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.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

RA For All Virtual Roadshow: 10 Rules in Webinar Format for PCI

Today for the very first time I am presenting my signature RA for All program as a webinar. I have presented the RA for All program via Skype many times, but today I have turned the 10 Rules program into a webinar with slides.

So while this program always follows my Ten Rules of Basic RA Service which can be found here at any time, now there is a slide version too.

I will be presenting this webinar later today for PCI live, exclusively for FL libraries but after that anyone can view the archived version, in fact many library systems all over the country, inducing my own, RAILS, offer the archived webinars free of charge.

Click here for slide access or below. And maybe I'll "see" you at RA for All: The Webinar sometime soon.

Click here for slide access

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Trending: Bizarro Fiction With a Bonus Review of F4

Today I have a lot to say both about the Bizarro genre, trans fiction, and I even have a review. This post will touch on a lot of issues that libraries need to be aware of. I have saved it for Women in Horror Month on the horror blog to highlight the inclusion of trans women in our celebration AND  am cross posting on the general blog because there are also issues of collection development, EDI [equity, inclusion, and diversity], and providing access to popular but non mainstream genres.

I know that is a lot, but it is important and I want you all to pay attention because this post contains information for every library worker, from every size library, anywhere across the country, to use to help patrons.

First, I want to begin with an introduction to the increasingly popular speculative fiction subgenre of Bizarro. Excerpted from the Wikipedia page on the genre:
Bizarro Fiction is a contemporary literary genre which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive, weird and entertaining world., The terms was adopted in 2005 but the independent publishing companies Eraserhead Press, Raw Dog Screaming Press and Afterbirth Books. Much of its community revolves around Eraserhead Press, which is based in Portland, OR and has hosted the BizarroCon yearly since 2008.... Bizarro [is] "literature's equivalent to the cult section at the video store," and a genre that "strives not only to be strange but fascinating, thought-provoking, and above all, fun to read."
...In general Bizarro has more in common with speculative fiction genres (such as science-fiction, fantasy, and horror)....
Please click here to read more about Bizarro and follow the many citations and links for more info, including the lists of Wonderland Book Award winners [Bizarro's well respected award- you can see every final ballot here] and notable titles.

But even just this brief introduction should illustrate that there is a wide audience for these types of books. They are weird yes, but also fun. This is a place for the "weirdos" to have thought provoking conversations through art, find a community to which they can belong, and have a safe space to express themselves. But what I love about Bizarro, and what you will see in my review below, is that the focus on is on fun! These are books people will enjoy reading, if only they could have access to them.

The Bizarro author most likely to be included in library collections is Jeremy Robert Johnson. I also featured Johnson and one of his more recent works on the horror blog here. I would suggest his work as an introduction to the genre, but here's the thing, once people read and like him, where do they go next? We need to offer more. But how?

Look I realize not every library has space, money, and even a collection development policy that would allow for these weird and often raunchy titles. I know some of you can't even buy Erotica. But here is the thing, Bizarro, like Erotica before it, is gaining in popularity among mainstream audiences. We need to find a way to provide access. I have an easy solution though. For any emerging genre, especially those with sex and/or violence, get a Kindle for the genre. So in this case let's say and Erotica one and a Bizarro one. You load them with ebooks of the most popular titles and authors and you catalog them as "Bizarro Kindle." You can change out titles as often as you want. You can get hundreds of titles for a very low price, and still be able to offer emerging genres to your patrons without sacrificing shelf space.

But back to the main point here. This definition of Bizarro and its appeal focuses on the fun, which it is. But it is important to also note that this is a place where people who might not fit into mainstream society can also express themselves, hence my focus on a trans framed title by Larissa Glasser today-- F4.

I am going to explain why I loved this title and think all library workers need to be aware of it below, but I also want to make a stand here and proclaim that I include trans women in celebrations of women in [fill in the blank]. I know there are some in the Women in Horror month world who take issue with including trans women, but I am not one of those. And in fact, I specifically chose Glasser to highlight this month to make my position clear.

