RA FOR ALL...THE ROAD SHOW!

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.

Friday, June 22, 2018

ALA Plans In Person And For Blog

I will be getting on my plane to NOLA soon and I think I am ready for the humidity. I brought lots of hair stuff. And of course, there are always ponytails. I am concerned about the glasses fogging up as you enter and leave buildings though; a few people are reporting that.

I just wanted to check in real quick before I left to let you know I have a full slate of programs and events filling up my conference app, more than I can attend. I will be live tweeting from many of the programs, so if you are also in that room, please come up to me. I have RA for All stickers and pens for anyone who says hi.

I know for sure I will be at the NoveList table for the Carnegie Awards on Saturday night. Not only will it be my last time sitting next to my good friend Duncan Smith in his official capacity before he retires, but also I have a few new projects in the works with NoveList in the coming months. I am excited about all of them.

Speaking of up coming projects, I actually have a lot of those moving forward right now. None of them are in the announcement stages yet, but they are very exciting. I will be having some meetings about them while in NOLA.

Monday for sure you will find me presenting all of my favorites from the conference along with my colleagues:

Monday, June 25 
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM 
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 281-282       
ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
Meeting Type: Other
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
Open/Closed: Open
Hear several collection development specialists rave about their favorite titles gathered from the exhibit floor. Moderated by Susan Maguire, Booklist’s Senior Editor, Collection Management and Library Outreach. Panelist to include: 

Ariel Farrar, New Orleans Public Library
Stephen Sposato, Chicago Public Library
Becky Spratford, RA for All
Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library
Rebecca Vnuk, LibraryReads

On the blog Monday, I will have a link to a brand new podcast appearance, the first of a two parter, the second part of which will contain some info on one of my up coming projects. And then after that, Tuesday through Friday expect nothing but detailed ALA wrap up posts, including a detailed account of what I said for my Read N Rave titles.

I can’t wait to see some of you, but please, if you are ALA Left Behind, follow on Twitter or just wait until Tuesday when I start posting all the info. Feel free to email me if you want more details on anything I post about. If I can’t give it to you, I can get you in touch with someone who can.

I also hope to find a few people to write me guest posts about the things I can’t make it to. But first, to get there and join the party.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Resource Alert-- Final Reports from Library Journal’s Day of Dialog

I was BEA Left Behind which means I missed all of Library Journal’s wonderful Day of Dialog, but I didn’t need to fear because Editor, Wilda Williams wrote up a summary of each and every panel, with pictures.

Click here for all of the Day of Dialog coverage. What I alway love about Day of Dialog is that each panel is broken up by a genre or format and include authors. So yes we get info about upcoming books, but we have moderation by genre experts who ask the authors interesting questions about their work, the genre itself, trends, etc. It is more than a book buzz.

Again click here for all of the reports on one page. Also, don’t forget you can search past Day of Dialog reports. For example, a simple search using this link brings up everything report from the 2017 event. I actually used that link yesterday to suggest a book for someone from this list of popular 2017 titles in translation.  I didn’t go in 2017 either, but those reports are still working for me to help readers.

In fact, I would argue that because I didn’t attend, precisely because I was left behind, I was more aware that I needed to seek out the information from both events. Actively searching for it, actively trying to follow it from afar, meant that it became a resource from the start. Not an event, a resource-- one I have and will continue to use to help readers.

I saved this post for today as a reminder, that being left behind for a major conference does not mean you can’t learn from the conference itself. You might even learn more.

Tomorrow I will be headed to ALA and plan to prove this point to all of you- both those who are there and those who are ALA Left Behind.

I will explain how it is going to work before I catch my plane to NOLA tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

That Time When A "The Book Vs The Media Adaptation” Post Turned Into A Rant About Improving Patron Experience

One of the oldest arguments in our world revolves around which is better-- the book or the movie [or tv show].

Adaptations are never perfect. Some are good, some just okay, and others truly horrible. But here’s the thing, people never do NOT have an opinion about an adaptation, especially if they love the book.

Normally I fall on the, “book is always better than the movie” side, but that is not 100% true. If I LOVE a book I rarely go see the movie. I usually still like the book better, but what if I don’t? I would just rather not know and/or not ruin my vision of the book from inside my own head.

Now, if I don’t like a book or don’t have an option either way, I have no problem seeing the movie or watching the TV show. Game of Thrones is an excellent example. I loved the story the books were telling, but long, epic fantasy isn’t my thing in print. On TV, however, I am a happy camper.

