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 including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Summer Scares Podcast with Adult Authors

This is the last post of the week for me. I am taking Friday off from blogging so I can get some of my own writing done, plus I know many of you will be off or have half days.

But I am leaving you with something for you to listen to for yourself and to post for patrons: it is the first of three planned podcasts by the 2020 Summer Scares official podcast partner, Ladies of the Fright.

In this episode, they hosted our three selected Adult authors in a round table discussion. Details on the episode and the authors below and here.

Then later this month they will release 2 more episodes, one with the YA and one with the Middle Grade authors.

I have also updated the Summer Scares Resource page with this podcast, but you can listen to it here or below.

Have a safe holiday weekend, preferably at home.

We are so excited to return as the official podcast for 2020 Summer Scares! This episode is our first installment of a series covering the 2020 Summer Scares library summer reading program. The Horror Writers’ Association has partnered with Book Riot and Library Journal to curate the Summer Scares reading list, which includes three books each in the Adult, YA, and Middle Grade categories. Last year we chatted with the liaisons from each category in LOTF 32LOTF 34, and LOTF 36.

This year we decided to do something a little different! We are thrilled to bring you this round-table style conversation with each of the authors from the adult category: Nadia BulkinVictor LaValle, and Andy Davidson.

The adult picks for the 2020 Summer Scares program are:

In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson (Skyhorse, 2017)

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Tor.Com, 2016)

She Said Destroy: Stories by Nadia Bulkin (Word Horde, 2017)

Show Notes:

Find Nadia: Twitter

Find Victor: Twitter

Find Andy: Twitter

To discover more regarding the Summer Scares program, check out the Summer Scares information website.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Panorama Picks: Anit-Racist Reading List for Public Libraries

Today I am reposting this excellent press release from the Panorama Project. You can use this to help readers, meet demand, make displays, promote more than the 5 titles people have been talking about, etc....
Full disclosure as I do  with any Panorama Project List, I am a member of one of their advisory committees and presented for them at ALA 2019.
Click here for the original post.

Panorama Picks Spotlights Regional Differences in Anti-Racist and Social Justice Books at Public Libraries


With bookstores and libraries closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, library ebooks and Amazon have become critical platforms for readers. As civil unrest swept across the country alongside the pandemic, interest in New York Times Bestsellers Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist spiked as they appeared on myriad anti-racist and social justice book lists. The demand for both books was so high that print editions were on backorder from bookstores, and few libraries had enough copies of the ebooks to meet local demand..

The Panorama Project, in collaboration with the Washington Post, has released a customized version of its Panorama Picks to spotlight a broader range of titles of interest to readers that are similar to the most frequently recommended titles on anti-racist reading lists. The nine regional lists include a total of 42 unique titles published between 2003–2020, all related to civil rights, and race and ethnic relations—reflecting the diverse interests and perspectives of readers in each region.

“Almost every ‘anti-racist’ reading list I’ve seen features the same five or ten books, and several of them have re-appeared on national bestseller lists as a result,” said Panorama Project lead, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez. “Usually, Panorama Picks’ primary goal is to identify recent titles that have moved past their initial marketing windows but have unmet demand in libraries—useful data for local booksellers and authors. In this case, the surge in ‘anti-racist’ book lists led to print editions of several of the most frequently recommended titles selling out and going on backorder, so there was unmet demand on the retail side, too.”

The Panorama Project was interested in learning more about that demand. “We wanted to see what that demand looked like in public libraries, how it varied by region, and what related titles readers were interested in that weren’t being featured on these lists,” continued Gonzalez. Working with reporters Brittany Mayes and Lauren Tierney from The Washington Post to identify the most relevant BISAC Subject Headings, we applied a modified version of our Picks’ methodology to create these lists, and the results are fascinating.”

Among titles with notable unmet demand at public libraries within a single American Booksellers Association (ABA) region were Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop (New England), Chris Myers Asch's Chocolate City (New Atlantic), Shelby Steele's Shame (Southeast), Tim Madigan's The Burning (Mountains & Plains), Sabrina Strings' Fearing the Black Body (Pacific Northwest), Walter Thompson-Hernandez's The Compton Cowboys (California), and Jim Wallis' America's Original Sin (Hawaii).

The Great Lakes and Midwest were the only ABA regions without a unique title on their lists, but Daniel Hill’s White Awake was notably popular in the Great Lakes, and ranked high in the Mountains & Plains and Pacific Northwest regions, too. Resmaa Menakem's My Grandmother's Hands made the list in seven different regions, topping the Midwest list; it was also one of 14 Panorama Picks (33%) on Backorder at Bookshop.org as of Monday, June 29th.

Titles that were popular in multiple regions but had limited availability in public libraries to meet reader demand include Menakem's My Grandmother's Hands, Beverly Daniel Tatum's Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (20th Anniversary Edition), Alex S. Vitale's The End of Policing, Mikki Kendall's Hood Feminism, Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law, and Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father.

The following BISAC codes were selected by Post reporters based on the BISACs of titles appearing in best sellers lists in recent weeks that focus on anti-racism and social justice themes.

  • SOC001000: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / American / African American Studies

  • SOC070000: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Race & Ethnic Relations

  • SOC031000: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Discrimination

  • BIO002010: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black

  • POL004000: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civil Rights

For this analysis, the Panorama Project tweaked its methodology to focus on the specific BISACs and ignored publication date to capture a comprehensive look at overall subject demand in libraries, rather than just recently published titles bookstores might still have in stock. The lists measure public library activity from March 1 – April 21, 2020, encompassing the days right before the video of Ahmed Arbery's murder went viral through Juneteenth weekend which is when the majority of “anti-racist” book lists were published and widely shared.

