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 including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Me on the Panorama Project Panel at ALA and more from Panorama Project's Book Expo Presentation

The march to DC and ALA Annual begins and today I have an announcement about a panel I have been added to. It's for the Panorama Project whose website you can find here. Also I am part of their Readers' Advisory Impact Committee which I also talked about here. In fact, I have a tag here on the blog for Panorama Project.

The entire point of the Panorama Project is to demonstrate with tangible evidence and data that libraries provide a financial benefit to authors and publishers. My part of the project obviously deals with the RA service end of the issue, but there is a lot of information coming out of Panorama Project that is useful to all public library workers. It has been extremely enlightening and useful to be a part of this. For example, in preparation for my part of the presentation [details below] at ALA Annual, I was allowed to see some early results of the survey. Much of what I have been saying for years in my training sessions is being corroborated.

This makes me feel good of course, but also, having some tangible data to support it will make me better at making you better at helping leisure readers.

Below is the information about that panel  and what we are all talking about. Full info is also here:

Join Us at ALA Annual for an Update on Current Challenges for Library Digital Lending and a First Look at the Findings from our Readers Advisory Survey 
The Panorama Project is hosting a session at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 23, from 1:00 - 2:00 PM (Room 152A at the Washington Conference Center).
  • Sari Feldman (Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Library and former ALA President) will provide an update on issues regarding digital library lending.
  • Sharon Bruni (Associate Director of Public Services, Mt. Lebanon Public Library) will present the initial findings from the Project’s recent survey of Readers’ Advisory activities.
  • Becky Spratford (librarian and founder of RA for All) will present tips on how libraries can address the online and social media promotion opportunities surfaced in the initial survey results.
  • Alexis Petric-Black (Senior Manager, Publisher Relations, Rakuten OverDrive) will present Panorama Picks, our recently launched program that uses library demand data to reveal opportunities for booksellers, publishers, authors and libraries.
It’s a packed session that will engage, inform and delight. We hope to see you there!

I will be posting the link to all of the slides here on the blog on Monday 6/24.

In the meantime, while you wait for the latest info, the Panorama Project has the information and slides from their Book Expo 2019 session here

I have reposted the details below, including access to some work product the Panorama Project has already produced.

Our Book Expo 2019 Session on Readers’ Advisory and Panorama Picks Drew a Crowd
Over 175 people joined us at Book Expo 2019 in New York for our session, Learn How Public Libraries Impact Title/Author Discovery and Book Sales: Data-Driven Insights from the Panorama Project. It was an engaged audience of booksellers, vendors, publishers and librarians and we received positive reviews afterward. 
Bill Kelly (Adult Programming Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library) provided an update on the breadth of U.S. public libraries and how CCPL drives sales at its author events. In 2018 over 11,000 books were sold at 93 events—by the library and its independent bookselling partner, Mac’s Backs. 
Alexis Petric-Black (Senior Publisher Relations Manager, Rakuten OverDrive) introduced Panorama Picks, our new program that reveals unmet demand for books and sales opportunities for booksellers. The program provides a series of regional lists of titles compiled from the wait lists for ebooks at local libraries. The initial lists are available now. Updated lists will be published on a quarterly basis. Click here to learn more and sign-up to be notified when new lists are published. 
Skip Dye (VP of Library Marketing and Digital Sales and VP of Sales Operations, Penguin Random House) closed the session with insights on how PRH works with libraries to launch new authors and titles. With the longhand belief that library patrons are key influencers, PRH actively markets to library readers, in the library, in the library’s online platforms, and on a variety of social media sites. Skip is also a big believer in the power of print promotion in libraries: he noted that he’s often surprised how long the posters they distribute to libraries stay on the walls! 
Click here to view and download the session slides.

