, and the popular subgenre of military-horror. Ochse is a stellar creator in this area and since this title is the start of a brand new series, I suggest you get familiar with this one ASAP.

Burning Sky.

Ochse, Weston (author).
Sept. 2018. 420p. Solaris, paper, $14.99 (9781781085295)
First published September 15, 2018 (Booklist).
The members of the Tactical Support Team [TST], Army veterans turned private contractors, experienced some horrifying and improbable things during their last assignment in Afghanistan. Now, six months later, these men and women are experiencing things too strange, terrifying and eerily similar to be classified as PTSD. Ochse, a veteran and critically acclaimed author, begins his new military horror series by introducing readers to the members of TST, unveiling their diverse and complex backstories, before sending them back for the ultimate mission, a fight for their souls. This is a dark, twisted, and unnerving cosmic horror thriller framed by Middle Eastern mythology, that slowly escalates the unease, plot and dread, while constantly increasing the pacing and action, reaching a point where it is almost impossible to put the book down, but at the same time, it is also a thoughtful commentary on what war does to all of its participants. Military horror is emerging as a popular subgenre and this is an excellent entry sure to satisfy those who want the army details and jargon equally as those who desire a well constructed supernatural thriller. Perfect for fans of Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, but also, Ochse has a command of the beauty that can found in the language of brutality such as in the writing of Cormac McCarthy.
Further Appeal: I cannot stress enough how the occult elements here never overwhelm the real life horrors of war, rather they serve to underscore the terror and make it feel even more real. Even readers who usually like realistic military fiction, but want a more modern war setting will enjoy this. The cosmic horror elements are incorporated into the frame of Middle Eastern mythology, and the way Ochse introduces them, it feel real; like it could happen. The pairing of the realism and supernatural is seamless, so much so that it makes the book scarier.

I also liked the use of jargon. There is plenty for those in the know but not too much for lay people. Overall this is a great horror novel AND a love letter to servicemen and women who have toured in Afghanistan.

The novel begins very character centered, giving the reader details into the background of each member fo the team. While this technically slows the pacing of the action down, the novel is compelling from page one. Not only is the reader turning the pages to learn as much about these interesting characters as possible, but also, their situations are so tense that just with the character development the tension builds to the point that you need a break but can’t bare to take one. You must keep going to see what happens next.

One the plot gets going, the interesting Middle Eastern frame and the plot twists are excellent while the prose is beautiful even though it is often used to describe horrific things. And there is more to come as this is just the start of a series; in fact, be ready for people to finish and ask for book 2.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Price of War, Unnerving, Plot Twists

Readalikes: The best match is the Joe Ledger series mentioned above. I also mention Cormac McCarthy because the entire story is framed by the novel Blood Meridian but also, the writing itself is similar. If you like the way McCarthy writes, this novel is a great suggestion.

Fans of literary fiction about war, especially post-9/11 wars and its effects on veterans is also a great option like Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Fountain or The Yellow Birds by Powers.

Books set in Afghanistan and told from the local perspective might also be of interest here. Khaled Hosseini is a mainstream option, but check out this page of books tagged “Afghanistan”by readers on Goodreads.

You could also give this book to fans of military SF for which there is A LOT. Again via Goodreads. Really anyone who likes military fiction as it is crafted within any genre might enjoy this novel. Click here to find another long list

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Library Reads: October 2018

New month, new list. Before we get to my standard post a few comments.

The entire point of the Library Reads list is to allow library workers the chance to rave about the books their patrons may not know about without us. It showcases our skills at helping leisure readers and showcases how our recommendations can actually increase sales.

Click here for details 
One of the nagging problems with the list, especially after 5 years, is that the same authors were showing up over and over again. However, as you can see in this graphic, and on the list below, Library Reads has solved this problem by creating a Hall of Fame.

Please click here to learn more and see a statement from the first HoF author who is fittingly....Jodi Piccoult. 

Which leads me to another comment.  We also want to lead by example and make the list as inclusive as possible. This month, the #1 voted title is a diverse read, but also, ironically, it is this author’s second title on the LR list, so she will next be in HoF status.

We need to keep finding inclusive titles, under the radar titles, titles that even we didn’t know about before giving them a try. Please look for books that could use the boost that Library Reads can give a title that your colleagues might not know about without that vote, especially more inclusive titles.

