When I first started out in RA Service, one of the requests I was completely unprepared for was helping readers who liked to read cookbooks for fun to find more they would also enjoy. I knew about reading travel guides for fun more than to prep for a trip because it was something I have always enjoyed. But the idea of reading a cookbook for more than the recipes was foreign to me.
Well, I quickly learned that there was a sizable group of patrons for whom cookbooks was their go-to leisure reading genre.
Booklist has had a spotlight issue on cookbooks for many years, and this month along with lists of the top cookbooks and core collection articles on Foundational Cookbooks and YA for Foodies there is also this excellent piece by Susan Maguire [my fabulous editor] on Cookbook Advisory. Past Becky could have used this, but all of us can use it now.
Susan breaks down what a reader wants from a cookbook. She includes a discussion of the main areas of appeal and how to discuss these with a patron to help them find the best cookbook for them. This is a "how-to" RA article you need to read.
This article also reminded me on the enduring popularity of cookbook book clubs. Many more libraries than I could ever list host these. I have included this example of some of the ones hosted at branches of the Chicago Public Library.
If you are unfamiliar with cookbook book clubs or want some advice on how to start one at your library, click here to read a Book Riot article on the topic.
Why not consider suggesting a cookbook to a reader yourself? At the very least, use the information in Susan's article to put together a book display that pairs cookbooks with a fiction title. I think it would be a fresh and inviting display for your patrons. One they might not expect. And it is when we surprise them that they notice us more.
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