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Thursday, June 12, 2014

BPL Book Club Collection Update

Yesterday, Kathy finished going through the BPL Book Discussion collection circulation statistics and we made the final decisions about which books would stay, which newer titles from the second half of 2013 would be added, and which titles would go.

You can use this link which also lives [always and forever] in the right gutter of the blog titled “BPL Book Discussion Collection.”  The document notes when it was last updated too.

I wasn’t going to do a whole post on this update but then 2 things happened.

First, yesterday, Kathy and I had an interesting experience sorting through the circulation statistics.  We were SHOCKED by how popular the books are.

Here’s a quick run down of what this collection is.  We have spindles with multiple copies of all of these titles right near the RA desk.  Since the two of us have read and led a discussion on every single title AND the staff has heard us talk about them at length AND I have posts to full book discussion reports on each title (see document for individual links), this collection is the best place for us to send readers who can tell us nothing more than that they want a good read.

It is easy to browse and there are always multiple copies available. These are also tested titles since we only add those books for which we both had a good discussion. They are also all in paperback which many people prefer, especially in the summer.

Plus, we got on that whole "putting out multiple copies of the same title like a bookstore does” bandwagon years ago with this collection.  [Click here and go to slides 46 and 47 to see what I am talking about.] The hot trend is to merchandise your collection by showcasing multiple copies at one “point of purchase” area.  We have been seeing the benefits of this for a long time now.

All of these facts add up to our surprise to find that every single title circulated in 2014! We are only in month 6 of that year by the way.  Now, we do have between 5 and 10 copies of each title.  Some circulated 1 copy once in the last 6 months, but others circulated every copy once!

The RA staff is not only using this “sure bet” area to book talk titles to patrons, but it seems that patrons are also finding it on their own.  And while I was sad to lose these titles in the book discussion collection, 
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout 
  • Digging to America by Anne Tyler
  • Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  • Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
I am happy to add these:
  • Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
  • A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
On a side note, we did take a few of the deleted copies from the book club collection and added them to the general fiction collection so we still own multiple copies of these titles (Like Olive Kitteridge which will be an HBO miniseries soon). 

The second reason I was inspired to write an entire post on our book club collection update came this morning when I had a text from a friend. It came in two parts.  Part 1 was about what time my son was going to her house to play with her son before soccer practice.  Part 2 was a plea for help with her book club and their lousy choices.  Ha! welcome to my world.  Playdates and book advice all in one text.  Hey, it is just like I always say in my talks, when you are a RA librarian, you become the book expert in your community.  You can never escape it. But you will never see me complaining about being asked about books when I am “off the clock."

I told her to check out the various links here, here, here, and here on my blog, but then as the boys were playing, we stood in her driveway later on and talked about the group, what they have already read, and what titles I thought might be a good fit for them.  They are in an interesting position because although they do a great job of actually discussing the book, they are a fairly new group.  As a result, they are still finding their way together.

All of this reminds me...I haven’t done one of these in a while, but if you are looking to reach out to your neighborhood book groups in your community, I have a program where I come to your library  and will give a training to local book groups about how to improve their discussions.  I can do a straight up lecture or more of a Q & A.  I also can tie it in to any services you provide to these groups.  I am currently booking for Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 appearances, so let me know if you are interested: bspratford[at]hotmail[dot]com or on Twitter @RAforAll.

So the uniting theme of this post...libraries can turn their work with book clubs into wonderful RA opportunities on many fronts.

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