Books into Movies or TV has also long been a fun, popular, and easy display idea in libraries. It’s attention grabbing and easy to connect to current adaptations. It is also an easy way to remind our patrons that we have and care about our media collections. But, rarely do we take sides on the issue in public. Or sure in the staff room or with friends we will go on and on comparing the same story in its different formats, but in our work....not really.

I am not sure why we don’t. This would be a great and inviting conversation starter with patrons. A way to make us seem less scary. A way to connect. A way to encourage patrons to begin an interaction with us. Also, it’s just plain old fashioned, good fun.

Here are two great examples of ways you can spice up your popular, but tired, books to movie displays. Book Riot’s recent post, “13 Movies That Are Better Than the Book.” or my favorite, LitReactors “Books Vs Film” reviews. Those reviews are fun to read and have inspired me to go back to the originals.

So how can you use these in your work. Well first, you can post them on social media and your website to promote your collections and get people to come in and judge these opinions for themselves. Second, you can use either to set up an in-library or online battle/poll to see if people agree or disagree. And third, fourth, and fifth, use these as inspiration to make your own lists or start your own comparisons or hold a vote over which is better the book or the movie every time a new one comes out.

This could be really fun and easy to maintain since new media properties are constantly being released based on already published books. Since we own them all already, you can use each new release as a way to draw people into your building or on to your social media pages and have them interact with the library.

It’s imperative that we make all of our displays, heck all of our library services, participatory. I wrote about this at length back in November here.

Now just about every time I speak at a library I mention the overall point that we NEED to make the library experience more about the patron experience and less about us, our rules, and our traditions. It’s the PUBLIC library. Guess what that means? The public-- not the library workers-- is in charge. And every time I say this guess what else happens? Someone challenges me on this point. And it is usually a supervisor. The “gate keepers” who are always worried about being too accommodating and flexible.

I have always been pro-public and anti-useless rules. It’s why I worked in a public library, specifically in an underserved community. I have zero patience for library workers who but up barriers to access and assistance. Zero. And even when I wasn’t a supervisor I made my opinion clear.

I was waiving everyone’s fines way before fines free was a thing libraries did, and by the way, I got reprimanded several times for over-waiving fines. [FYI, never stopped; kept getting in trouble; never got fired for it though]. I was also one of the first people in my cooperative system to allow new books be checked out for 3 weeks just like a backlist book. Again, I was told I was crazy, but guess what? It’s pretty much standard now. And when a near by [smaller] library wouldn’t send out their new books via ILL to my library [even though we sent ours to them], even though the title in question was sitting on their shelf with zero local holds.... well, I got the bus schedule and/or drew a map for my patrons so they could make the 3 mile journey to go get the book themselves and check it out in person [which was allowed]. And when my Director got a call to “tell that Becky to stop sending people to check out all of our books,” my Director, after confirming that there were no local holds on said titles, called me into his office and told me to “keep up the good work.”

You see, I put the patron first...always. I made their happiness, their positive experience, their interaction with the library as my top goal for every day I served the public. And do you know what? In the public library world, that is never wrong, no matter what your current misguided boss tell you.

I know not everyone is in a position to actively break the rules as I did. But I will tell you that if you are doing it to improve the patron experience, if that is your rationale, you always have a leg to stand on when defending yourself.

And I will repeat this again here because every time I do, I get at least 5 people who take me up on this offer, if you want to make your library better for the patrons and are trying to implement some of my ideas and still getting push back, have your boss contact me. I can make your argument for you. I love putting bad managers in their place, but not as much as I love spreading the message that the patron comes first.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Best Books of the Year....So Far

Today I want to remind you of the joy that are “best" lists. When other people make “best” lists, we have another resource for our patrons, one that requires no work from us. Why? Because all our patrons want to know is that someone thinks a book is worth their time-- it does not have to be us making the lists.

Using resources to help patrons is something we don’t do enough. We put too much pressure on ourselves to create original content. Original content is fine, but honestly, we often don’t have the time. And patrons simply want a list of some books that someone thinks they might enjoy. They need something to help break down the huge mass of choices into more manageable chunks.

Hence the joy of the “best” list. I have posted in detail about how to make “best” lists work for you better many times using this “best books” tag. Click here and look through the posts for more ideas, links and details.

