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Monday, November 30, 2015

New York Times Notable Books List and How It Can Help You

I had another post planned for today, but I wanted to make sure I posted the link to the NYT Notable Books list. [That post will go up later this week.]

This is a list of 100 books. What I love about the list is its length.  Why? Well first you get some nice surprises when you have 100 books.  Yes, a few of my favorites which were on many other lists are there, but that’s not all.

For example, one book I was so glad to see on there was the graphic novel Here by Richard McGuire which I started reading last night and had to force myself to stop so I could get some reviews finished. It is wonderful, but this is the only list where I have seen it mentioned.

The length at 100 books also means that there is a good chance you have something from this list on your shelves right now to satisfy readers who want to read the “best" books. [Don’t forget to check out my post about how to make the curse of the “best” list season work in your favor.]

But finally, I love this list because it serves as one of my favorite collection development tools for the general leisure reading collection.  While I realize that not every library can order all 100 books, I always used this list to check against my collection.  Did we order these books throughout the year? Did they circulate? Is this what our patrons wanted to read? What conclusions can I draw about my population’s reading preferences and the “best” titles? What books did my patrons like more that are not on this list?

The Notable Books list is one a few “guideposts” that you can use to quickly measure the state of your collection and the state of “literature” in America today. It is long enough to cover multiple areas of interest and appeal, but short enough to be sorted through in a timely manner.

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