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.

Friday, January 17, 2020

ARRT Updates with Links and CE Options for All Both Near and Far

It's a new year for ARRT and for the first time in a long time, I am not on the Steering Committee, but I am still a member.

One of the things I worked on while on the Steering Committee was to make as much of the ARRT work product as possible available to people everywhere.

ARRT is a regional RA networking and continuing education group which means you get the most out of the membership if you live in the Chicagoland area. However, we produce resources through our programs that can and should be used by anyone serving leisure reading patrons at any library, anywhere.

As ARRT begins the new year, the latest issue of the newsletter just went out to the mailing list. You can click here to see that newsletter with all of the links, but I also wanted to remind you that you do NOT need to be a member of ARRT to get the newsletter. Anyone can signup for the ARRT mailing list here.

I did want to repost a few of the most useful links and information from the newsletter, here on the blog. You can find those below. Personally, I plan to be at the February launch of the Nonfiction genre study and the next Book Club Study meeting. So maybe I will see some of you there in person, or  you will see me in the notes [for those of you who participate from afar].

Have a great weekend.

ARRTcon 2019
A big thank you to all of you that attended ARRTcon 2019. It was a full day of presentations and sessions about readers' advisory. We also were thrilled to announce the newest version of the ARRT Popular Fiction List. As members of ARRT, you should have received an email with a file of the most current list. You can find slides and handouts from ARRTcon 2019 here
Book Club Study: The Mars Room
In November, we discussed The Mars Room by Rachel KushnerThe leadership topic focused on discussing Summer and Winter reading programs.

Book Club Study 
Wednesday, February 19th, 2-4pm 
Please arrange to obtain your own copy of the book for the discussion. As always, discussion of the book includes a leadership topic session devoted to sharing practical solutions to the problems and concerns of book discussion leaders. The leadership topic for this session is discussing nonfiction. Please bring a list of  nonfiction titles you have discussed with your book group. 
Free to ARRT members. RSVP to Melissa Stoeger

Romance Genre Study 
We wrapped up our 2 year Romance Genre Study in 2019. Here are the notes for the last sessions in 2019: August: Paranormal Romance. October: Romance Programming and Merchandising. December: Book Talks and Wrap-Up.

Save the Date: 2020 Narrative Nonfiction Genre Study 
2/6/2020 @ Lisle District Library: Welcome Meeting, 2-4 p.m.
4/2/2020 @ Glenview Public Library: Social Issues, 2-4 p.m.
6/4/2020 Lisle District Library: Let's Make Something: Food, Crafts, Arts and Decorating, 2-4 p.m.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Library Journal Takes a Deep Dive Into Generational Reading Habits: Part 3

As I have been reposting using the tag "generation reading behavior," Library Journal conducted a survey of readers with a focus on their generation. You can pull up every post on this topic with one click, but for those who want a sorted list:
Part 3 is up now and it a summary of the responses to their main questions grouping all generational responses together. There are some interesting conclusions to see here.

Below is the introduction to the latest piece in the series and a link to access it, but before I get to that I want to remind all of you, my readers, that there is a lot to take away from here. Use this series to think about how you target leisure readers in your library service.

Of course we know in our brains that one size does not fit all when it comes to public service for leisure readers, and yet, I hear staff express dismay when their tactics with one group of patrons doesn't work with another. I have been a proponent of using different methods to reach all patrons for years. Passive RA, conversation starters, virtual, social media, in building, print lists, online lists, displays, cross department marketing....the list goes on and on. We have always needed to use a variety of methods and formats to reach all of our users. At least now, we have a little bit of data to help us craft a more targeted plan of service.

I hope the results keep coming out in this generational reading habits series. And when they do, I will cross post and catalog them for easier access here.

And now, to Part 3:

Click here to access the article

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Library Reads: February 2020

  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 through this archive OR the sortable master list allowing you to mix and match however you want.
  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.
  4. Every upcoming book now has at least 1 readalike that is available to hand out RIGHT NOW. Book talk the upcoming book, place a hold for it, and then hand out that readalike title for while they wait. If they need more titles before their hold comes in, use the readalike title to identify more readalike titles. And then keep repeating. Seriously, it is that easy to have happy, satisfied readers.