Here you can find a link to a database by library professionals who are going through the digital ARCS and screening titles for you to choose from. Please consider starting here, not with the latest, imminent bestseller. Seriously, if you want to help, start at those databases, start by reading those titles. Try something new and if you like it, vote for it.

Don’t start with a book you already know you are going to like. That is the worst thing you can do. We are trying to broaden everyone’s horizons-- patrons, yes, but also the publishers. We want to show them that more inclusive titles will resonate and sell. But, we need to start with ourselves first.

And now, the list...

Today is Library Reads day and that means three things here on RA for All:
  1. I post the list and tag it “Library Reads” so that you can easily pull up every single list with one click.
  2. I can remind you that even though the newest list is always fun to see, it is the older lists where you can find AWESOME, sure bet suggestions for patrons that will be on your shelf to actually hand to them right now. The best thing about Library Reads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any Library Reads titles because there is a book talk right there in the list in the form of the annotation one of your colleagues wrote for you. All you have to say to your patron is, “such and such library worker in blank state thought this was a great read,” and then you read what he or she said.
    So get out there and suggest a good read to someone today. I don’t care what list or resource you use to find the suggestion, just start suggesting books.

    Also, please remember to click here for my Library Reads 101 recap for everything you need to know about how to participate. And click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month.

    October 2018 LibraryReads

    The Proposal

    by Jasmine Guillory

    Published: 10/30/2018 by Berkley Jove
    ISBN: 9780399587689
    “A disastrous public wedding proposal results in a chance meeting between Nik and Carlos. What follows is a delightfully humorous and sweet story about two people falling for each other while remaining seemingly unaware of their blossoming romance. The book sets itself apart by portraying a self-aware, feminist woman who enjoys positive relationships with female friends. An engaging and upbeat multicultural romance.”
    LaNiesha Bowles, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

    The Clockmaker’s Daughter: A Novel

    by Kate Morton

    Published: 10/9/2018 by Atria Books
    ISBN: 9781451649390
    “Events that occurred in the late 19th century at Birchwood Manor cast their shadows over the next 150 years, with various mysterious voices explaining how those events affected their lives. Attentive readers will be rewarded as clues are revealed. Atmospheric and perfect for gothic fiction fans of Sarah Waters and Beatriz Williams.”
    Virginia Holsten, Vinton Public Library, Vinton, IA


    by J. R. Ward

    Published: 10/2/2018 by Gallery Books
    ISBN: 9781501194900
    “This first book in Ward’s newest series featuring firefighters in New Brunswick, NJ, includes well-crafted macho heroes, tough female characters, and believable relationships. Readers will be excited to see where this series goes. For fans of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and readers who like gritty and steamy suspense.”
    Kelsey Hudson, Middleton Public Library, Middleton, WI

    The Dream Daughter: A Novel

    by Diane Chamberlain

    Published: 10/2/2018 by St. Martin’s Press
    ISBN: 9781250087300
    “In 1970, young and recently widowed Carly learns that the baby she is carrying has a fatal birth defect. Enter her quirky but lovable brother-in-law, who proposes a highly improbable solution: travel to the future where a medical procedure exists to save her unborn child. This twisty story with well-developed characters is highly recommended, but with a trigger warning for mothers. A good crossover title for domestic fiction and science fiction readers, and fans of Kristin Hannah, Jodi Picoult, and Chris Bohjalian.”
    Erica Naranjo, Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA

    The Library Book

    by Susan Orlean

    Published: 10/16/2018 by Simon and Schuster
    ISBN: 9781476740188
    “An investigation of the fire that devastated the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986 evolves into a page-turning history of the immense impact libraries and books have had throughout time. Profoundly moving and enlightening, and a clear call to readers to appreciate and support their libraries. For readers who enjoy high-quality narrative nonfiction.”
    Jesica Sweedler DeHart, Neill Public Library, Pullman, WA

    November Road: A Novel

    by Lou Berney

    Published: 10/9/2018 by William Morrow
    ISBN: 9780062663849
    “Set in the weeks just after JFK’s assassination, a mob hit man on the run meets a woman who has just impulsively left her alcoholic husband. A beautifully written suspense novel that’s hard to put down, with well-developed, sympathetic characters and plenty of intrigue. Fans of John Hart and Dennis Lehane will appreciate this fast-paced thriller.”
    Jill Smith, Bayport Public Library, Bayport, MN 

