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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Promoting the Midlist: Booklist Webinar Archive and Becky's Thoughts on the Power of the Midlist

I am still catching up on all of the great RA training and resources that I missed while ignoring work for 10 days on vacation, and I figured if I missed it, you might have too.

Here is the archive recording of a FREE, 60 minute webinar that is worth your time:
Readers' Advisory for Your Library's Midlist Collection   (August 11, 2015)  Join Booklist and Thorndike Press for this free, hour-long webinar on using Readers’ Advisory to leverage your library’s midlist, with a special focus on Large Print books. RA experts Wendy Bartlett (Cuyahoga County Public Library), Robin Nesbitt (Columbus Metropolitan Library), and Joyce Saricks from Booklist will discuss approaches and techniques to help you promote your adult midlist—and help your readers find those special under-the-radar gems.  
Click on the title to access the webinar..

I talk about the backlist a lot here on the blog, most recently in detail back in January in this post. Here is an excerpt:
I have talked about the backlist  many times on this blog, but the basic gist is that there are more great reading choices lurking in the stacks than there are on the new shelf.  The newest hottest books are selling themselves because that's what is dominating the media right now; but most are quickly forgotten.  You will have your best luck and your most rewarding experiences with the backlist titles you suggest. [You can see more from me on the topic here.]
But, this webinar also brings up an important point-- Midlist books are a great way for us to show off our stuff to patrons. In fact, I have started a tag here on the blog for midlist to go with the one I use regularly for backlist.

As Joyce said in the webinar, and as was tweeted out by Lucy Lockley using the hashtag #MidlistRA:

Who else is letting patrons know about these titles? It's not their publishers or bookstores or even the media.  They are all focused on the new, the shiny, and the hot titles of the moment. There are great titles that we bought last year, 4 years ago, heck, even last week that are fantastic reads but are not getting the attention they deserve. These are those "sure bets" we keep up our sleeves to help patrons when we are stuck. [Click here for more from me on "sure bets."]

Midlist is different than the backlist in a key way however, as midlist might be current books. Sometimes readers resist the backlist because the titles are "old." Experience has shown me that this is the case more often than not.  I could often talk patrons who trusted me into reading old titles because they were willing to take the leap "back in time" based on previous successful RA interactions, but in order to earn the trust of patrons in the early days of our RA relationship, midlist options worked wonders. The readers got a great read they never knew existed and it was fairly current (same year).

Don't underestimate the psychological advantage you have by suggesting new books that your patrons may have missed. Old books your patrons expect you to know about. Current bestsellers, same.  But current midlist titles.... you have their attention now. How did you know that? Well, it's our job to know, but most of our library users don't realize that we are that awesome. You need to stand up and show them how great you truly are! The midlist is a great opportunity to do that.

Here's one of my recent successes of a midlist title, not mentioned in the webinar, that has wowed more than a few patrons in the manner I described above-- Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement.

So spend 60 minutes watching this webinar to learn why you need to care about the midlist. It will help you look like a superstar to your patrons, finding them great reads they never would have identified on their own and isn't that why we do this job in the first place?

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