Friday, June 14, 2019

What I'm Reading: The Hungry Ghost and Sealed

I have two reviews in the current issue of Booklist Magazine, one horror and one pre-apocalyptic sf. Both are solid titles that are good for general library collections. Both will appeal to a wide range of readers which makes them great for public libraries. Both are solid and well crafted debut novels. And both are short, fast reads with strong female protagonists.

As usual, here on the blog I am posting my longer, draft review with further appeal statements, my "three words,"  and more readalikes.

The Hungry Ghost.

Storm, Dalena (author).
June 2019. 226p. Black Spot, paper, $13.99  (9781732935754); e-book, $5.99 (9781732935761)
First published June 1, 2019 (Booklist).

In this debut horror thriller, Storm takes the Buddhist concept of the “hungry ghost,” a spirit waiting for reincarnation but who is out for evil, and gives it an American twist. Sam is recently divorced from her alcoholic husband and just beginning a new relationship with a former student when a car accident leaves her in a coma. A hungry ghost uses the negative energy of Sam’s lovers and mother to find her body, possess it, and begin to use it to feed off of the living. Meanwhile, Sam’s soul seems to reborn somewhere else. Can the real Sam stop the hungry ghost from wreaking havoc? This is a fast paced, creepy, and atmospheric tale filled with plot twists, well drawn characters, and a close third person narration that allows readers access into the heads of all of the players, even the hungry ghost itself, a narrative device that exponentially increases the horror. The result is an entertaining story that is more than just a terrifying and fresh take on the possession trope, as it is also an intimate look at our connection to our loved ones, inlcudes a LGBTQ positive frame, and lots of rescue cats, cats that are both adorable and integral to the plot. This is a great choice for fans of horror thriller combos like The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins and The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes and Asian horror like The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun and The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike.
Further Appeal: First I want to address the elephant in the room, this book is based on Buddhism and the author is a white lady. Now, I did some research and she was an Asian studies major, so I felt better reviewing this book. Also, all of the characters are white. The frame is just this Asian concept.

Sam, her new girlfriend, her ex-husband, and her mother are all well drawn characters. With the close third person narration we get to see more of them than they give out to the world, which keeps the tension high and makes everyone more sympathetic. I really did love that the ghost is a character too. It made the entire story feel more real. I honestly believed all of this terror and horror was happening as I read because of narration.

It was like a suspense novel in this way. We are frightened because we know "the truth," and the characters do not. It is terrifying. Storm did a good job carrying that feeling throughout without over doing it. She let the characters carry the story and yet kept the pace moving.

Finally, the cats. I cannot stress enough how integral the rescue cats and the guy who runs the shelter are to the plot. This alone is a selling point for your animal lovers. Trust me.

This is a book you can hand out with confidence to a wide range of readers.

Three Words That Describe This Book: creepy, multiple points of view, plot twists

Readalikes: I gave a bunch above but really any fast paced horror thriller that isn't about the blood and guts will work. There is a lot of psychological horror here too.

If you like the American-ized version of an Asian theme I would also try The Handyman by Bentley Little which I reviewed here and gave more readalikes for.

But as I mentioned above, this book is horror but uses many suspense techniques. So readers who really enjoy intense suspense with lots of peril and the shifting poverties between heroes and villains will also enjoy this book.


Booth, Naomi (author).
July 2019. 240p. Titan, paper, $14.95 (9781789091243); e-book (9781789091250)
First published June 1, 2019 (Booklist).