    One Day in December: A Novel

    by Josie Silver

    Published: 10/16/2018 by Broadway Books
    ISBN: 9780525574682
    “An enjoyable page-turner, with a romance that begins with a chance connection at a bus stop and brews in secret over a number of years. More literary romance than chick-lit, this title would be a good choice for readers who enjoy books by Meg Donohue or Erica Bauermeister.”
    Marlyn Beebe, Long Beach Public Library, Long Beach, CA

    Unsheltered: A Novel

    by Barbara Kingsolver

    Published: 10/16/2018 by Harper
    ISBN: 9780062684561
    “Willa and her college professor husband made all the “right” decisions, yet are nearing retirement holding an empty bag. The rise of the service economy, materialism, middle-class disenfranchisement, a labyrinthine health care system, immigration–even Charles Darwin–all factor into this relevant story about social upheaval and an ever-changing American Dream.”
    Lori Hench, Baltimore County Public Library, Baltimore, MD 

    Virgil Wander

    by Leif Enger

    Published: 10/2/2018 by Atlantic Monthly Press
    ISBN: 9780802128782
    “Virgil Wander survives a car crash with some speech and memory problems, and encounters a kite-flying stranger searching for information about his long-lost son. Enger explores and intricately layers the feelings and stories of an entire town full of people, each trying to survive their own life-changing experiences. A good pick for readers who enjoy quirky characters and for fans of Kent Haruf.”
    Elizabeth Isabelle, DeKalb County Public Library System, DeKalb, GA 

    The Witch Elm: A Novel

    by Tana French

    Published: 10/9/2018 by Viking
    ISBN: 9780735224629
    “This standalone novel has all the things readers love about the Dublin Murder Squad books–well developed characters, exquisite plotting, and deep explorations of human nature. Toby leads a charmed life with an idyllic childhood, a good family, a loving girlfriend, and promising prospects. But a vicious attack changes everything. Atmospheric, twisty, and perfect for readers who like Gillian Flynn or Kate Atkinson.”
    Laura Bovee, Chicopee Public Library, Chicopee, MA

    A Spark of Light: A Novel

    by Jodi Picoult

    Published: 10/02/2018 by Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 9781984828095

    “This harrowing and insightful novel unwinds backwards in time over the course of a day during a tense hostage situation at a Mississippi women’s clinic and is told through multiple points of view: the gunman, the hostage negotiator, patients, clinic staff, and a right to life advocate. All sides of the abortion issue are explored with compassion through the characters’ stories, helping readers empathize and connect. Fans of Picoult’s issue-driven novels will not be disappointed.”
    Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

    Wednesday, September 12, 2018

    Resource Alert: The National Book Foundation

    Everyone in the book world is excited this week, and rightfully so, aboout the National Book Awards Long List announcements.

    But, I want to use your attention on the awards to remind you that the National Book Foundation itself, is a wonderful year round resource.

    Yes, the awards section of the site is a treasure trove of information. The long lists, the backlist archives, and the breadth of categories-- young people’s literature, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and now best translated books, the 5 under 35, and more are all a wonderful tool, just as all awards lists are.

    [By the way, pro-tip: for easy access to the awards info at any time of year, scroll to the bottom of any page. There are quick links by category.]

    However, I bet many of you didn’t know about the other, non-award based resources you can find on the National Book Foundation site. I am guessing that the majority of you only visit the site around awards time. That’s fine, but there is so much more the Foundation can offer all library workers.

    I like the reading lists they create. Click here to see their Recommended Reading Lists. More are coming all of the time.

    The foundation also gives out an “Innovations in Reading Prize” each year. Click here to see past winners with details of the programs they created. These prize winners and honorable mention programs are a great way for any library to generate ideas about reading centered programming they could do at their library. Sure not everyone can win the prize, but anyone can get inspiration from a prize winner. Looking to add poetry programming, get middle grade boys excited about reading, improve your community outreach? Just a quick click here, and you can read about successful programs like these. You might get some innovative ideas for your library.

    The point isn’t that you replicate someone else’s award winning program, rather, you look at some of the best programs out there, all gathered in one database, and see if something there strikes a cord with you. Maybe you could do something similar. Reach out to one of those past winners and have a chat about your situation, resources, time frames, etc.. It’s a database of experts. Use their knowledge to help you help your community of readers.

    And finally, the foundation is filled with statistics and links to resources that advocate for the importance of reading. Do you need quotes, stats, graphics, or the like to advocate for your services in your community? The National Book Foundation is the place where you need to start looking for those. It is a trusted resource. They have already paid for and conducted the studies for you.