Also, the Library Reads Board has also started another great book discovery and suggestion tool for you, a monthly What We're Reading column. This means there are even more library worker approved titles, new and old, for you to choose from. 

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.

Also, please remember to click here for everything you need to know about how to participate. And click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month. 

Click here for the full list in the archive

You voted, we counted, and February's LibraryReads Favorite is:

The Authenticity Project
A Novel
by Clare Pooley
(Pamela Dorman Books)
“Julian, Monica, and others present themselves publicly in one way, but their entries in an Authenticity Project notebook reveal them to be more insecure, eager to change, and ultimately more interesting. A heartwarming story about how not everyone tells the truth about who they are. For fans of The School of Essential Ingredients, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and A Man Called Ove.”

Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleboro, MA
NoveList read-alike: Behind Her Eyes / Sarah Pinborough

The Bear

by Andrew Krivak
(Bellevue Literary Press)
“A young girl and her father live alone in a mountain forest that fronts a lake in a devastated world. She learns from him how to live off the land, hunting for food, and finding shelter. The Bear is the moving story of a journey they make together to the ocean, and the bear who helps her find her way back home. For fans of The Dog Stars (Heller) and The Road (McCarthy).”

—Sandy Jones Boyd, Mountain Regional Public Library, Young Harris, GA
NoveList read-alike: Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

The Girl in White Gloves A Novel of Grace Kelly by Kerri Maher(Berkley)
“An interesting, fictional take on the life of one of America’s favorite actresses, Grace Kelly. She struggles to break free from controlling parents and forge her own life. Although she marries her prince, the confinements of her marriage contract assure that she never truly succeeds at happily ever after. For readers who liked The Girls in the Picture (Benjamin) and A Touch of Stardust (Alcott).”

—Debbie Lease, Hillsdale Public Library, Hillsdale, NJ
NoveList read-alike: Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor

Golden in Death
An Eve Dallas Novel
by J. D. Robb
(St. Martin's Press)“Hard to believe that this is #50 in this series. Even harder to believe that the stories remain fresh and the characters compelling, but it does not disappoint. There's a satisfying path to solving the very distressing murders, and particular pleasure in seeing the characters continue to change and grow. For fans of the In Death series, Linda Howard, and Lisa Gardner.”

—Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, NY
NoveList read-alike: Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen

Mercy House
A Novel
by Alena Dillon
(William Morrow Paperbacks)
“Mercy House, a battered women’s shelter run by nuns, is being investigated by an arrogant bishop and threatened by a violent gang leader. In a world full of predators, Sister Evelyn protects her traumatized and diverse flock of women with everything she’s got. She is a rousing, radical, literary hero of heart-stirring courage. Give to fans of Elizabeth Berg and Anita Diamant.”

—Jill Minor, Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, VA
NoveList read-alike: The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

Oona Out of Order
A Novel
by Margarita Montimore
(Flatiron Books)
"During the New Year countdown, 19-year-old Oona Lockhart faints and wakes up in her 51-year-old body. I can't wait for my bookish friends to read this time-jumping debut novel so we can discuss it. For fans of Audrey Niffenegger, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Liane Moriarty."

—Darla Dykstra, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO
NoveList read-alike: The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

he Other Mrs.
A Novel
by Mary Kubica
(Park Row)
"Sadie, Will, and their two children move to Maine following Will’s sister’s suicide, to care for her teenage daughter Imogen. Soon after, a strange murder happens in the house across the street. The family’s past is revealed along with the unraveling of the neighbor’s murder. For fans of You by Caroline Kepnes (both the book and the Netflix show)."

—Christine Edgar, Farmington Libraries, Farmington, CT 
NoveList read-alike:The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar

Saint X
by Alexis Schaitkin
(Celadon Books)
"Claire was a child when her much older sister Alison died and there are many gaps in her knowledge of who Alison was and how she died. This is a deep character study and a story about obsession, grief, and finding a path after loss. For readers who enjoyed What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons and The Other Americans by Laila Lalami."

—Rebecca Swanson, Fitchburg Public Library, Fitchburg, MA
NoveList read-alike: Going East by Matthew D’Ancona

The Splendid and the Vile
A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
"Once again Larson's new book is nonfiction that is as hard to put down as the best fiction. The book recounts the early days of Churchill as prime minister when France fell to Germany and the British Empire stood alone against Hitler. For readers who like John M. Barry (The Great Influenza) and David King (Death in the City of Light)."