In this short, compelling, and anxiety inducing debut novel, Alice is 36 weeks pregnant, living in rural Australia with her boyfriend, Pete, having just fled the city due to debilitating pollution, severe climate change, and an outbreak of a contagious disease, cutis, which causes human skin to grow unabated, ultimately killing by sealing in its victims. Told entirely from Alice’s viewpoint, she enhances the unrelentingly tension of the plot by making it clear throughout that she is also not to be trusted. She is alarmist about the severity of the cutis outbreak, in deep grief over her mother’s death, and anxious about becoming a mother. Can the reader trust her view of the situation when other characters around her don’t and she even doubts herself? Or is Alice the only realist in a quickly escalating world crisis? Her intensely personal yet unreliable narrative voice is what holds the story together and keeps readers turning the pages, more quickly and compulsively as the story moves to its visceral conclusion. Sealed refuses to be categorized: it is a pre-apocalyptic cautionary tale, an intense psychological thriller, a fable on motherhood, and pure body horror all wrapped up into one unsettling package that will leaves readers pondering the novel long after turning the final page. Fans of Margaret Atwood will enjoy this but also target readers who enjoyed The Grip of It by Jemc, Annihilation by VanderMeer, and The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste.
Further Appeal: As you can see from this review, there is a lot going on here in a very short package, but that is not a bad thing. The point I want you to take away from my review is the sentence I bolded. That is the crux of why someone would like this book. 

The super disorienting unreliable narrator and how she makes you question everything is also very cool. Is this a madwoman unravelling or a pre-apocalyptic tale? I don't know! And that is a good thing. This will be a great option for book clubs who want to try something different because it is full of questions that don't have a right answer and will keep you thinking.

It is also super fast paced. Yes, it is short, but you can't look away. The pacing escalates quickly and evenly. 2 or 3 sitting max to read this book. You just want to keep going.

Finally, the one thing that is clear here is that this is a cli-fi book. Climate Fiction is a very hot [pun intended] trend and I have an entire post about it with more information here. Sealed combines cli-fi and its effects with the idea of bringing life into this world of impending doom.

Three Words That Describe This Book: unrelenting tension, unreliable narrator, cli-fi

Readalikes: Above I make quite a few suggestions. The Atwood rec is obvious but it doesn't hit directly at the intense fear that Alice exudes. Any female oriented dystopian novel, of which there are many very good ones right now, would work well. Here is a link to run a google search.

The three title recs I give in the review work really well in tandem. And those links go to my reviews of them. If you could take all three of my title recs and smoosh them into one short book, you would have the overall feel of Sealed. But I would add that I think Vandermeer's Borne is a very good comp too. I choose Annihilation because it is short with intense, disorienting pacing. But both titles would work. These works have strong female characters.

Finally, don't forget how popular Australia is with American readers right now. Jane Harper's Aaron Falk series is not a crazy comp title here. For some, the setting will prove enough to suggest. Also the excellent, The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett which has been described as "Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist," would have more speculative elements.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

New Book Club Reboot Book and Other Resources Reminders

One of my favorite training opportunities to participate in is helping book clubs, both participants and leaders, be more excited about their meetings. You can see over 260 posts by me about book discussion books, book club training, and book club resources by clicking here.

I have been giving a version of my "Recharge Your Book Club" program for 15 years now. It is the oldest of my training programs. The other day I was looking back at what I said to my students during the book discussion meeting of my graduate class back in 2004 and I was surprised by how much has changed.  Don't get me wrong, the core of what we do in book club and why we do it hasn't changed, but the ways in which we meet, how we interact, where we meet, what we discuss, and who we discuss it with is very different.

Here is a great example. Back in 2005 when I provided a training for my local library system on leading better book discussions, which included a book discussion, I was approached after by a participant who was "shocked" that I shared my opinions as part of the discussion. I would argue that it is pretty standard now for the leader to participate. My how things have changed.

Here is a link to the newest incarnation of my Recharge Your Book Club [as of publication for this post; for the most up to date at your time of reading, please use the tag "book discussion books."]

Speaking of change, my publisher, ALA Editions, recently released a great book entitled Book Club Reboot: 71 Creative Twists by Sarah Ostman and Stephanie Saba.