For more information on Panorama Picks, visit: panoramaproject.org/panorama-picks

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Happy Birthday to Me: Get Me a Present-- Read Something You Are "Afraid" Of

Today I am 45 years old. Not that old, not that young. In 2 days I will become the parent of a full fledged adult child as my eldest daughter turns 18. That is infinitely more unsettling than a birthday for me.

And since it is my birthday, I have a gift request for every single one of you who reads this blog and includes it as part of your Continuing Education. This gift will cost you nothing and you will gain much.

I am asking you to read something you would normally be "afraid" of. Below I have the Call to Action post I wrote here in 2016 explaining how to do this and why. And I also have this post by a librarian who answered the Call to Action and reported on his experience.

I do have a caveat though. After you read the original post and figure out the genre you are most afraid of, pick a title to read that is NOT by a white, heterosexual male in that genre. 

That's it. That is all I am asking you to do. I tell all of you to read in genres you are less comfortable and to read diversely frequently, but I also know that  many don't actually follow through. However, today is my birthday so I am going to use it as a chance to get you to do what I want. It's for your own good. 

[Eds note re last sentence: see above where I said I am about to lose a child  to adulthood, so I am feeling like flexing my parenting demands before I run out of time. Sorry.]

Let's try it this way. Please read the post below, and then if you have further questions or need help finding a title to try, contact me. This request [demand?] comes with assistance. And also, let me know how it went.



RA for All: Call to Action: Get Out There and Read Something You Are “Afraid” Of

It’s back to school time here in Illinois, and as library workers, we all know that this is a time for fresh starts. What a perfect time for me to shake you out of your complacency.

I know, it sounds scary, but it isn’t because first I am going to let you complain.


Real quick, say your least favorite type of book to read. Don’t think about it, just blurt it out. Yes, I am asking you to talk to your computer screen. Just go with it.

It can be a genre, a format, a very specific subgenre, whatever you dislike reading the most. It can be a few things. All I am asking is that you are brutal honest with yourself.

Okay, now, jot those down somewhere.

Now, again be very honest with yourself, how do you feel when readers of your least favorite things  come up to the desk and ask for help?

The most common answer I have found is-- AFRAID. Afraid you cannot help that person because you don’t have any positive feelings about what they are asking for. But that fear translates into us not helping those readers as well and that is not good.

Guess what? I have a way to solve that problem. Take that list you just made of your least favorites and...are you ready for this.... read one of them! Why? Because fear comes from ignorance. Not knowing about something makes us afraid of it.

Arm yourself with a little knowledge by heading over to Goodreads or NoveList and looking up your least favorite areas and find out what the best new books are in that world. And then, put something on hold.

I am not asking you to love it. I’m not even asking you to read it cover to cover. Give it a good skim. But give it a chance. Then read reviews, look at the appeals on NoveList and read the 5 star reviews on Goodreads. The whole process can take you under an hour if you focus, but give yourself a few days.

While you are doing this, I also want you to think about your favorite things to read. Why are they your favorites? Now go and look those books’ appeal and five star reviews.

When you pair your least favorite type of reads [with a focus on those who would like them] with your own personal loves, you get a better understanding of why people enjoy the books they enjoy. You move beyond the fear and into a place of understanding.

You will realize that you can still help someone who likes your least favorite books if you simply take the plunge and expose yourself to something you are “afraid" of. In fact, you may find (as I have over the years) that it is often easier to help people who like the things you dislike more than it is to help those with similar tastes. When you already like something, your personal feelings and biases get in the way of your suggestions. When you have less feelings about the genre, you can be more empirical and impartial with your suggestions.

I promise you, no one will get hurt. In fact, quite the opposite, many more patrons will find their next good read.

For the Call to Action Archive, click here.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Using Awards Lists as a RA Tool: Locus Awards Edition

This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool.

Over the weekend, the Locus Awards were announced. These are of particular interest to library workers because they cover SF, Fantasy, and Horror. There are also categories for nonfiction, editor, magazine, and publishers, as well as many shorter fiction options to identify great up and coming writers. There are numerous resources embedded within this list of finalists and winners to educate yourself, enhance your collections, and help readers.

Please go here or see below for a list of winners and nominees. These are titles and authors you should be adding to your collections. 

Also remember this is a great time to make virtual and physical displays of the authors and editors who were nominated, and not just these specific titles.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. Now let's get some good reads into our patrons' hands.

2020 Locus Awards Winners

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners in each category of the 2020 Locus Awards. Winners were announced June 27, 2020 at the virtual Locus Awards Weekend; Connie Willis MCed the awards ceremony, available online, with co-presenter Daryl Gregory. Additional weekend events included readings and panels with leading authors.



  • WINNER: Middlegame, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)










  • WINNER: Tor.com
  • Analog
  • Asimov’s
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Clarkesworld
  • F&SF
  • File 770
  • Lightspeed
  • Strange Horizons
  • Uncanny


  • WINNER: Tor
  • Angry Robot
  • DAW
  • Gollancz
  • Harper Voyager
  • Orbit
  • Saga
  • Small Beer
  • Subterranean
  • Tachyon


  • WINNER: Ellen Datlow
  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Gardner Dozois
  • C.C. Finlay
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
  • Sheila Williams
  • Navah Wolfe


  • WINNER: John Picacio
  • Kinuko Y. Craft
  • Galen Dara
  • Julie Dillon
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Donato Giancola
  • Kathleen Jennings
  • Shaun Tan
  • Charles Vess
  • Michael Whelan