CLICK HERE for quick access to the materials for the 2016-17 Speculative Fiction Genre Study.
The website now features UNRESTRICTED access, including notes from our meetings; however, in order to attend the meetings in person, you must be a member of ARRT. Click here for information about how you can join.


I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Monday, September 11, 2017

ARRT Book Club Study and Genre Study Notes and News and a ARRTCon teaser

Last Thursday we had our every other month ARRT Steering Committee meeting and I have many things to share with all of you out there, no matter where you live. Here's the preview and then you can read below for the details that most interest you:

  • Updates to the Book Club Study including new notes and the November meeting info
  • Updates to the current Genre Study
  • Announcement of the 2017-18 Genre study topic!
  • A save the date with some early info on ARRTCon [which will be awesome and a great deal]
Okay, now all the juicy details.

The Book Club Study group met in July and had an amazing discussion of Dream Land: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones. The group highly recommends doing this book as a discussion at your library. They could have kept going for another hour. The leadership topic was about how discussing nonfiction is different with your book club. The group also created an EXCELLENT list of nonfiction titles that worked and didn't work with people's book clubs. We will eventually turn it into a bibliography and post it here, but if you can't wait, it is in the notes. Speaking of....

Click here now to access the notes on the discussion of both the book and the leadership topic. If you encounter this post in the future, the links will have been moved to the Archive page.

All of the details about anything book discussion related from upcoming schedules, to notes about any of our past discussions, to resources from other places are always available on the ARRT Book Club Study site.

Please join us for a discussion of The Mothers by Brit Bennett led by Megan Rosol: 
It begins with a secret. 
"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season." 
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. 
But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. 
Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
The discussion will be held:
Wednesday, November 8th
2-4 pm
RSVP to Megan Rosol ( 
Please arrange to obtain your own copy of the book for the discussion 
As always, discussion of the book includes a nuts-and-bolts session devoted to sharing practical solutions to the problems and concerns of book discussion leaders. 
The Leadership Topic, led by Greta Ulrich, will focus on discussing sensitive topics. Please come ready to share your successes and failures in this area so we can all help each other. Also, remember that you can always bring any problems or concerns you have with your group, no matter the topic, so we can all help each other.
I am especially excited for this discussion because I loved The Mothers the first time I read it. I also advocated for this leadership topic once Megan picked this book for her discussion because we really need to find a way to teach people how to have civil, respectful, and thoughtful discussions about touchy subjects. People in general are doing a very bad job at this. We, as library workers, can lead through example here.

Now on to the news about the current Genre Study. Here I will be quick because you all want to know about the next one. Please go to the Speculative Fiction Genre Study website for lots of new information. We have the entire schedule from the past 2 years up with notes and assignments. We have only 2 meetings left, so there is a ton of useful info here. Use it to train yourself or as a guide to lead your own genre study.

But you want to know what's next.  I know. Well, we tallied the votes and....drum roll please... Romance came out on top, barely beating nonfiction. We are all very excited to get started planning the next genre study and will be using much of what we learned by shaking things up with the Crime Fiction and Speculative Fiction Studies to improve this one. Plus, we have a team of Romance experts and novices on the leadership team which I think is fantastic. I really think a genre study is improved by including the voices from both sides in the planning and execution of the genre study.

And the last bit of ARRT news is that you all should save the date for ARRTCon on Thursday, November 9th at Naperville Public Library's newly renovated 95th Street branch. This all day RA focused conference will include breakfast and lunch, a keynote by a Chicago area author, the chance to choose your [multiple] breakout sessions based on your training needs [I will be leading some], programming geared toward all levels from RA 101 to RA experts, and a book buzz with free ARCs from Sourcebooks and Random House-- all for a cost of a half day at our state conference. And it’s no filler-- all RA, all day.

The details are almost all in place and being passed on to our contracted graphic designer. The EventBrite is being set up so you can rank your breakout session choices. As soon as it is all ready, I will let you know. This is going to be one of our best,  all day events ever.

Finally, don't forget about the ARRT website or Facebook page for lots of RA related news and info. We realize that membership makes more sense for people who can attend our programs so we offer free access to the newsletter and all of our notes to help ALL. Every patron deserve quality RA Service, and ARRT is doing our part by making as much of our information available as possible.  

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