Announcing the list is not why I am writing this post though. As the title says, I want to remind you as to WHY you should care about and use this list to help actual leisure readers as they come to you seeking suggestions.
There are two things that make the annual Goodreads Choice Awards “fantastic.”
First, actual readers vote for their favorites: I love using Goodreads comments in general as I help readers because I look at those comments and reviews as an actual patron telling me what they think about the book in question. If there is a book I am unfamiliar with, especially in a genre that I am not a fan of, I rely on the Goodreads reviewers to provide me with the information about why someone loved or hated a book, which I can then share with the patron in front of me. I use these comments as a stand-in for a patron [which they are to some library, just not mine].
With their Choice Awards, Goodreads takes this extremely useful service and super sizes it. With the awards, we have the best books according to users of the site all grouped together, and then we get to see the vote tally. We see the winners and the runners up. We see how many votes they got. We have a fantastic list of a range of reading choices that hundreds, or even thousands of readers thought were good enough to vote for as “best” of the year. There is a even a good chance that some of these best book runners up are on your shelves RIGHT NOW.
You can use the reader comments to help you to book talk these options to patrons and actually put a book in their hand today, a book that many people felt compelled to call the best of this year. Your patrons will love you and you will be so happy that you could help them.
Second, and even more importantly for those of us who work with public library patrons, these awards are broken down by genre. With the Goodreads Choice Awards, you have 20 categories, across all ages of readers, and in multiple fiction and nonfiction genres/categories. Nowhere else can you find such valuable whole collection information about the best of the year options with so little effort.
I can help someone who enjoys a wide range of options like literary fiction, horror, and history [like me] quite easily and with one resource. Success! And it is all because Goodreads is leveraging the enthusiasm of readers. Hey that’s what we do as RA librarians too, but we do it locally. They are helping us to peek at the larger picture. This helps us all to help our patrons better.
Combine the real world data from my first reason with the reality of the breadth of the information in this second reason, and you can see why I find the Goodreads Choice Awards to be a fantastic RA tool.
Public librarians who are working with leisure readers...I dare you to find a more useful end of the year best list than this one.