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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NPR Summer of Love: Romance Training and RA Opportunities

Many of you probably already know that NPR Books is dedicating their summer reading coverage to romance.  They are currently tabulating a reader poll on favorite romances. They have also done a great job of explaining the appeal of romance AND are taking the genre seriously, compiling experts to discuss this popular genre’s importance.

Click here for all of the NPR Summer of Love coverage, articles, and essays.

With the new E.L. James selling over a million copies last week, there is no better time to start celebrating “The Summer of Love."

But let’s take the information NPR is preparing for us and use it to our advantage as good about our job of helping to match readers with the right book for them.

Many of you also know that I have a love-hate relationship with romance.  I do not enjoy reading romances, but I am committed to making sure that I am qualified to provide exemplary service to romance readers. [You can follow my struggles, trials, errors, and successes on the romance front with this link.]

Series like the NPR Summer of Love are a bonus for all of us.  Romance is super popular. There is a huge “While You Wait” demand for people waiting for the new E.L. James.  We are fully entrenched in Summer Reading. We have an influx of patrons coming in for leisure reading. We weren’t even thinking about romance because it didn’t fit with the SRP theme.

Pause for a breath here.... Okay, panic attack averted... Back to the post...

I am not underestimating or belittling our dilemma. This is the busiest few weeks for us at the library, but we need to help all of our patrons. You can use articles from this series, like this one about historical romances, paired with resources like NoveList to give you quick lists and/or display ideas.

You can also wait a few more days for the reader poll to come out and then turn that into its own display.

You need to be ready with ideas for the readers coming in looking for E L James, or for the patrons who heard one of the Summer of Love pieces on NPR and want to try a romance on for size.  Start thinking about it now.

Here is an article I wrote for NoveList about romance resources back in March of 2014. That should help get you started.

But just following the Summer of Love coverage is a great idea for your own benefit.  Even if you are a romance fan, romance is such a broad category.  No one reads every type of romance.  You are bound to learn about a popular subgenre you knew nothing about. The expert panel is going to be a great learning tool also.

The overall point I am trying to make here today is that while it great to simply be aware when a major media outlet is running a long series on a specific type of book, it is even more important that you use this opportunity both to educate yourself and promote books to your patrons-- books they might never have thought of reading without your help.

You can do this with any list or media campaign, not just the summer of love.

Oh, and why not read a romance yourself while you are at it.

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