But today, I have this link to the Amazon.com Best Books of the Year So Far lists for you. These lists are wonderful for two main reasons.

1. There are over a dozen categories, so you can narrow things down for your patrons and provide a wide variety of choices for our wide range of readers.

2. Visiting the landing page for the list also reminds you that the editors of Amazon make these lists, in the wide variety of categories every single month. That’s right, even I forget that we can have a new list of “best” books to peruse every. single. month.

And of course, like the Library Reads lists, we can easily go back and see this month 2 years ago, for example, to find titles that are still great reads but not brand new, so therefore, probably on the shelf. It also makes it easy to book talk in a conversational way with your patrons. "Hey, let's find you a great read you missed from this time last year."

Trust me, I have done this with many patrons, some of them of the absolute hardest to please/help ilk, even as they were running out the door to go on vacation. It works. One person wanted three books and gave me minutes to gather them. I literally did this. It was July and I used Amazon’s monthly lists and pulled up the July best book list from the three previous years and convinced her to take one from each list. She came back after and loved them. She then continued to use that strategy whenever she went on vacation.

Honestly, I think she liked telling the story of how she picked what to read more than the books. But guess what? That is the response we are going for-- them liking their overall experience. There are thousands of books any given patron would probably like at any given time, but how they find the books often leaves more of a mark. By starting with a “best” list, no matter who said it was best or why, primes them to be positive toward the book before they even open it.

Well, except for those patrons who like to hate everything we give them. But then, that makes them happy too, to hate the books other people like, so we still win.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Author Stephen Graham Jones Captures Our Love-Hate of the “Back Cover Copy”

I know I don’t need to tell any of you this, but the "back cover copy” or publisher’s descriptions of books can both help and hurt a book. Yes it’s a great way for us to preview a book and even book talk it to our patrons. But, on the other hand, these descriptions can give away major twists or even inaccurately portray the book that follows inside the covers.

When I had my book club vote on possible titles, I only provided them with publisher copy to make their choices. Of course they could go seek more info on their own, but the “back cover copy” was at least a standard that I wasn’t influencing. Some of these blurbs were so bad and inaccurate that we would discuss them during the book discussion.

The point is, we all have a love-hate relationship with the “back cover copy” as library workers and as readers, but authors have just as complicated a relationship with it too.  Recently, one of my favorite authors, Stephen Graham Jones, took on this issue on his blog here.

As a reader, writer, and professor Jones looks at this issue from a variety of angles. I highly urge all of you to read it because you will learn much about how both authors and readers approach a book based on that description. This post is an excellent way to give yourself some outside the box CE, a new way to look at something we encounter every day and make it work better in our service.

Click here for the full post, but the opening bit is appended below to pique your curiosity:


Strikes me that the reason a lot of novels start out so slowly is that they don’t take into account the version of the catalog copy on their back cover. That copy nearly always gives away the central conceit or trick or surprise of the novel, but the novel, pretending to itself that it exists as pages only, no marketing involved, plays its central whatever close to the vest for eighty or a hundred pages, taking the reader up an agonizingly slow incline to the first of its twists or reveals or big developments. Except the reader, because of that back cover copy that got them to buy the novel in the first place, they’re not reading in a “wait, what’s going to happen here?”-mode but a “when’s what I read about on the back cover going to happen”-mode.
At least I know I do.

Click here to read more. And also do yourself a favor and go read something by Jones himself. His works is both brilliant and fun to read, a mix that is quite unique.

Friday, June 15, 2018

What I’m Reading: We Sold Our Souls and Cross Her Heart

The June issue of Booklist features two of my reviews of two high profile, high demand, forthcoming titles. As usual, I am posting my draft reviews here on the blog with bonus appeal and readalikes for you to more easily booktalk these titles to patrons and make readalike suggestion.

Let’s start with my star review!


We Sold Our Souls.

