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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Resource Alert: The National Book Foundation

Everyone in the book world is excited this week, and rightfully so, aboout the National Book Awards Long List announcements.

But, I want to use your attention on the awards to remind you that the National Book Foundation itself, is a wonderful year round resource.

Yes, the awards section of the site is a treasure trove of information. The long lists, the backlist archives, and the breadth of categories-- young people’s literature, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and now best translated books, the 5 under 35, and more are all a wonderful tool, just as all awards lists are.

[By the way, pro-tip: for easy access to the awards info at any time of year, scroll to the bottom of any page. There are quick links by category.]

However, I bet many of you didn’t know about the other, non-award based resources you can find on the National Book Foundation site. I am guessing that the majority of you only visit the site around awards time. That’s fine, but there is so much more the Foundation can offer all library workers.

I like the reading lists they create. Click here to see their Recommended Reading Lists. More are coming all of the time.

The foundation also gives out an “Innovations in Reading Prize” each year. Click here to see past winners with details of the programs they created. These prize winners and honorable mention programs are a great way for any library to generate ideas about reading centered programming they could do at their library. Sure not everyone can win the prize, but anyone can get inspiration from a prize winner. Looking to add poetry programming, get middle grade boys excited about reading, improve your community outreach? Just a quick click here, and you can read about successful programs like these. You might get some innovative ideas for your library.

The point isn’t that you replicate someone else’s award winning program, rather, you look at some of the best programs out there, all gathered in one database, and see if something there strikes a cord with you. Maybe you could do something similar. Reach out to one of those past winners and have a chat about your situation, resources, time frames, etc.. It’s a database of experts. Use their knowledge to help you help your community of readers.

And finally, the foundation is filled with statistics and links to resources that advocate for the importance of reading. Do you need quotes, stats, graphics, or the like to advocate for your services in your community? The National Book Foundation is the place where you need to start looking for those. It is a trusted resource. They have already paid for and conducted the studies for you.

My point is, the awards are great. The Foundation has an excellent database of all the nominees and winners, but don’t forget about the Foundation after the awards cycle is over. They are one of the largest organizations out there working hard for the same values and services we are promoting.

Use the National Book Foundation site all year long.

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