    My point is, the awards are great. The Foundation has an excellent database of all the nominees and winners, but don’t forget about the Foundation after the awards cycle is over. They are one of the largest organizations out there working hard for the same values and services we are promoting.

    Use the National Book Foundation site all year long.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2018

    Reminder: Give Them What They Want: Reader Focused Collection Development Program September 25th

    Today I am headed to the Archer Heights Branch of the Chicago Public Library to do a tech check with Robin Bradford for our upcoming program where we really delve into the place where RA and Collection Development meet. Robin is a national expert on this general theory of CD and we are so excited that she was available to provide the context before our 3 speakers give some locally specific examples.

    I am doing my part as program organizer to make sure her virtual appearance works. But now it is time for you to do your part. Sign up! Come join us.

    If you are on the fence between following our live tweets or coming in person, I want to remind you of the wonderful networking opportunities you will get by coming. At this event besides the chance to talk to me and our panelists, we are expecting Susan Maguire from Booklist [the editor who writes the Cover Shelf newsletter which is centered around this topic] and 1 or 2 members of the Library Reads team. And Robin said she wants to stay on the line to see the rest of the program herself.

    In other words, 5 of the top people in RA will be there in person, and we all want to meet you.  That networking opportunity is totally worth $25 even without the program. And there is FREE PARKING! Oh, and snacks. I can guarantee snacks because I am in charge of buying them. Well, I can guarantee snacks for everyone but Robin. Sorry Robin. We can’t teleport them yet. It's not a SF panel.

    But don’t wait, we already have a good number of attendees and there is a limit. See below for the original announcement with all the details and links. You can pay with a credit card online through EventBrite or with cash or check at the door. Up to you.

    I hope to see you there. If you come, introduce yourself.

    Give Them What They Want: Reader Focused Collection Development

    Almost exactly a year ago I moderated a live event for Booklist and NoveList at the Chicago Public Library [click here for those details and slides or go here to see the recording]. Before we went live, Karen Toonen [from Naperville Public Library, also on ARRT SC and a panelist that day] and Stephen Sposato [see below] and I were chatting about ideas for the 2018 slate of ARRT programs. I threw out the idea of building a program off of CPL’s success with Patron Driven Acquisitions and between the three of us we brainstormed an awesome idea for a program.

    Flash forward to today and I can finally announce that program. Karen and I are organizing it [along with ARRT SC members Mike and Nicole; click here to see the full list of all SC members] and we have recruited Stephen to be on the panel. We are also very thankful for the Chicago Public Library and specifically the Archer Heights branch for allowing us to use their space for free.

    All of this volunteer effort means we can offer you an amazing program [with snacks!] for only $25 or $15 if you are already an ARRT member.

    You can find all of the details below including the link to register [you can prepay with credit card, send a check, or pay at the door, whatever is easiest for your library or you if you have to pay for yourself]. As one of the organizers, I have also added a bit more detail on the content of each panelist’s talk in order to give you even more reason to attend.

    Click here to register right now!

    Readers are flocking to library’s leisure collections. To make smart collection choices, we must look further than circulation statistics and learn what our entire community desires. Our presenters are using methods suitable at libraries of any size to incorporate patron wishes into collection development, making readers integral to the whole process. From complex patron-driven acquisitions plans at large library systems, to bite-size surveys at the smallest libraries, to prioritizing patron requests, to canny materials displays, all of these librarians are finding innovative ways to put what readers want front and center, and to ferret out even the hardest-to-discover reading desires.
    Join us Tuesday, September 25, 2:00- 4:00 PM, at the Archer Heights branch of the Chicago Public Library, for “Give Them What They Want: Reader-Focused Collection Development.”
    • Robin Bradford, Collection Development Librarian, Timberland Regional Library (WA)
    • Stephen Sposato, Content Curation Manager, Chicago Public Library
    • Nicole Steeves, Director, Fox River Grove Memorial Library
    • Rebecca Bartlett, Collection Services Manager, La Grange Public Library

    $15 for ARRT members, $20 for non-members 
    Register here 

    Since I am one of the organizers of this event, I can give you a little more detail on exactly what each speaker will be focusing on.

    Robin, will be appearing virtually and she will set the stage by explaining the philosophy behind reader driven collection development and give concrete examples of how she puts this phliophy into action across a region.