Hendrix, Grady (author).
Sept. 2018. 336p. Quirk, hardcover, $24.99  (9781683690122); Quirk, e-book (9781683690214)First published June 1, 2018 (Booklist).
With his third novel, best-selling author Hendrix brings his quirky sense of humor and pop culture references, but this time, he positions the fear front and center, in a terrifying tale that energetically flips the well worn, Faustian bargain trope on its head. Twenty years ago, Kris was the lead guitarist and creative force behind Dürt Würk, a heavy metal band about to break into the big time, but after a night no one can fully remember, the band tragically split, leaving the music behind, except for one member, Terry, who went on to become the biggest rockstar of his generation. Now washed up and empty inside at 47, Kris is barely holding it together, night managing a motel in working class Pennsylvania, until the morning a horrific murder makes her question the nefarious power behind Terry’s success, a dark power that may have come at the cost of Kris’ own soul. Inspired to take control of her life once again, Kris goes on a road trip from hell, one that reconnects her with old bandmates and puts her on a collision course with Terry, in Las Vegas, for Hellfire ‘19, an epic music festival of demonic proportions. No one is emerging from the desert unscathed, but no matter how high a mountain of horror she is up against, as long as Kris has her guitar, she might have just enough left in the tank to save us all. This is a fast paced, yet thought provoking ride, firmly rooted in the tradition of pulp horror from the end of the last century, but with fear and social criticism spawned from today, anchored by the terrifying implication that we are a society willing to sell our souls on of the cheap. Yes, this is Hendrix’s darkest novel yet, but it will leave readers begging for an encore.
Further Appeal: The frames of midlife regret, classic metal bands, huge music festivals, conspiracy theorists, and the social commentary about commercialism will appeal to many.

Selling your soul to the devil is one of the oldest stories in the Western storytelling tradition, but in Hendrix’s hands it get a refreshing twist, someone else is selling all of our souls, and we are fine with how cheap the price is.

This story is throughly entrenched in a 21st century sensibility but it also has the pulp feel of the classic paperbacks Hendrix combed through for his award winning Paperbacks From Hell. It’s not an homage, but you see the influence, in a good way. The climax also has a Lovecraftian feel, which like the pulps of the 1970s and 80s is also a huge horror trend right now.

One of the things Hendrix learned while doing his research for the nonfiction book was how much women drove those classic pulp novels. He talks about this at length in the book and his stage version of the book too. We Sold Our Souls is female driven. Kris is the focus. Kris is the strong one. Kris will save us all, even though we don’t necessarily want to be saved.

The fear here comes in ways traditional, the demons coming to get their payment and existential, midlife crisis, but one that isn’t your fault, but also in unexpected ways. Here’s an example, much like Joe Hill managed to make Christmas the scariest holiday ever, Hendrix turns the UPS van and it’s drivers into a terrifying army. Seriously, every time I see a UPS truck now, my heart races for a moment until I remind myself that it was novel-- a made up story-- that is making me feel real fear. That is success in horror terms. It is one of the main reasons why this book got a star. To make a reader, even a seasoned horror reader like myself, feel real fear when seeing a mundane object....that is AMAZING.

Finally, like all of Hendrix's novels, their is an underlying humor to everything here. I think you can see that from the idea of making UPS drivers terrifying. It is satire and black humor. It is wink and nod humor [the rehab place in the novel is  great example]. I could go on, but just make sure you read this one.


Three Words That Describe This Book: pulp, satire, terrifyingly realistic


Readalikes: This is hard because no one writes like Hendrix. Yes the old pulps, but this is way more sophisticated.  Parts of this books reminded me of parts of all 3 of Paul Tremblay’s novels, but only parts of each, not 1 totally.

The satire and epic scope of the story, with a great road trip storyline also reminded me of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, but We Sold Our Souls is not nearly as literary or detailed. It’s like the cliff notes version of that classic-- but in a good way. It’s fast paced and thought provoking.


There is a huge influx of music framed horror right now. It might be an emerging trend; for example, Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman and Corpsepaint by David Peak are two good recent examples.


Cross Her Heart.

