Friend of the blog and overall awesome librarian, editor, and author Kelly Jensen has been working for months to try to do her part to fill the void left by the closing of Early Word. Along with Katie McLain [librarian and Book Riot contributor], Kelly is coordinating an every-other-week newsletter just for library workers.
You can click here to see the very first issue.
But you also need to click here to sign up to get it delivered to your email box.
The newsletter has all of the categories you would expect such as, book news, adaptations, lists and more, but every issue will end with something I am very excited about-- A Call To Action. From that first newsletter:
Do you take part in LibraryReads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? Whether or not you read and nominate titles, we’ll end every newsletter with a few upcoming titles worth reading and sharing (and nominating for LibraryReads, if you so choose!). Links here will direct to Edelweiss digital review copies.
- They Come in All Colors by Malcolm Hansen (May 29, 2018): A story about a biracial teen boy and his experiences with racial tensions that alternates between New York City and the deep south.
- The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (May 1, 2018): The pitch for this one is “the novel that is to Syria as The Kite Runner is to Afghanistan.”
This is so needed. As I have said many times on the blog, the LibraryReads list is too white. We need to be suggesting more diverse books because goodness knows we don’t need to know about bestsellers [there are at least 4 authors on this month’s list that many libraries would be receiving via their automatic orders for popular authors already. 4 out of 6 books I would be getting and authors who I knew about]
- So Close To Being The Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta (May 29, 2018): It’s Retta — Parks and Recreation star for those who don’t know — and her book of essays sounds like a collection circulating winner for fans of the show and beyond.
LibraryReads should be about getting those great, under the radar titles that the vast majority of library workers wouldn’t already know about out front and center. LibraryReads was create to show the power of libraries to drive book sales. I am pretty sure we show off less by promoting a book that the publishers already expect to sell well. Where we can shine and flex our book muscles is with titles that may have gone nowhere without us. [See Radium Girls from last year. We did that guys!]
Look, even the LibraryReads Steering committee wants us all to do better. We, the library workers of America, are responsible for the list. We need to read and recommend more diverse titles. It will not get better if you don’t actively work to make it better. You can read prepub books, for free, before they come out. You can find a hidden gem. You can click a few boxes and recommend it. You, yes you, any one of you who works in any library, no matter your position, you can become a tastemaker.
Guys, I got one recommendation, from one librarian in LA about a book from a crowdfunded publisher and I got that book considered for the Bram Stoker Award this year and that librarian got it in the running for The Reading List. It won the horror category for the Reading List and it is nominated for the Bram Stoker. That is two people working to get 1 book [Kill Creek by Scott Thomas] noticed by others, others who read it and also loved it. It is not that hard.
Kelly, is doing her part by altering you, with the links directly to the eARC. Kelly and Katie will include suggestions every newsletter. Why not try one? I am very interested in the Joukhadar myself. I don’t know as much about Syria as I should.
Again, click here to sign up and get the “Check Your Shelf” newsletter delivered to your email box every other week.