    Stephen and Nicole are going to present together about the very specific process of instituting Patron Driven Acquisitions [PDA] through your catalog, but the interesting thing here is that Stephen implemented PDA at Chicago Public while Nicole does it at a small more rural library. They are going to show us all how size doesn’t matter when you put the patron first.

    And then Rebecca will round out the program with information about the La Grange Public Library’s Lucky Day program. While many libraries have a program similar to theirs, very few crunch the data and cross reference it with strategic plan goals as closely. Also, the Lucky Day program at LGPL puts all formats and age levels of lucky day materials together, right as you enter the library. Also a unique decision. Rebecca will give both the nitty gritty details of how to craft a “Luck Day” collection and why how you display that collection matters. [Hint LGPL uses it to make the library more welcoming to all. Seriously how many libraries have you been to where James Patterson's and Jason Reynolds’ latest books are the first thing you see...on the same shelf...next to each other!]

    If you cannot join us, all of the slides and handouts will be available on the ARRT Programs page [go there to see past programs’ slides and handouts] and many of us will be Live Tweeting the event.

    Unfortunately, we cannot offer this event virtually. There are many reasons but the biggest one is that ARRT is powered 100% by volunteers. We have no paid Executive Director. Our individual employers are already very gracious about giving us each time to fulfill our ARRT duties including time off to help plan and  stage events. We put on 3-4 programs a year [this year the 4th is at the ILA Annual Conference], an every other year, all day RA conference, 4 Book Club Study meetings, and 6 Genre Study meetings each year. In 2018 will also have a presence at 2 local library conferences. We really want to offer our programs virtually, but we have decided that we are not willing to sacrifice the high level of our in person programming to provide virtual too.

    But, I am already exploring how I can get this program or something similar presented in other locations in the coming year. That’s the ideal situation; helping other regional RA groups to offer programming to their area with advice from their local practitioners. It is not only cheaper, but it is also going to be able to be offered more often and the information will be tied to the needs of that area. But that is something I am taking on, not ARRT.

    As always, if you stay tuned to the blog you will know about it as soon as there is something to announce.

    Monday, September 10, 2018

    Call to Action: Try a Completely New Resource

    Today’s Call to Action is in honor of the Jewish New Year which I am celebrating today.

    I have always enjoyed celebrating the New Year in Fall. I have so many good memories of the new beginnings, contemplative hours in temple being asked to think about the year that was and the year that will be [from a very young age, that time taught me so much about self reflection], and momentum events in my life that were tied to Rosh Hashanah. I even met my non-Jewish husband because of a series of events that began with how I celebrated my first Rosh Hashanah away from home and I made life long connections those first weeks of the first year of college because of the High Holidays.

    Honestly, to me, Fall is always the start of the New Year and I have especially loved the excuse to be able to take time during a busy part of the year to step back and appreciate the beauty of life. This year I am especially focusing on the positive for this 1 day.

    I am also using the Jewish New Year as an inspiration for all of you to try something NEW. We all get in a rut and use the same resources as we help reader after reader. And honestly, sometimes we can go weeks without switching it up beyond our tried and true personal favorites. We know how they work, we can manipulate them to get the answers we need quickly, we are conformable using them. But...

    ...there is also something to be said for changing it up a little. You don’t know what is out there and how it could help your patrons if you don’t give new things a try. Specifically using a different resource not only allows you to find new suggestions for your patrons, ones your tried and true resources might not pull up, but some of them will also inspire you to broaden the type of questions you ask your patrons, thus leading to entirely new avenues of conversation.

    You can pick ANY resource that is new to you [if you use my tag “resources," it will pull up the ones I have talked about in reverse chronological order], but in true Becky fashion, I cannot give you Call to Action marching orders without at least giving you one example.

    I have talked about the wonderful Largehearted Boy site before, mostly for its comprehensive year end lists. But first, from the about statement:
    • largehearted boy is a literature and music website that explores that spot in the venn diagram where the two arts overlap.
    Today, I want to advocate for using the Book Notes series specifically to help patrons. Again, from the site:
    In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book. 
    Previous contributors include Jesmyn WardLauren GroffBret Easton EllisCeleste NgT.C. BoyleDana SpiottaAmy BloomAimee BenderHeidi JulavitsHari Kunzru, and many others.
    And, the lists go back to 2005! There are links to the archives everywhere on the site-- left gutter, end of each post, and through a keyword search by author or title of a book.

