Robin has been the main voice for ALL of these issues for years, so many years in fact, I have no idea why it took so long for her to be acknowledged. Click here or see below for specifics.
This is also one of the few times that the excellent work done by library workers for leisure readers is acknowledged as important enough to be deemed at “Mover & Shaker” level. No, Robin is not the only one who focuses on providing “fun” items to be honored ever, but it is important to note that the work she does, that all of you reading this do, is usually held to a lower standard of importance in the greater library world. This is so counter intuitive though because what we do is at the heart of the entire library.
Robin is one of our most vocal advocates and I cannot be happier for my friend and also, for all of us who fight the same fight Robin does, but on a smaller scale. Let’s keep up the conversation about diverse books, let’s keep defending genre as worthy, and let’s remember to provide access to titles NOT only by the Big 5 in our collections. Let’s show the library establishment how much “readers” still matter.
All week the Movers & Shakers will be released with this link by category. Check in daily to see everyone else, but I can’t imagine there will be someone more in synch with what all of you are doing on a day to day basis.
Whether she is tweeting her latest collection find, speaking to the New York Times about diversity in romance (“A Genre of Romance, Not Diversity,” 10/10/17), presenting at professional conferences, or pushing libraries to purchase self-published (indie) books, collection development librarian Robin Bradford constantly campaigns for readers’ needs. “You never know when someone will actually hear you,” Bradford says. “So I try to advocate for things as often as possible, whether that is romance books, or diverse books, or indie books, or all of the above.”
Bradford is a national leader in an ongoing conversation aimed at raising awareness about diverse books, indie books, and respecting readers of romance and other genres. She presents at major conferences including the American Library Association, BookExpo, Bouchercon World Mystery Fiction Convention, Romance Writers of America (RWA), and RT Booklovers. In 2016, Bradford was named the RWA Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year. She has twice judged LJ’s SELF-e contest, writes reviews for recently launched review publication Indie Picks, and has contributed to LJ.
Bradford began to purchase self-published books for libraries before the indie explosion. “Seeking out indie books is important…because that is where a lot of [authors] shut out of traditional publishing are raising their voices,” Bradford says. “[We need] authors from all backgrounds to be published so that we can hear stories from a lot of perspectives [and] interact with people across all walks of life.”
When it comes to indie titles, Bradford says many libraries have let patrons take the lead in finding great books that are self-published. “It’s time [librarians] got back in the game and started discovering indie books that fit their collections,” she says.
Most recently, Bradford has helped inform Timberland library staff about multicast GraphicAudio Books on CD, so staff will be better able to connect readers to what they love across genres and formats. For example, she says, a patron with an appetite for Westerns might enjoy a multicast audiobook or indie Western film released to DVD. This level of readers’ advisory goes beyond the entry level and breaks “barriers to [customers] finding their next great book,” she says.
Bradford’s advocacy extends to mentoring newer librarians, “just as more experienced librarians helped me when I first got started,” she says, “and to increasing diversity in librarianship itself.”