The table of contents gives you a really good sense of what to expect:
Chapter 1    Change of SceneryChapter 2    Find a PartnerChapter 3    Unite People with Common InterestsChapter 4    Make It Easy for ThemChapter 5    Meet a NeedChapter 6    Target Your AudienceChapter 7    Get QuirkyChapter 8    Encourage ActivismChapter 9    Meet Them Where They AreChapter 10    Short on TimeChapter 11    Put It OnlineChapter 12    Get Them Meeting at an Early Age
I know a few of the library workers who the authors have highlighted in this book, and they are doing great work. I am excited to read it and get even more inspiring ideas. I will be adding this book as a must read resource to my Recharge Your Book Club presentations also.

Ostman and Saba are presenting on this new book at ALA Annual. Here are the details of that session:

I have it in my scheduler and I plan to be there to hear them. Obviously if I am there, I will take notes and share them with all of you on Twitter and here on the blog.

But in the meantime, you can take the concepts identified ion the ToC and pair them with my Recharge Your Book Club slides to get started on thinking about how you are going to improve your services to your book discussion groups ASAP.

There are very few things we do at the library that are as rewarding as running book clubs. They are also some of our most challenging things too.

Don't forget that ARRT is also always here for you and your book discussion group, no matter where you live, with our on going Book Club Study. Visit the home page here and access detailed notes of both our book discussions and leadership trainings. We even have a brand new volume 2 list of our popular, crowd sourced, Under the Radar titles for your book club. These are proven winners you might not have thought about. Click here for the older list. Click here for the newer one. And while you are at it, click here to access all of the original ARRT bibliographies.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Pride Month at Your Library with Lambda Literary Awards Link and A Review of PATSY

Look I am all for promoting LGBTQ books all year long [use this link to see more from me on that topic] but June is obviously a great time to highlight them. Before I go into some pride month ideas, links and a review of an excellent "gay" book that is a great read for anyone, especially anyone who has ever been a mother, a daughter, or ever felt like they didn't quite fit into the roles they were "expected" to fill, I want to remind everyone that LGBTQ books, just like other Own Voices titles, should be promoted and book talked not just for their "diverse" aspect. We don't start our reviews of books featuring straight white people by pointing out they are straight and white.

And I try very hard to lead by example. Did you see how I teased the book I will review in that last paragraph? It's about mothers, daughters, and not fitting in. It is also set in Jamaica and features black, gay and gender nonconforming characters.

Also, we should be putting Own Voices titles in every list and on every display. Own Voices titles do not only belong on ghettoized displays. Just like our real world, which is made up of all kinds of people, so too should that variety of experience be represented in the books we are promoting.

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, I still want to promote resources for Pride Month. Not only is it a good time to get up LGBTQ only displays, in any community [please spare me with your "my community" won't allow it crap; there are LGBTQ people in your town, I guarantee it; you serve them too; they pay taxes too; and if you cannot stand up for your patrons as a whole you have no right being employed by a "public" library], but it is also an excellent time to assess your collections.

In fact, let's start there. As you all know by now, one of my favorite horns to toot on this blog is "Using Awards Lists as a RA Tool." A few days ago, the most prestigious LGBTQ awards were announced by the Lambda Literary Foundation in these amazing categories:

You can click here to see the winners and finalists. But you should also go here for my much longer post about the Lambda Literary Foundation as a great resource in general.

And, you can click here for access to the archive of 30 previous years of nominees and winners to use for displays, suggestions, and to beef up your collections.

So there goes your excuse that you don't know how to find good, critically acclaimed LGBTQ titles.

But wait, because I know some of you will still try to find more excuses. Let's look to other libraries for help. And, I suggest the best place for you to begin is the largest library system in your area. For me that is the Chicago Public Library. They have this wonderful page to celebrate LGBTQ Pride month including multiple reading lists for all age levels, including a separate reading list just for the 50th anniversary of Stone Wall!

You can also do a general google search for more ideas. Click here to run that search.

And now, besides all of the LGBTQ books I have read and reviewed on the blog over the 12 years I have been doing this, I also have a review of a brand new book for you and it is making every best books of summer list.... Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn.