—Celia Morse, Berkley Public Library, Berkley, MI
NoveList read-alike: Their Finest Hour by Winston Churchill

The Worst Best Man
A Novel
by Mia Sosa
"A classic enemies to lovers plot told from the perspective of both sides of the would-be couple, both likable and the chemistry between the two was well-written and believable. For fans of Red, White & Royal Blue and The Wedding Party."

—Karma Campbell, Catoosa Public Library, Catoosa, OK
NoveList read-alike: Faker by Sarah Smith

The Sun Down Motel
by Simone St. James (Berkley)
"Another chilling ghost story from St. James, who seems to surpass the level of shiver with each book. A young woman uncovers old secrets and stirs up vengeful ghosts when she travels to upstate New York in search of an aunt who disappeared 35 years earlier."
—Patricia Uttaro, Monroe County Library System, Rochester, NY
Read-alike: The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon Read-alike: The Vanishing by Wendy Webb Read-alike: The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman Read-alike: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Reading Resolutions Guest Post: Alissa Williams

Today is Day 2 of Librarians sharing their reading resolutions with you. Yesterday we heard from Lila Denning, from St Petersburg, FL with a set of resolutions regarding passive RA. They were five goals she has in regards to her passive RA, goals she wanted to pass on to a larger audience.

But Denning works for a large library system and is a national expert on displays. Most of you out there work at much smaller libraries and you do a little of everything, trying to tread water with your day to day duties without much time to think about your own growth. That is why I am also featuring Alissa Williams and her resolutions today.

Alissa Williams is the Director of Morton Public Library District, a small library near Peoria, IL. Williams, like most small public library directors, wears a lot of hats in her library and throughout her community. But, as she told me in her email, she normally enjoys seeing my resolutions, but hasn't made any of her own for a few years. This year, she wanted to change that and give herself some goals to strive for, both professionally as a reader and personally.

While I loved Denning's advice about passive RA and think every single one of my readers can take something away from her points, I think Willams' resolutions provide an excellent counterpoint, a mix of professional and personal goals that everyone can relate to. 

For example, as you can see below, Williams has goals that take into account her other goals, she has thought about things she used to do as part of her job, but does not anymore, and she takes personal goals and makes a resolution to turn the planned reading into a work product for her patrons. These are intentional resolutions based on an assessment of her own reading over the last few years, but they are also extremely specific to her personally and her community. 

Together, the three resolution posts [mine included] offer a range of examples and give you, my readers, no excuse not to craft something for yourself. 

Thank you to Williams and Denning for sharing their resolutions and I hope this mini series of posts will inspire the rest of you to really think about your reading goals for 2020. 

Alissa Williams' Reading Resolutions, 2020

1.  I want to read 8 more books in my presidential reading project. In 2014, I set a personal goal of reading biographies of all US presidents (in order) and once I finally stopped procrastinating on reading Team of Rivals I've made a lot of progress (thanks to those mostly forgettable one-term gilded age presidents). 

2. I'd like to read 50 pre pubs and have at least one annotation selected for Library Reads. On average I read about 30 prepubs per year, but this year I want to be more intentional about it. And as I was thinking about this goal - I think for the library I'd like to produce a summer reading guide (based on all these prepubs I'm going to read). 

3. I want to read 12 young adult books. I used to lead a young adult book group at the library (for adults) and I really miss this genre, plus it serves as a nice palate cleanser from the president bios I read. 

4. I'd also like to complete 10 read alouds with my daughters. Last year we did 8 and I'd like to make this a more regular part of our routine - we're consistent when we have a book we're engaged it, but if I don't have the next book ready we can get out of the habit. 

5. Finally, I want to have a "summer of harry potter" I borrowed this idea from Gretchin Rubin (who in her 19 for 2019 had a summer of proust). It's been 15 years since I read these and now that my oldest is wanting to read them I thought it would be a fun summer reading project. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Reading Resolutions Guest Post: Lila Denning

When I posted my Reading Resolutions last week, I also asked for any of you out their to share yours. Today and tomorrow I will be featuring two librarians who heeded the call.