But the real reason I am highlighting Glasser today is because she is a great writer. I was first introduced to Glasser when she was on a panel at StokerCon last year. She was sitting next to Victor LaValle. I don't remember the exact question, or her answer, but I remember sitting there watching and listening to Larissa answer a difficult question. I was also watching Victor watching her, nodding along. When Larissa finished, it was Victor's turn. He said something to the effect of--She answered it perfectly. I have nothing to add. He was right and I knew that I needed to meet this smart, fascinating woman and read her book.

And so I did, and the book, it was awesome [more below]. We connected and I also found out that Glasser is one of us, a Librarian too.

I asked Glasser to introduce herself to all of you. Here is what she wrote:
Larissa Glasser is a Librarian-Archivist from New England. She writes dark fiction centered on the lives of trans women, library science, and heavy metal. Her work is available in Transcendent 3: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction [Lethe Press], Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey & Sylvia Plath [Clash Books]. Her debut novel F4 is available from Eraserhead Press. Larissa is a Member at Large of Broad Universe [a not for profit that supports women writers and editors in the speculative genres]. She is on Twitter @larissaeglasser and on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Larissa-Glasser/e/B077VRYC8L/

Now to my review of F4 which I highly suggest you use to start your own e-Bizarro collection:

First let's begin with the publisher's summary:
A cruise ship on the back of a sleeping kaiju. A transgender bartender trying to come terms with who she is. A rift in dimensions known as The Sway. A cruel captain. A storm of turmoil, insanity and magic is coming together and taking the ship deep into the unknown. What will Carol the bartender learn in this maddening non-place that changes bodies and minds alike into bizarre terrors? What is the sleeping monster who holds up the ship trying to tell her? What do Carol’s fractured sense of self and a community of internet trolls have to do with the sudden pull of The Sway?

Further Appeal: I know I have said it already but I cannot stress how fun this book is. There is adventure, a steam punk frame, science fiction, great character development, and a compelling plot filled with action, emotion, and interest. Carol is a hero to root for- a trans woman hero to root for. And that is key. This book is both a great genre romp that also features a trans main character. This is key.

Carol is a complete person. Bring trans is part of who she is and while this book talks a bit about her
"hatching," it is more about her and this fun, slightly raunchy, strange adventure. This is so important. We need to read and know about books like this so we can learn about the trans experience. This book taught me so much while I had fun reading it. It opened a window to the trans woman experience, feelings, and even terminology [I had urban dictionary open while reading this book and learned so much]. I am someone who tries to be inclusive and accept people for who they are but until you have a chance to understand them from their experience how can you?

As library workers who want to help people find titles both that reflect their experiences and open them to the experiences of others-- what we call "own voices"-- we need titles like this one; a book that is a great read, has a trans woman hero, and is not solely about coming out.

This book manages to weave an overall theme about how humans transform things to fit their needs in a way the encompasses the entire story not just the transgender portions. It was enlightening and thought provoking. Really. Amidst all the weird, crazy, and sexual action, there was so much to ponder here. Thought provoking issues for all humans to consider. It was eye opening for more than just the "trans education" I received. This was a nice surprise.

Okay but back to the fun again for a second. The set up-- the kaiju ship [it reminded me of Leviathan for grownups] in particular was cool. I liked the world Glasser created here as a speculative fiction fan.

And finally, there is the plain fact that Glasser herself is a writer to watch. I think I made that clear above, but seriously, she has the writing chops. Her stories are being accepted in anthologies from trans themed to general speculative fiction. She is garnering critical acclaim everywhere she goes, and as I mentioned above, Victor LaValle knows how smart and talented she is, and he knows what he is talking about. You don't need to just trust me.

Please do yourself a favor and read this book. It will both open your eyes to trans framed stories AND Bizarro.

Three Words To Describe This Book: Fun, Speculative, Compelling

Readalikes: The great thing about Bizarro is that there are so many places the genre can take you. Please refer to the author list here and especially those who have won the Wonderland Book Award, but here are a few I can suggest from personal experience:

  • Jeremey Robert Johnson [mentioned and linked above]
  • Brian Everson
  • Carlton Mellick III
  • Laura Lee Bahr
  • John Edward Lawson
  • C V Hunt
There are many more to see at this link, but those are a few of the current authors who you should check out.