Before I get to the review, I want to remind people that this is Dennis-Benn's second book. Here first book, Here Comes the Sun was also a huge hit both with readers and critics. Click here to see my review and the huge list of accolades and awards it received.

Patsy is both similar and different. Both books are about the mother-daughter relationship and its difficulties from an honest perspective. Both are compelling, thought provoking and brutally honest, but Patsy is a more mature story in that Dennis-Benn allows both the mother and the daughter to be fully developed here. She allows them both the make choices, good and bad. She has written them in a way that has brought them to life.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is the Patsy summary via Goodreads:
A beautifully layered portrait of motherhood, immigration, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love from award-winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn. 
When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York steeped in the promise of a happier life and the possible rekindling of their young love. But Patsy’s plans don’t include her overzealous, evangelical mother―or even her five-year-old daughter, Tru. 
Beating with the pulse of a long-witheld confession, Patsy gives voice to a woman who looks to America for the opportunity to choose herself first―not to give a better life to her family back home. Patsy leaves Tru behind in a defiant act of self-preservation, hoping for a new start where she can be, and love, whomever she wants. But when Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, America is not as Cicely’s treasured letters described; to survive as an undocumented immigrant, she is forced to work as a bathroom attendant and nanny. Meanwhile, Tru builds a faltering relationship with her father back in Jamaica, grappling with her own questions of identity and sexuality, and trying desperately to empathize with her mother’s decision. 
Expertly evoking the jittery streets of New York and the languid rhythms of Jamaica, Patsy weaves between the lives of Patsy and Tru in vignettes spanning more than a decade as mother and daughter ultimately find a way back to one another.

Appeal: This love is about so many universal issues-- immigrant experience, feeling like you don't belong, the complexity of mother-daughter relationships, growing up, women's rights. And then the cultural and LGBTQ issues are the lens through which they explored. That is the frame but the story is universal.

Patsy needs to leave the daughter she loves but never really wanted behind to fully realize herself. Tru, needs to come to terms with her abandonment, depression, queerness, and the simple fact that she wants to just play soccer in a culture where that is not okay for girls.

Interesting side note, I am reading this when it came out during the women's World Cup when the Jamaican girls soccer team is dealing with a lot of these same issues. Dennis-Benn understands the experience of girls in Jamaica right now. It may seem extreme to us, but the news is proving her correct.

This is a character driven novel. Each woman tells her own story, in brutally honest language and emotion. These are women you fell like you could reach out and touch while you are reading. The story is compelling because it is so honest and real feeling that you have no idea how it will resolve. And, speaking of resolution, it is a good, realistic one; not perfectly tied up, but moving forward.

Dennis-Benn has her hands on the steering wheel of this story throughout. It moves at just the correct pace, making you slow down when necessary. The language is beautiful but not over written. The descriptions touch on all of your senses. I particularly loved the descriptions of New York from Patsy as a new immigrant. Yes, this is a story with wide appeal that definitely is in the "literary" genre, but it is also accessible.

This will be a book club gem for all groups, both because of the universality of the themes and the specifics in how well the story is told.

Three Words That Describe This Book: immigrant experience, female driven narrative, brutally honest

Readalikes: Tayari Jones in general because her books deal with family and have dual narratives. Click here for all the times I have mentioned Jones on the blog including more readalikes.

Some may want to read more about the immigrant experience. In that case, I would suggest Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for another award winning, recent American immigrant experience, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Daughter of Fortune by Allende, or Shanghai Girls by Lisa See for historical ones, and Pachinko Min Jin Lee for a look at immigration in a different cultural experience [Korean immigrants to Japan]

Other books about the mother daughter experiences from a brutally honest perspective can be found in this list from Electric Literature from last August.