Pinborough, Sarah (author).
Sept. 2018. 352p. Morrow, hardcover, $26.99  (9780062856791); e-book, $12.99  (9780062856814)First published June 1, 2018 (Booklist).
Pinborough [Behind Her Eyes] is back, aggressively taking on the deluge of domestic suspense titles, throwing down the gauntlet, and challenging all comers with her latest tension driven page turner. Opening with a prologue that announces in no uncertain terms that bad things are on the horizon, the story then pulls back to Lisa, a 40 yr old, slightly overprotective single mom of teenage daughter, Ava. She lives a quiet life in the suburbs, has a successful career and a supportive best friend, Marilyn. But, it quickly becomes apparent to that all three women are each hiding something from the others and the reader, especially Lisa. Someone is toying with Lisa, threatening to bring her horrifying past back from the dead and thrusting it into the spotlight, but who, and why? Narrated by Lisa, Ava, Marilyn and an extremely evil and obsessive antagonist, the anxiety builds relentlessly, clues and red herrings are revealed in excruciatingly small snippets, as both Lisa and the reader look over their shoulders waiting for the twist to come. But when it does arrive, no one will be ready. One of the most satisfying aspects here is that unlike most of the “girl” books being published today, Cross Her Heart is truly, honestly and unapologetically feminist, from top to bottom, a novel driven by the strong relationships between women, for better or worse. This will be an easy sell for fans of all domestic suspense but you should especially target fans of Liane Moriarty and Megan Abbott.
Further Appeal: Okay first things first, Behind Her Eyes had a supernatural twist at the end. This one does not. This is a scary and tense read, but it is grounded 100% in reality. It is the perfect example of how psychological suspense can be as scary as horror as long as you don’t need a speculative element to enjoy the story.

Don’t let the title fool you. This is like no “girl” book you have ever read-- in a good way. Women are the only actors here. There are a few men in the story, but they are window dressing. Women are good, women are bad, women are smart, women make dumb choices, etc... It is truly feminist because it shows the good and bad of women, their relationships, and their actions. No one is only a bad guy or a good guy here. No one is only a hero or only a victim. The shades of grey make this a more enjoyable story. Reading a domestic suspense story that doesn’t “talk down” to the reader, that assumes we are intelligent and can handle nuance, while still presenting a fast paced, suspense story was refreshing.

The time line here is fluid. We have chapters of “Then” and “Now,” but we aren’t exactly sure where we are in time. Don’t worry though, you are never confused. It all flows very well and keeps you moving, feeling uneasy, but still wanting to see where Pinborough will take you next. I couldn’t put this one down.

Three Words That Describe This Book: claustrophobic, anxiety, female relationships

Readalikes: The most nuanced and literary of the “girl” books of all domestic suspense is where you take these readers. So the examples above, as well as Gillian Flynn and Ruth Ware to start. Also Shirley Jackson. Shirley Jackson, 100% Shirley Jackson! We Have Always Lived in the Castle, go read that now if you haven’t. Cross Her Heart owes much to this classic.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Library Reads: July 2018

Before I get to my traditional standard intro to every Library Reads list I wanted to remind you about the work Kelly Jensen is doing over at Book Riot to create a database to help make it easier for you to identify diverse titles. Click here for all of the details and for access to the list of titles she is compiling for you.

Also, the Library Reads gang will be at ALA Annual next week. Below is a screen shot of their three sessions, including a session on how you can get involved. I always have a link in this monthly post, but some of you are still a bit gun shy. Come to the session at 4 on Saturday if you are there. If you aren’t coming to NOLA, I will be at that session and I will report back here on the blog, so don’t worry.

**************************
Today is  Library Reads day and that means three things here on RA for All:
  1. I post the list and tag it “Library Reads” so that you can easily pull up every single list with one click.
  2. I can remind you that even though the newest list is always fun to see, it is the older lists where you can find AWESOME, sure bet suggestions for patrons that will be on your shelf to actually hand to them right now. The best thing about Library Reads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any Library Reads titles because there is a book talk right there in the list in the form of the annotation one of your colleagues wrote for you. All you have to say to your patron is, “such and such library worker in blank state thought this was a great read,” and then you read what he or she said.
    So get out there and suggest a good read to someone today. I don’t care what list or resource you use to find the suggestion, just start suggesting books.

    July 2018 LibraryReads

    Spinning Silver

    by Naomi Novik

    Published: 7/10/2018 by Del Rey
    ISBN: 9780399180989
    “A wonderful reimagining of the Rumpelstiltskin story. A tale of love, family, magic, and destiny, told from the perspective of three strong female characters.”
    Melanie Liechty, Logan Library, Logan, UT

    Clock Dance: A Novel

    by Anne Tyler

    Published: 7/10/2018 by Knopf
    ISBN: 9780525521228
    “Willa Drake gets a second act when she steps in to care for a nine-year-old in a complicated situation. Character driven fiction and a sweeping storyline.”
    Mary Anne Quinn, Warwick Public Library, Warwick, RI

    Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel

    by AJ Pearce

    Published: 7/3/2018 by Scribner
    ISBN: 9781501170065
    “In 1940s London, Emmy takes a job as a typist that evolves into answering rejected letters sent to an advice columnist.”
    Judy Hartman, Mechanicsville Public Library, Mechanicsville, IA