First up is Lila Denning. Denning is the Acquisitions Coordinator for the St. Petersburg Library System in St Petersburg, FL, which includes collection development, collection maintenance, and cataloging.  Her library experience includes circulation, reference, youth services, outreach, and programming. Lila also worked for both Barnes and Noble and Borders. She is currently a member of the RUSA CODES Research and Trends Committee.

Denning is an expert on displays in libraries. She has presented on the topic at conferences and Tweets about it regularly

Denning also mentions a live training I will be doing in FL next month. I you can join us, the link is below.

Thank you Denning for sharing your resolutions with all of us.

Reading Resolutions : Passive Readers Advisory Edition 
by Lila Denning

In the spirit of the resolutions already posted by Becky, I thought I would offer some related to book displays and other forms of passive readers advisory. I have been thinking more about the importance of passive readers advisory as I prepare to participate in the Horror Writers of America’s Librarians Day in May. Horror is a genre that will circulate if put in front of your patrons. There are things about book displays and passive RA in general that should be kept in mind as we start 2020.

While it may feel differently on a busy day, we don’t talk to most of the people who come into our buildings. The only chance we may have to help them find the right item for that moment is through passive forms of readers advisory.  Signage, book displays, bookmarks, and digital lists can be used to showcase your collection or highlight materials by theme, genre, author, or subject matter. 
For more information on readers advisory, I would suggest Florida library workers attend the Readers Advisory for All face-to-face training session hosted by TBLC at the Bruton Memorial Library in February, 2020.

2020 Resolution: Stop apologizing for not making book displays that are fancy. My book displays generally have a sign with the theme or subject of the display and piles of materials. I don’t dress them up with accessories or make themed bulletin boards to accompany them. They are more utilitarian usually only decorated with bookmarks about library databases and programs. I don’t plan them out to make a splash on social media (although I do post images of them). That is because I use them for readers advisory and to market the collection. It’s the library materials that are the focus and making the display as inviting as possible for patrons to look at items and check them out.  Displays for enclosed glass cases or in school libraries serve a different purpose. The displays that I create and encourage are to help people find something that they did not expect. You may not have time to dress up a display but gathering a selection of materials and making a simple sign in Word is achievable.
2020 Resolution: Always remember to consider EDI in all displays.
I put up displays for various months and memorial days but every display of materials should include titles by a variety of authors who represent the depth and breadth of both our communities and the greater world. Books by authors of colors and own voices titles should be included throughout the year. When you are developing lists of books for flyers, bookmarks, or digital lists, double check them to make certain that you have been inclusive. Gathering titles for a display with EDI in mind is another way of spot-checking your collection. If you are putting up a winter romance display and have no books by diverse authors, that is something that needs to be brought to the attention of your collection development team.

2020 Resolution: Blending genres and item types is here to stay
. Focusing on one subgenre should be part of passive readers advisory. I did a display on folk horror after Midsommar received a lot of attention. I have created lists of police procedurals and romances with shapeshifters. In general, however, I try to mix it up so a display about historical fiction will also include romance, horror, and mysteries. A list of books about prohibition will include fiction and DVD options. When it comes to genres like horror – mix those titles in with psychological suspense and thrillers. There are a lot of books that will appeal to people who say they don’t read horror. One display I did was “Not So Home Sweet Home” which mixed horror titles about haunted houses with family dramas and suspense novels about bad marriages. Use displays to help people find books they could love but would pass over. Don’t place limits where they don’t need to be, especially when it comes to displays. Put fiction displays in the non-fiction stacks and bring youth materials outside that department.

2020 Resolution: You can have fun with readers advisory. 
As anyone who has attended a Readers Advisory for All training session can attest, readers advisory is fun. It’s a joy to help people find the book, movie, or music they need. You often receive immediate, positive feedback. This is especially true when they didn’t know they were looking for it. Have fun with displays! Have staff who are passionate about a topic or subgenre gather up materials put it on a display. Indulge in puns and bad jokes (November Rain display with books with guns and/or roses on the cover in a favorite here.) Promote celebration days like National Alien Abduction Day or National Toilet Day. Besides bringing levity to your library, they are often an easy way to group materials from all over your collection.  Use hashtags from social media, internet memes, or jokes from tv and movies to inspire you. 