    Why I love using these music-book hybrid essays is precisely because they are slightly outside the box. I have found that if there is a book or author a patron has really enjoyed for which Largehearted Boy has one of these Book Notes, it is the perfect RA conversation starter. Each essay is written by the book's author, and they talk about each song they have chosen and why it fits the specific book. Looking at these essays with a patron opens up entirely different avenues of conversation about the book and/or author in question than just talking about the book itself. Even reading an interview with the author isn’t as good because asking an author to pick a playlist for their book is so much more specific than most interviews. They get more personal and bring up interesting tangents relating to the  appeal of the story, ones that the patron might not have considered before, ones that you can then use for new avenues of searching, ones that will lead to an outside the box suggestion. You may even surprise yourself where this resource takes you; I know this because it has happened to me, both as I helped patrons and myself.

    Just using this resource to shake us out of asking the same old appeal based questions to a patron about their favorite books, is worth your time, even if you then go to a tried and true resource to finish up the interaction. I also love using these book-music hybrid essays to inspire me. Forcing your brain to think a little differently about the same type of questions is invigorating and often sparks new ideas.

    So there is my suggestions, but honestly, any new to you resource will give you the same type of invigoration and inspiration. Also, don’t only do this once a year. I know I am posting this Call to Action because of the holiday, but I do try to go out of my way to answer a routine question with a totally different and/or new resource about once a month, if only to keep me fresh and continuously excited to help the next person.

    Happy New Year to those celebrating with me.

    For past Call to Action posts, click here.

    Friday, September 7, 2018

    What I’m Reading: Killers of the Flower Moon and a Flashback Review of Lost City of Z

    Today, I had lunch with a friend and member of my old book club. She mentioned they read and discussed The Lost City of Z last month. It was a great discussion and many of the attendees had recently read Grann’s more recent book Killers of the Flower Moon and loved comparing the two.

    This got me thinking. I realized that I have a review of Killers of the Flower Moon, here on Goodreads that I was waiting to make it part of a larger post here on the blog with a bunch of reviews, but talking about both titles at lunch today got me thinking, I should just post it here today.

    But first, I also want to make a plea for you to also try The Lost City of Z. You can click here to read my review of that title from back in 2010 when I first read it. My still vivid memory of it AND the fact that a group I know just had a great discussion of it makes it a great backlist suggestion option not only for people who liked Grann’s new, critically acclaimed, and much talked about book, but also for anyone looking for a good read that will probably be on the shelf.

    Side note: I listened to both books, so the reviews have info about the narration.

    So click here for my Lost City of Z review and here or see below for my Killers of the Flower Moon review on Goodreads. Please note, my Goodreads reviews are a little more casual than blog specific reviews.

    by  (Narrator)  (Narrator)  (Narrator)

    I listened to this book and I really enjoyed that experience. It was in 3 sections: Osage perspective of murders, FBI perspective, And then what Grann pieced together to more fully solve the full mystery today. And each section used a different narrator. It helped to underscore how the sections were different but the entire work still felt cohesive.

    This is a compelling- engrossing- historical true crime. It is disturbing both in some of the graphic violence but also in that what happened to the Osage was awful on so many levels. Not only is this a history that has been lost, Grann’s exhaustive and 360 degree research makes you rethink things you thought you knew too.

    The storytelling style is one Grann has perfected. I read and reviewed The Lost City of Z in 2010: https://raforall.blogspot.com/2010/04...

    This is similar. You get the exhaustive research relayed through the “characters” but then a final section with Gran typing it all up and taking the “long-view.” This gives both author and readers a chance to see the story with thoughtful perspective.

    But the focus is on the actors in this drama and how they interact with each other. The level of character development is amazing. Yes I know they are real people, but Grann painstakingly builds them into living, breathing people, instead of dead figures from history.

    In terms of notes on the audio go here to see specific narrator reviews on audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/History/Ki...

    I liked how there was a different person for each distinct section. They are different, with a different focus and POV and the change in narrators helped to underscore that.

    Three Words That Describe This Book: engrossing, true crime, character centered

    Readalikes: Any true crime podcasts. Any historical true crime. Louise Erdrich [more about here on my blog here: https://raforall.blogspot.com/search?...], The Sisters Brothers: https://raforall.blogspot.com/search?...]

    Also here is my post on how the Western is thriving because it is changing for the better and it includes more good readalike titles: https://raforall.blogspot.com/2017/07...