    Baby Teeth: A Novel

    by Zoje Stage

    Published: 7/17/2018 by St. Martin’s Press
    ISBN: 9781250170750
    “A fragile woman struggles against her mute daughter’s schemes for her father’s undivided attention. Dark, creepy, and downright scary.”
    Kathryn Neal, Skiatook Library, Skiatook, OK

    Give Me Your Hand

    by Megan Abbott

    Published: 7/17/2018 by Little, Brown and Company
    ISBN: 9780316547185
    “Kit competes for her dream job with a rival who was once her closest friend. Gripping psychological suspense.”
    Kristy Gates, Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library, Jonesboro, AR 

    Believe Me: A Novel

    by JP Delaney

    Published: 7/24/2018 by Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 9781101966310
    “An unemployed actress works for a divorce lawyer entrapping unsuspecting husbands until she finds herself ensnared in a murder investigation. This roller-coaster ride of a book will keep you guessing with an unreliable narrator and and a twisty plot.”
    Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT 

    Caught In Time: A Novel

    by Julie McElwain

    Published: 7/3/2018 by Pegasus Books
    ISBN: 9781681777665
    “The third book in the Kendra Donovan series finds our protagonist investigating the murder of a mill owner against the the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution.”
    Melissa Barber, Lubbock Public Library, Lubbock, TX

    Somebody’s Daughter

    by David Bell
    Published: 7/10/2018 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780399584466

    “Michael Frazier is searching for the missing daughter he never knew he had. A multi-layered plot with so many compelling, complex characters, this book grabbed me from the first sentences.”
    Evelyn Cunningham, Norwalk Public Library, Norwalk, CT

    The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

    by C. W. Gortner

    Published: 7/10/2018 by Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 9780425286166
    “A look at Maria, Empress of Russia, and her trials before and after becoming the Russian Empress. Well written historical fiction.”
    Janette McMahon, Fremont County Library System, WY 

    Fruit of the Drunken Tree: A Novel

    by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

    Published: 7/31/2018 by Doubleday
    ISBN: 9780385542722
    “Set against the violence of 1990s Columbia, a young girl and a maid form an unlikely and dangerous relationship. Equal parts heartwrenching and beautiful.”
    Alejandra Rodriguez, Osceola County Library, FL

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Corner Shelf Newsletter: Audiobook RA Program Video and Advice for Conferencing

    The latest issue of the Corner Shelf is out and while each issue is always informative, this one has two pieces in particular that I wanted to point out to you.

    First, here is Susan, with her Editor’s Note:

    Corner Shelf - A Booklist Newsletter
    Whenever I go to any sort of library event, something comes over me. It's a particular madness that strikes when confronted with the possibility of FREE BOOKS while in the presence of others who are also mad for swag. I was picking up galleys at PLA, even though I work in a place where publishers send galleys to my office!  
    But this madness cares not for logic. It just wants to fill your free tote bag with those sweet, sweet books.  
    I try to justify my galley gathering by saying I'm going to review the book, or share it with someone I know who totally loves this kind of thing (aka readers' advisory) . . . but I don't mean it. I know I'm going to put them in a pile in my living room and look at them and be happy because free books 
    Aside from the permanent damage this has done to my spine, is it really so wrong? Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes. It is much better to be judicious with my ARC selection, to strike up a conversation with the publisher rep to ensure that I'm using precious suitcase space for something really meaningful. To see free books not as free books but as an opportunity for professional development rather than gluttony. 
    Ha ha, like I'd ever listen to my own advice. Good thing I got Kaite Mediatore Stover to give us some conference-going tips. Plus, we've got the summary and video of Joyce Saricks' listeners'-advisory event for those who couldn't make it, and some great book suggestions, old and new.  
    Oh, and if you see me at ALA in New Orleans with a stack of galleys, feel free to remind me of this column . . .  
    —Susan Maguire Senior Editor, Collection Development and Library Outreach, Booklist smaguire@ala.org @Booklist_Susan 

    First, I wanted to highlight the recording of the live Booklist and NoveList program on Listeners’ Advisory from last month. I couldn’t make it, but I watched the video as soon as it went up. Whether you are an audio RA expert, a newbie, or anywhere in between, there is something to learn here. Details in the newsletter and immediately below.

