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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Best Books of 2017 So Far and Must Read Lists via Book Riot and How To Use Them To Get Our Patrons Talking to Us About What They Like To Read and Why

Today Book Riot released their "Best Books of 2017 (So Far)" list.  Yes, I know there are a lot of these types of lists this time of year, but this one is better than most because it will help you to both get good books in every patron's hand and to get your collection back in shape before the end of the year onslaught of new books.

Click here to access
Why? Because Book Riot's focus is on readers, more specifically, on matching books with readers. Sounds like what we do, right? Well you can tell they are on the same page as us because their list of the best books of 2017 not only includes all age levels and genres BUT it is also easily organized and sorted by those categories with just a simply click. To the left I have the screen shot of the clickable list.

It reminds me of the NPR Book Concierge-- which I love and you can read about here.

But a best of the year so far list that has the main goal of putting a good read in someone's hand be it by a huge best selling author or a an obscure poet, be it from a major publisher or a small press, or everything in between [because it is all there]-- this unfortunately is a rarity. We need to embrace it.

Click here and take a look. If you don't see any of your favorite reads of 2017 on this list, add your own.  Better yet, make a display with some of these titles, some of your favorites that are missing, and some of your coworkers' favorites too [send out an email to all staff with a link to this post, have them poke around the Boo Riot list, and encourage them to email back their favs]. The more voices we include in this "best books" conversation the more helpful our lists are. I would even include slips of paper and a basket at this display and ask patrons to submit their favorite book of 2017 so far.

Now you have a fun and interesting display that everyone had a hand in creating. You have the "expert" voice, the local library worker voice, and the patron opinion. You can use this information on what the staff and patrons think is "best" to develop your collections and prepare for new books coming down the pike.[For more by me on how to gather more crowdsourced best lists, click here.]

And if nothing else you have started a conversation about what people think are the "best books" and why they feel that way. That conversation alone is one we all are trying to have with our patrons every day. I hear it all the time from libraries-- "How can I get the patrons to talk to me about what they like to read?" Instead of waiting for them to come talk to you, use displays like these to jumpstart the conversation. When you announce to your patrons that you want to talk to them about what they like to read and why, they will know their opinion is wanted.

Also, while we are on the topic of displays, I want to use this post to remind you that Book Riot also does a regular series of 100 "Must Read" books on a variety of topics. I have included a screen shot of just the few most recent.
Click here to pull up all the lists tagged #Must-Read
These are lists of books new and old [yay backlist] but in non-traditional groupings. These lists are more based on how people actually read versus how the publishers market the books. Long story short, these are lists your patrons will be drawn to because they are gathered based on natural language not genre constructs.

You can simply use this link to see everything they have ever done in these 100 books series. Each one has plenty for a display, large or small. And you can print out the graphic, the title, and the short description for your display too. Just give Book Riot a credit. This couldn't be easier AND your patrons will love it.

These displays will also jumpstart conversations because patrons will want to talk about titles that they would include on the list too. When we say "serial killer books" patrons know what that is. They have an opinion and will be more open to sharing it rather than if we said "psychological suspense" or "non-supernatural horror."

Want the patrons to talk to you? Then stop trying to sound like you know better. You don't. Each reader is an expert on what they like to read. Use natural language and ask for more input and opinions. In other words-- put the reader first like Book Riot does.

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