For more coming out/coming of age stories, I would look at the resources above, but also, I really like how Alison Bechdel tackles the honest complexity of it in her work.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

NPR Books Summer Reads is....Funny Books

I do love the NPR Summer Reads program because they always think like a reader. In the past they have done Horror, Graphic Novels, Thrillers, Romance and more. [Click here for the full archive of all of their Summer Reader Poll posts]. Even in the ones that sounded very genre specific, they went out of their way to ask readers how they read in those areas, meaning the results were different than what publishers and librarians usually would say.

And this year is awesome because it is all about Funny Books. Funny Books is something we get asked for at the library all of the time, but since it is not a genre categorization, it is often hard for us to find titles. We usually rely on working together within our libraries and across libraries making and sharing lists.

But now, NPR is going to use their crowdsourcing power all summer to have experts come in to talk about the best funny books and to create a reader generated top 100! 

I also reposted the text from the site [with links] below:

If you could use a laugh right about now — and I think we all could — the NPR Books Summer Reader Poll is here for you! This year, we want to hear all about your favorite funny books and stories, and we don't just mean comedy writing. If it makes you laugh (or giggle, or even snicker quietly), we want to hear about it!
Our expert panel of extremely funny people — Alexandra Petri, Samantha Irby, Aparna Nancherla and Guy Branum; more on them soon! — will use your picks to curate a final list of 100 reads guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
But first, a few guidelines.
What can you nominate?

Series books: We're considering series books as a single entry, so something like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would count as one entry.
Short story collections: If there's a collection with lots of great stories — me, I love The Oxford Book of Parodies— that's one single entry.
Single short stories or novellas: On the other hand, if there's a story that stands on its own, like Damon Runyon's glorious "A Piece of Pie," you can nominate that as a single entry. (What, no stuffing?)
Limit yourself to 5 choices
You only get five picks, but don't hesitate to nominate something you know other people already voted for — we count everything up, and our expert panelists pay attention to what's popular. (We're expecting a lot of votes for David Sedaris, and that's just fine.)
Don't limit yourself otherwise
You can absolutely vote for anything on the comedy shelf at your local bookstore — and anything anywhere else, too, as long as it made you laugh. Just don't be too sad if your favorite doesn't make the final 100.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Library Journal Day of Dialog Recaps

Interestingly, I have spent much of today putting together my own personal ALA Annual schedule [which by the way, I have made public on the app and site so you can see where I will be if you want], but let us not forget the wonderful Library Journal Day of Dialog that recently happened at Book Expo.

I was not able to make it to NYC for this event, so like many of you, I am super excited to access the panel recaps written by LJ Staff.

Click here to see them all. You can learn about what happened, who was there, what the hot books for fall will be.

Pair the recaps with this post I wrote about how to use the LJ Book Expo Galley Guide as an RA tool and this link to see the Twitter chatter from the entire day [you do not need a Twitter log in to view].

Use this post as a reminder about conferences in general. Not everyone can go. I know that. But those of us who do get to go, many of of work hard to bring you recaps that while not the same as being there, can still help you....a lot.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Come See Me Moderate "Give Them What They Want: Reader-Focused Collection Development" at ALA Annual

We are getting close to ALA Annual in DC and I have some news for everyone reading this. I am moderating a panel for the RUSA CODES RA Research and Trends Committee. And....it is also going to be one of the panels that will be officially audio recorded by ALA and made available to all. This mean, every single one of you can attend virtually [at some point after the event at least].

First, here is the basic info:
Give Them What They Want: Reader-Focused Collection Development

Saturday, June 222:30 PM - 3:30 PM Location: Washington Convention Center, 143A 

Readers are flocking to library’s leisure collections. To make smart collection choices, we must look further than circulation statistics and learn what our entire community desires. Our presenters are using methods suitable at libraries of any size to incorporate patron wishes into collection development, making readers integral to the whole process. 
From complex patron-driven acquisitions plans at large library systems, to bite-size surveys at the smallest libraries, to prioritizing patron requests, to canny materials displays, all of these librarians are finding innovative ways to put what readers want front and center, and to ferret out even the hardest-to-discover reading desires.
This panel is a continuation of the Email Convo our committee had back at the end of April. You can click here to read the notes from that conversation. [Thanks to co-chair Magan Szwarek for getting those put together.]