    RA Showcase: Listeners' Advisory
    Joyce Saricks

    We are very lucky to have Bona Fide Readers'-Advisory Legend Joyce Saricks as the Audio Editor here at Booklist. You all reap the rewards in every issue of Booklist with her thoughtful features and curated reviews. Now you can reap additional rewards (the Saricks? The Joycees?) by revisiting "Listeners' Advisory: Empowering Staff to Take on the Audio Collection," the latest in Booklist's ongoing series of live events called "RA Conversations" (sponsored by NoveList), which was held on May 16th at the Skokie Public Library.‌ read more→


    I also loved the piece by my friend Kaite Stover where she shares her tips and tricks to make any conference experience the best it can be. Whether you are going to ALA or a local conference, now or any time on the future, this is a great planning tool. I have been to my share of conferences and I even picked up a tip. 

    Notes from the Field: 5 Things I Learned in 15 Years of Conferences

    Kaite Mediatore Stover

    Are you joining us in New Orleans for ALA Annual? Are you overwhelmed by the bounty of professional goodness on the programming schedule? We asked Kaite Mediatore Stover for suggestions on how to make the most of Annual in the Big Easy. Let the Productive Times Roll!‌ read more→
    There is much more in the full issue. Click on over and take a look.

    If you are going to ALA Annual you can come see me, Kaite, and Susan [with others] live at ALA Annual. Details were in yesterday’s post.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    NPR Summer Reading Focus is...HORROR!

    Readers of this blog know that I often focus on horror because it’s my thing-- I am the library world’s horror maven. And I know that some of you roll your eyes when I bring it up either because you don’t like it or you don’t think enough of your patrons do to care.

    Well, as I have been arguing all year [see this trends presentation from January, slide 12 specifically which includes speaking notes], Horror is hugely popular right now in all media. The last 12 months have seen an explosion in the popularity of horror with a mainstream audience. Here are just two small examples since the start of 2018, we have seen Get Out win the Oscar for best screenplay and Stephen King awarded the PEN America Literary Service Award for a critically acclaimed writer whose body of work “helps us understand and interpret the human condition.”

    Obviously I am not alone in understanding just how popular Horror is right now because NPR is dedicating their entire Summer Reading series to HORROR. From their site:

    It's Aliiiiiive! This Year, Our Summer Reader Poll Is All About Horror
    This year's summer poll has me hiding under the bed — whether or not there's a monster there — because, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein, we're celebrating horror. And I, your faithful correspondent, was scarred for life by a battered copy of Cujo I found in a summer house when I was a kid — so I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I'm making here to bring you the best of everything creepy, chilling and downright terrifying. 
    So what scares you? Besides clowns, I mean, because everyone is scared of clowns. Use the form on this page to vote for your five favorite horror novels or stories. Based on what you tell us, our expert panel of horror lovers (Tananrive DueStephen Graham JonesGrady Hendrix and Ruthanna Emrys — more on them soon!) will curate a final list of 100 titles guaranteed to keep your spine chilled and your teeth rattling no matter how hot this summer gets. 
    But first, a few rules (like, y'know, don't go back in the house) proposed by our panel: 
    What can you nominate?Series books: We're considering series books as a single entry — so you'd vote for Stephen King's Dark Tower series, rather than The Gunslinger, or R.L. Stine's entire Goosebumps oeuvre rather than one single book — because who can pick just one?Short story collections: If there's a collection with lots of great stories — say, Clive Barker's Books of Blood — that's one single entry.Single short stories or novellas: On the other hand, if there's a standout story — say, "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson — but you can't remember what-all else was in the book, feel free to nominate that one story as its own entry.
    Limit yourself to five choicesBut don't hesitate to nominate something you know other people already picked — we count everything up, and our expert panelists pay attention to what's popular (and yes, it's okay if all of you vote for Stephen King). 
    Don't limit yourself otherwiseReally, don't! If it scares the bleep out of you, we want to know about it. Just don't be too sad if your favorite doesn't make the final 100.
    Click here to participate by voting for your five favorite horror novels. I am going to have to think about this long and hard before I vote.

    And then as it says above, all summer long there will be more horror content from their expert panel of horror lovers (Tananrive DueStephen Graham JonesGrady Hendrix and Ruthanna Emrys — more on them soon!) who will also curate a final list of 100 titles. I know the first three personally [and Grady very well] and I have great confidence in the list they will craft.

