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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Resource Alert-- Electric Literature [With a Bonus Reminder that Horror is for Everyone]

Recently I stumbled upon this amazing list via Electric Literature:

Click there to read the stories

As you can imagine, I was super excited to see these horror stories by “literary” authors, especially Nguyen who wrote the best book I read last year.

As you all know, I make it a huge professional goal to remind library workers not to be judgey about genre and genre readers. No one genre is better than the others, and for the snooty out there who only like “literary fiction,” I have yet to have found a genre that has not been tackled by a “literary" writer. [I dare you to stump me.]

Case in point for horror is in the article above-- Nguyen won the Pulitzer and just got a Genius Grant. But this is an argument for another day-- or, as it happens every day right now over on the horror blog.

Today, I am glad I came upon this link for more than just the awesome horror stories, it is the resource I had no idea existed that I must spend an entire post telling you about-- Electric Literature.

From their about page:
Our Mission 
Electric Literature’s mission is to expand the influence of literature in popular culture by fostering lively and innovative literary conversations and making exceptional writing accessible to new audiencesThrough our website, social media, events, and other special programming and projects, we reach an international audience with free, online content, while paying every single one of our contributing writers.

Electric Literature’s mission is 100% in line with what we do as we serve leisure readers at the public library. They help break down the barriers of introducing a diverse stable of authors, voices, perspectives, and genres to readers by offering the most recent content for free.

A quick perusal of the offerings on the site shows that they do NOT shy away from dealing with difficult topics, and that they address them through literature is even more useful to us as we work with readers. Take the recent piece entitled, “An Oral History of a Lynching,” for example.

I also love how the “Recommending Reading” pieces, like Nguyen’s excellent story mentioned above, "Black-Eyed Women” are each recommend by another writer, in this case, Akhil Sharma. This means that each story introduces readers [and library workers] to two authors they might not have known about otherwise.

In other words, library workers, you can use this resource to learn about more diverse authors and even read a sample of their work. Authors who are not necessarily published by the big 5, authors who might not be getting lots of attention, authors that are 100% worth you consideration for being added to your collections and promoted to patrons. Oh, and did I mention Electric Literature allows you to follow for free meaning they will send you all of this content. That’s right, it takes no money and no effort. 

So enough from all of you who don’t think you have time to dig deeper for titles in order to add more diverse titles to your collection. Here is a way to have suggestions delivered to you for free. And, to those of you who still try to tell me that your patrons don’t want “more diverse titles,” now you have examples of the writing of these “ diverse” authors. Why not stop deciding for your patrons? Why not let them decide for themselves? I think you will be surprised. Good writing is good writing. The author doesn’t have to be familiar for that to be true.

At the very least, add Electric Literature to your stable of resources that you use to identify topical, accessible, and just plain good writing to turn around and suggest to your patrons.

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