2020 Resolution: Don’t limit yourself to matching themes with the calendar. 
I live fifteen minutes from the beach and can guarantee you that in the summer, people love to read suspense and horror while they sun themselves. Horror will circulate when it’s not October. One of the sessions at HWA’s Librarians Day will cover the Summer Scares Reading Program. If you can, attend the stand-alone Librarians Day on May 7, 2020, at the Naperville, Illinois, Public Library to get ideas from other librarians and authors on how you can promote horror in your library.

2020 Resolution: Archive your successful ideas. 
I keep my signs in a folder on my computer so I can reuse them. I used to be better about keeping a list of titles, grouped by theme, so that I could fill in a display quickly when needed. When I create a bookmark around a particular genre or subject, I save it to be quickly updated with new titles when needed. Don’t think that every month needs a never-before-seen idea. Be kind to your future self. It can also be put somewhere on your network where anyone on staff can find ideas. Personally, I am going to try to create an online archive of my displays on a blog so that I can easily share ideas when asked. 

These are five ideas to help you create better book displays in the upcoming year. You can find my latest displays on Twitter @vantine. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

The RWA Debacle and Ideas on How Libraries Can Respond

As I mentioned earlier in the week, while I was on vacation the Romance Writers of America imploded. There has been much excellent reporting on the still ongoing situation and while I am sure many of you have been following it, I did want to make sure I had the latest information here for my readers.

I would recommend beginning with my favorite Romance resource, Smart Bitches, Trashy books and this post that is being updated with multiple documents and new events as they happen. This will lead you down a rabbit hole, but you can direct yourself through it and delve as deeply as you need to.

The main issue here is one that has been rearing its head in Romance for a few years now [I point you to this piece from my blog in April of 2018] -- the RWA's racism problems. And this current implosion which has led to all major publishers pulling out of the RWA Conference, the RITAS being cancelled, and the entire board resigning [after being basically forced to because that is just how awful some of these people are], has been picked up and covered by major media outlets.

Now, I am not a resource to keep you up to date on the latest breaking news, but I am here to help you take what is going on and use it to serve your patrons.

In this case, your patrons, with those who love romance and even those who don't ever read it, may have questions or concerns. Many will approach you at the desk to discuss them, others may not, but I know that most people have at least heard something about it at this point.

We need to proclaim our support for the genre, its readers, and the diverse authors who have been the victim of much abuse over the years, loudly and proudly. Now is a great time to highlight romance and its diverse offerings.

Here are a few ideas of how we can turn this upsetting and disturbing news into a way for our patrons to discover a bevy of new authors. I have even heard a few colleagues tell me that non-romance readers are seeking out romance at their libraries to show support for the authors on the right side of the issue.

First, make sure you are including own voices romance authors in your collections. Authors like Beverly Jenkins, Sonali Dev, Alisha Rai, Alyssa Cole, Courtney Milan, and Helen Hoang are among the most critically acclaimed romance authors today and they are all women of color.

Second, don't know where to start? Anna Mickelsen's, working list of upcoming diverse titles in all genres, has just had a huge Romance update. Start pre-ordering more titles now.

Third, make some romance displays....right now! Get your titles out of the stacks and out in front. Make lists and post them online and at checkout areas. People are hearing about romance in the news and they may want to see what the hub bub is about by reading a title. Make them easy to find, but curate the offerings.

Fourth, do NOT promote the RITAs [RWA's book awards] or use them to make lists. May I suggest a better resource, one made by librarians-- The RUSA CODES Reading List which picks a winner and honorable mention titles in many genres each year-- including romance. Click here to see all of the winners going back to 2014. Use this list to find titles, make readalike lists [the award includes readalikes], displays, and more.

And finally, why not take advantage of the RITAs being cancelled to stage your own library romance awards this February. Get staff and patrons involved. Piggyback on Presidential Primary season too  and have an election of the best romance titles. It's a great antidote to political voting too. We can encourage getting the vote out and vote for LOVE. Create "races" between different titles in various subgenres or simply allow people to share their favorite romances as part of a larger display. Whatever you do, now is your chance to crowdsource your library's "best" romances.

I hope that RWA is able to pull itself out of the wreckage and move on to a better, more inclusive place, but it will take time. Let's all support Romancelandia in the meantime, whether you are a fan or not, many need our library love and support.