    So maybe now you will all listen to me. It’s not just crazy Becky who wants to talk about horror people.

    Also, as usual, NPR Books does a great job linking to past year’s summer reading polls because as you know, the backlist is your best friend when doing RA. [If you don’t know this, I have no idea what blog you have been reading, but click here to see the hundreds on times I have mentioned this point.] Right after the ad break on the page, you can find direct links to the Graphic Novel and Comics poll and the Romance one.

    Oooh, we are going to have fun this summer. I already had a bunch of horror surprises in the works, but now it isn’t just me stoking the horror fires. I now have a major media outlet behind me, backing up what I have been telling you all for months.

    If you are still resisting horror, now is the time to give up and turn yourself over to the power of fear. You no longer can make excuses. You have nowhere else to hide. Surrender. But don’t worry, it’s all for fun.

    Encourage your patrons to vote here. And you too.

    Monday, June 11, 2018

    Library Journa's BEA Shout N Share Titles and the ALA Version Featuring ME!

    My vacation got extended one extra day due to the crappy weather in Chicago yesterday. But never fear, I am still here as promised, back from vacation [at least online] with a brand new post for you.

    Thanks to Library Journal, we have access to all of the details on what happened at their Shout 'n Share program at BEA 2 weeks ago. Read the intro below and click here for all of the titles which these library experts are most excited about.

    But first, Booklist does a version of this at ALA every year and for the second year in a row I have been invited to participate. Here is all the info about that event.

    Monday, June 25
    10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
    Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 281-282      
    ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
    Meeting Type: Other
    Cost: Included with full conference registration.
    Open/Closed: Open
    Hear several collection development specialists rave about their favorite titles gathered from the exhibit floor. Moderated by Susan Maguire, Booklist’s Senior Editor, Collection Management and Library Outreach. Panelist to include:

    Ariel Farrar, New Orleans Public Library
    Stephen Sposato, Chicago Public Library
    Becky Spratford, RA for All
    Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library
    Rebecca Vnuk, LibraryReads
    I hope to see some of you there. However, don't fear if you can't make it. I will be posting my list with details about each book by Tuesday morning [6/26] AND Booklist Reader will have a full list of all of our titles a few days later.
    Back to the BEA version sponsored by Library Journal to tide you over. It's a great list of books that is not only inclusive but also represents all genres, fiction and nonfiction. Enjoy.

    Librarians Shout ‘n Share Their Show Picks | BookExpo 2018

    
    Shout ‘n Sharers (left to right): Wilda Williams (moderator), Stephanie Anderson
     Gregg Winsor, Jennifer Hubert Swan, and Shayera Tangri.
    Photo by Chris Vaccari
    Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Library Journal’s popular Librarian Shout ‘n Share panel once again took center stage on the final day of BookExpo 2018, held May 30–June 1 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

    Occupying the Downtown Stage, one of three main venues for special book and author events, the discussion was moderated by LJ Fiction Editor Wilda Williams and featured a mix of first-time and veteran librarian shouters: Stephanie Anderson, assistant director of selection, BookOps, New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries; Gregg Winsor, reference librarian, Johnson County Library, Overland Park, KS; Jennifer Hubert Swan, middle school librarian and director of library services, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School, NYC; and Shayera Tangri, senior librarian, Porter Ranch Branch Library, CA.

    As with last year’s session, there was surprisingly very little overlap in the discoveries shared by panelists. Home After Dark, author/illustrator David Small’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2011 National Book Award finalist Stitches, drew nods from Winsor, Swan, and Williams. Other titles attracting multiple attention included The Real Lolita, Sarah Weinman’s investigation of the kidnapping that inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s literary masterpiece; Stephen L. Carter’s Invisible, which recounts the life of the author’s remarkable grandmother, who helped take down 1930s gangster Lucky Luciano; and Sarah McCoy’s Marilla of Green Gables, the much anticipated prequel to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Canadian classic, Anne of Green Gables.

    In 2017, A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window was the Big Book of the show. No such thriller appeared on the horizon this year, but buzz is building for British screenwriter Alex Michaelides’s chilling debut The Silent Patient, which will be released in early 2019 by Macmillan’s new Celadon Books imprint.

    The following list includes all titles presented, in roughly the order mentioned, with bold titles indicating those selected by more than one panelist.

    Click here to see the lists and thanks to Library Journal for allowing me to repost.