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Monday, October 29, 2018

2018 Best Lists Begin With the Easiest One for Helping Patrons

It's an annual pre-Halloween rite of passage now. The march to the end of the year begins with the Publishers Weekly Annual Best Books lists.

Here is why I love using the PW Best Lists, and it has nothing to do with the titles they choose being any better than anyone else's. The reasons are visible in this screen shot:

Click here for the PW Best Books Site

It is clearly laid out for you in categories across the top:

  • Top 10
  • Fiction
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Poetry
  • Romance
  • SF/F/H
  • Comics
  • Nonfiction
  • Religion
  • Lifestyle
  • Picture Books
  • Middle Grade
  • Young Adult [cut off in screen shot]
These are categories we can use to help patrons easily. They are organized in ways that patrons look for books rather than the librarian mumbo jumbo we use; for instance, they put mystery and thriller together. They also have the genres real readers enjoy and not just the snobby lit fiction ones [romance, speculative, lifestyle]. That is not to say others don't include these in their year end best lists, but PW makes it super easy and clear.

However, and many of you know what I am going to say already because I have said it here many times before about this very list and its summer version cousin, no other best list makes finding past year's lists easier that the PW Best Books portal.

Look at the screen shot or click here to go to the site yourself.  As you can see, past best books of the year and best of summer lists are all linked at the top of EVERY PAGE of the current list. You don't need to hunt them down in order to access and use them.

Why is this so important? As I have reminded you all many times before, patrons will start coming in asking for "best books," not because they must read the current best books, but because best books lists are a way for them to filter out what books will be worth their limited reading time. So, if a book like Heavy [which is very good as  I wrote about back in June here] isn't available right this minute, you can put the person on hold for that titles but find them a book from last year's list [or the year before, or the year before that....] that is still "BEST" and it will probably be on the shelf. 

It is a win-win. It's a win for you as you can more easily help more patrons find a good read; it's a win for your collections as great backlist titles will get into the hands of readers; it's a win for patrons because they learn what a good resource the library is for their leisure reading needs.

You can read my longer argument for the backlist best lists being one of your more useful and crowd pleasing tools here.

We know this is just the drizzle before the deluge, but I know you can handle it this year as you do every year. Turn this overwhelming time of year into a chance to wow your patrons. Use this post and the links in it to get started today.

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