50 Shades of Grey, but I just didn't have much to say about it. However, my friend Karen over at Shelf Renewal did.
Read her post about how to help a patron who comes to your desk asking for the book. She has some great advice for you on how to delicately find out if they really know what they are asking for.
This is also a good time to mention how the bestseller list is both a blessing and a curse to the RA librarian. It is a blessing because as we help leisure readers it provides a common language. Patrons come in knowing the titles on the list because these are the books everyone is talking about. The curse comes in the fact that although they all know the titles, very few of our patrons actually know what the books are about.
Bestsellers are deemed "safe" in the patrons' minds because if enough people are buying them to make them "bestsellers" they must be good. But being "good" does not mean that 1, every person will enjoy the book, or 2, that it is an appropriate read for you personally.
In this case, patrons are coming in asking for a title that is VERY sexually explicit, and they might not know that. I will do the same thing I do with the Stieg Larsson trilogy when I ask patrons if they realize it is very violent, including some graphic sexual violence. Here I will mention the phrase "mommy porn," and gauge their reaction.
So please remember, when a book becomes a huge hit, we still need to be aware of what it is about. Just because a patron comes in asking for a specific title, that does not mean that title is going to work for that reader. Have the RA conversation with him or her and make sure he or she goes home with the right book for their reading tastes.
We are match makers, not robots. Our goal is to find them their next great read, whether they knew about the title or author before entering the library or not. Now is the time to show them how indispensable we are!
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