We are very excited to continue the conversation in DC.  Here is the inside scoop [since I am the moderator] not only on the panelists [which obviously you can see on the website for the conference] but also on what they are going to specifically address.

I have asked each panelist to talk about how they put the reader first in their work at their libraries and within the context of their speciality. We have worked very hard to have an inclusive group who work across the full spectrum of public libraries.

First, will be our tag team of Polli Kenn, Readers' Services Coordinator and William Ottens Cataloging & Collection Development Coordinator both from Lawrence Public Library [KS]. Polli and William are from a mid-sized, single branch library. Their departments work very closely to make make sure that patrons' get what they want. Since many libraries have separation between the public who serve the readers and those who order the materials, we have asked them to talk about how their work informs the work of the other department and then how that work becomes a collection that serves their public.

Second, we have Jennifer Rothschild, Collection Engagement Librarian, Arlington Public Library [VA]. Jennie comes from a large, multi-branch library system. She is going to talk about floating collections and how they put the reader first. Jennie has experience in Children's and Adult collection development also.

Third, immediately following Jennie we have a representative from our smallest library, Rebecca Bartlett, the Collection Services Manager at the La Grange Public Library [IL] which serves just over 15,000 people in the suburbs outside of Chicago. Despite the small size of her library, Rebecca has become a national expert in crafting collection development plans that put the reader first. She will talk about her process and how everyone can do it, no matter the size of their library.

And finally, Annabelle Mortensen, the Access Services Manager at Skokie Public Library [IL], will be speaking about how Skokie consciously crafts diverse and inclusive collections and how their patrons love it.

Each presenter will have 10 minutes for their topic, but then we have taken the 2 biggest issues that came out of the email convo, which are not being explicitly covered above, and I currently have the committee working on answers. Those issues are:
  1. Clearly the thing people want to know about the most from our last email convo is adding independent presses and self published titles [especially with no professional reviews]. Also e-only and audible only. How do we handle these less traditional items? 
  2. What about the collection needs of people who don’t routinely use the library -- do we think they might come if we had more resources to meet their needs? Any suggestions for strategies to find what these needs might be? 
This plan also leaves time for audience questions, so if you have some and will be there, please ask. But only questions please; I will not allow comments about what you do at your library in this Q & A section of the panel. However, we will all be available after to have those conversations. Also, if you are not going to make it to ALA, please leave a question in the comments here and I will get to them if we can. Since it is being recorded, you will be able to hear your question and answer. 

If I cannot get to every question, I will bring them up with the entire committee, we will craft a response for you, and I will post it on the blog with the recording, which by the way could take a bit of time as history has shown.

Finally, the committee, RUSA CODES Readers' Advisory Research and Trends is looking for new members. My term is coming to an end and I am not re-upping due to other work commitments [like writing a new edition of the horror book], but if you are interested in volunteering for this committee, or any other RUSA CODES committees, click here for details.

It's a wonderful committee that meets virtually once a month. And I can tell you that while I am moderating this panel, we all worked on this program together. In fact, I am the back-up moderator because our first moderator isn't coming to ALA Annual. There will be a few other committee members in the audience helping me out. Please come say hi to us after.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Book Expo Librarian Shout and Share

Last week, Donna Seaman moderated the annual Book Expo tradition of having librarians call out the Fall releases they are most excited about. Booklist was the sponsor this year and over on Booklist Reader, they have posted all of the titles. Click here to see what you should be planning to read and order for your patrons.

Below, I have reposted the intro and the information about the Shouters and Sharers but to see the books themselves you have to click through.

