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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Collection Development Tricks for Women's Fiction

March is Women's History month which means it is a good time assess your collection in Women's Fiction-- both what you own and what is on the horizon.

But first, before I give you tips on collection development, let's back up here a second. The genre tag of "women's fiction" is always troubling. What is it? What makes it different than romance or literary fiction?

Thankfully, I have answers...well not me per se...someone better.  Rebecca Vnuk is the library world's women's fiction expert and here is her essay from 2013 where she defines and explains this genre and its unique appeal.

So go read her essay and then come back.

Now we can start talking about women's fiction collection assessment.  The best place to start is with the most recent year.  Rebecca compiled this list of the top 2015 titles in the genre for Booklist's Spotlight on Women's Fiction issue. You can also use your library's digital subscription to Booklist Online to search previous year's lists too. In general a quick perusal of the Spotlight on Women's Fiction issues of Booklist from March of the the last few years, is a great collection assessment tool. You know your library has them saved in the periodical stacks. Go pull them and spend a few hours reading and checking your library's holdings.

A couple other assessment tools:

  • NoveList uses the genre tag "Women's Lives and Relationships" and you can pull up the "Getting Up to Speed in Women's Fiction" article which was updated in June of 2015.
  • Look up your most popular Women's Fiction authors on Fantastic Fiction and then see what the authors have blurbed. Do you own these books? Should you?  Here is Jodi Picoult's entry to get you started.

After you have looked at what you have in women's fiction and figured out what to keep, what to add, and what you just plain missed and need to add immediately, it is time to move on to what is coming down the pike.

Last week, Rebecca Vnuk hosted the webinar-- What's New in Women's Fiction.  This webinar featured many great titles, but what I loved most about watching the webinar was that you get a better sense of the other genres that cross over into women's fiction.

You will appreciate how broad the appeal of "Women's Fiction" really is as you listen to the publishers talk about their upcoming titles.

Click here to access the webinar

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