Thanks to everyone who worked hard while at Book Expo to gather up and share their favorite titles. I have been one fo these people at ALA Annual a few times, and I know it is not easy to do while attending the conference. But I also know how much it helps everyone, everywhere, to serve their patrons better. So thanks.

Shout ‘n Share! Booklisters Call Out Enticing Fall Titles

We were so excited to present this year’s Shout ‘n Share at Book Expo in New York City, an event where we called out forthcoming books we’re excited about, presenting as many brief synopses as possible in a quick hour. And now we’re delighted to share the shout-outs here, with the able help of Booklist editorial assistant Biz Hyzy. As Booklist’s editor for the Adult Books section, Donna Seaman was honored to moderate, and thrilled to be joined by a splendid panel of book-smart and enthusiastic librarians. Below you’ll find out more about each panelist—and their reading picks for the coming months.
Andrienne is a librarian at the Azusa City Library, City of Azusa, California. A rising star in the EarlyWord GalleyChat, she is a member of the LibraryReads board.
ELIZABETH JOSEPHElizabeth is currently the Coordinator of Information & Adult Services at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut. She has served on the Notable Books Council and the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction selection committee.
BILL KELLYThe Adult Programming Manager for Cuyahoga County Public Library, Bill has served as Chair of ALA’s Notable Books Council, a member of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence selection committee, and a member of ALA’s Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Committee. Bill is also a recipient of the Allie Beth Martin Award, given to a librarian who has demonstrated extraordinary range and depth of knowledge about books and distinguished ability to share that knowledge.
STEPHEN SPOSATOAs Manager, Content Curation, Stephen Sposato supervises content selection and readers advisory for Chicago Public Library, where he has worked for over twenty years. He is a current member of the CODES Notable Books Council and serves on the LibraryReads Board.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Secrets of the Book Critics and Book Marks: A Great RA Resource

On Monday I had this post about using Librarians' Best Book Picks as a resource.  Today, I have the other side of the coin, interviews with Book Critics via Book Marks [incidentally one of my favorite resources and I wrote about that 6 months ago here].

From Book Marks "About" page:
Every day, the Book Marks staff scours the most important and active outlets of literary journalism in the US—from established national broadsheets to regional weeklies and alternative litblogs—and logs their book reviews. When a book is reviewed by at least three outlets, each of those reviews is assigned an individual rating (Rave, Positive, Mixed or Pan). These ratings are then averaged into a result and the book becomes part of our Book Marks database. 
Each book’s cumulative rating functions as both a general critical assessment, and, more significantly, as an introduction to the range of voices and opinions that make up the world of American literary criticism. These opinions are accompanied by pull quotes representative of the overall stance of each individual review, and readers can click through to the full review at its source. 
Readers can express their own opinions alongside those of the critics in each book page’s What Did You Think Of… comments section.  
Book Marks exists to serve as a consolidated information resource for the reading public and a link between the worlds of literary creation, criticism and consumption. We hope it will bring more attention to great books and great criticism. 
The writing community benefits from a multiplicity of voices.  
We’re eager to hear yours. 
I love using this resource to find out more information about books, especially genre titles. For example, here is the horror page that features many titles. First, this is a great place to go for each genre  they break out to see what the newest and best reviewed titles are. But second, I also like it because they look to Booklist as one of their sources for reviews. Our reviewers [myself included] are featured prominently and with as much weight as more traditional reviewers. Libraries matter to them, so this resource would matter to you.

That is why I was super excited to see that Book Mark featured one of my Booklist colleagues, Annie Bostrom, in their Secrets of the Book Critics feature series.

Not only did I love reading about someone I know, but I also went through more of the interviews in the series and quickly realized how much of what I said on Monday about using the librarian interviews holds true here too.

So go back and read Monday's post if you haven't already. Look at those interviews. And then, come back here and look at Secrets of the Book Critics too. You will learn a lot about how reviews are written and get a cache of new titles to recommend. And by new, I don't mean the books are all new, rather the suggestions are new to you and your patrons.