Also, just look at the Eraserhead Press lineup of authors. I know Rose O'Keefe, the publisher personally, and I know her love for the genre. If she publishes it, the quality is good.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Bram Stoker Finalists and Why You Need to Pay Attention To My Horror Recs All Year Longs

This weekend, the Horror Writers Association announced the finalists for the Bram Stoker Awards. The announcement is below and I have added links to my GLOWING reviews of many of these titles. Some were among my favorite overall reads of the year, not just for horror.

But more important than the list and all the ways you can use it as a RA tool just like any awards list, I need you to focus on this-- there is a reason I am the library world's horror expert and it is because I understand what is a good horror read AND I understand the library leisure reading market. There are some wonderful horror titles out there that I know are NOT a great fit for all public libraries [just the ones with loyal horror readers], and I don't push those on everyone. I let you make your own choices there. But I will not allow anyone to argue with me over what horror will play for a large audience. 

No other resource understands where the 2 markets collide better than I do. Yet, even though I have a long track record in "getting it right" and understanding how much patrons will love these books even if you don't think "horror" will get read in your library, many of you still ignore horror. Why? It is very hot right now. You are letting your readers down simply because you are not a fan or are scared of the genre. 

Look, you don't have to be a fan or even read horror to add it to your collections and promote it with displays because you have me. I am your resource. Remember one of my 10 Rules of Basic RA Service is to use resources [#7]. 

As you can see on the finalist ballot below, where I have added many links to the books I have covered this year, there are many of my top horror picks of the year-- 4 of the 5 in the novel category, 1 of the first novels, & 1 collection finalist. That's 6 out of ten in my best horror of the year appearing on this ballot. Oh, and one fo the YA finalists made my overall best of the year list too. The 1 "novel" finalist I didn't list was because a colleague at Booklist read it and gave it a star, so there you go! Others found on the finalists list, I featured in Library Journal. I have links to more info from me added to the official ballot below.

Use those links not only to make you purchasing decisions, but also to book talk these titles. Remember, as I said here originally-- and it even made the 10 Rules too-- you can use the words of others to books talk. You don't have to have read it or even enjoyed it to hand sell it to a patron. And that goes for any book, not just a horror title.

For example, with Cabin at the End of the World by Tremblay, I book talk this title by acknowledging that it may be too much for some people by saying, "This book will break you, but that's the point." I have had dozens of readers come back to me thanking me for recommending it, agreeing that it broke them, but they appreciated that they experienced it because without my book talk with a tiny bit of warning [yet zero spoilers], they might not have finished it understanding that it was supposed to leave them feeling that way. 

Also, please scroll down to see all of the categories because I don't want you to miss some of the best titles you can add to your library, like-- Eric Guignard's, A World of Horror (Dark Moon Books) which I think every library should add and I said so in my July 1, 2018 Horror Preview in LJ [link requires premium access].

Just remember, there is a reason I have been able to be the library-horror expert for so long. It is because I get it. I am not trying to brag here, but I am standing firm because I need you to stop making excuses that horror is not right for your libraries because it is. From coast to coast to coast, towns big and small, these are books your readers will love. Please see below, click on some links and start promoting these exceptional reads.

2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot 

The Horror Writers Association announces the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot. The HWA is the premier organization for writers of horror and dark fantasy. “This year’s nominees demonstrate a continued lineup of quality work in the horror genre,” said Lisa Morton, HWA President. “Our members and awards juries have again chosen truly outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.” 

The presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will occur during the 4th annual StokerCon™, to be held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The gala presentation will happen on Saturday night, May 11th. Tickets to the banquet and the convention are on sale to the public at http://stokercon2019.org/. The awards presentation will also be live-streamed online via the website. 
Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior achievement in writing in eleven categories, including traditional works of various lengths, poetry, screenplays, and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates, and Neil Gaiman. The HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. The HWA formed in 1985 with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe R. Lansdale. The HWA is home to the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® and the annual StokerCon™ horror convention. 
We proudly provide the list of talented nominees who reached the final ballot below for each category. 
Superior Achievement in a Novel 
    Maberry, Jonathan – Glimpse (St. Martin’s Press)
    Stoker, Dacre and Barker, J.D. – Dracul (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Superior Achievement in a First Novel 
    Fine, Julia – What Should Be Wild (Harper) 
    Grau, T.E. – I Am the River (Lethe Press)
    Stage, Zoje – Baby Teeth (St. Martin’s Press) 
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel 
    Legrand, Claire – Sawkill Girls (Katherine Tegen Books)
    Maberry, Jonathan – Broken Lands (Simon & Schuster)
    Snyman, Monique – The Night Weaver (Gigi Publishing) 
    White, Kiersten – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Delacorte Press)
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel 
    Ahmed, Saladin – Abbott (BOOM! Studios) 
    Azzarello, Brian – Moonshine Vol. 2: Misery Train (Image Comics) 
    Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish (BOOM! Studios) 
    Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 3: Haven (Image Comics)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction 
    Bailey, Michael – Our Children, Our Teachers (Written Backwards) 
    Hill, Joe – You Are Released (Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales) (Scribner)
    Malik, Usman T. – Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung (Nightmare Magazine Issue #74)
    Mason, Rena – The Devil’s Throat (Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror) (Adrenaline Press) 
    Smith, Angela Yuriko – Bitter Suites (CreateSpace)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction 
    Landry, Jess – “Mutter” (Fantastic Tales of Terror) (Crystal Lake Publishing) 
    Murray, Lee – “Dead End Town”(Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 2) (IFWG Publishing International) 
    Neugebauer, Annie – “Glove Box” (The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine Volume 3, Issue 4-July 2018) 
    Taff, John F.D. – “A Winter’s Tale” (Little Black Spots) (Grey Matter Press) 
    Ward, Kyla Lee – “And in Her Eyes the City Drowned” (Weirdbook #39) (Wildside Press)
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection 
    Files, Gemma – Spectral Evidence (Trepidatio Publishing) 
    Guignard, Eric J. – That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance Publications) 
    Waggoner, Tim – Dark and Distant Voices: A Story Collection (Nightscape Press)
Superior Achievement in a Screenplay 
    Aster, Ari – Hereditary (PalmStar Media) 
    Averill, Meredith – The Haunting of Hill House: The Bent-Neck Lady, Episode 01:05 (Amblin Television, FlanaganFilm, Paramount Television) 
    Garland, Alex – Annihilation (DNA Films, Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, Skydance Media) 
    Heisserer, Eric – Bird Box (Bluegrass Films, Chris Morgan Productions, Universal Pictures) 
    Woods, Bryan, Beck, Scott, and Krasinski, John – A Quiet Place (Platinum Dunes, Sunday Night)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology 
Chambers, James, Grey, April, and Masterson, Robert – A New York State of Fright: Horror Stories from the Empire State (Hippocampus Press)
Datlow, Ellen – The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea (Night Shade Books) 
Guignard, Eric J. – A World of Horror (Dark Moon Books)  [Appeared in my July 1, 2018 Horror Preview in LJ which requires premium access]
Murray, Lee – Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror (Adrenaline Press) 
Ward, D. Alexander – Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road (Crystal Lake Publishing) 
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction 
Connolly, John – Horror Express (PS Publishing) 
Gambin, Lee – The Howling: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press) 
Ingham, Howard David – We Don’t Go Back: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror (Room 207 Press) 
Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life (Crystal Lake Publishing) 
Wetmore Jr., Kevin J. – Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series (McFarland) 
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection 
Boston, Bruce – Artifacts (Independent Legions Publishing) 
Cowen, David E. – Bleeding Saffron (Weasel Press) 
Lynch, Donna – Witches (Raw Dog Screaming Press) 
Simon, Marge and Manzetti, Alessandro – War (Crystal Lake Publishing) 
Tantlinger, Sara – The Devil’s Dreamland (Strangehouse Books)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Trending: Cli-Fi Resources, Articles, and Reading Lists

As I mentioned in my Reading Resolutions last month, I am the team captain of the Speculative Fiction portion of the ARRT Popular Authors List. In the role I am doing a deep dive into all areas of speculative fiction.

One of the biggest trends in this category of fiction is "Cli-Fi" or climate fiction. While most of this emerging mini-genre is SF based, novels that suppose how climate change will effect the world do blend into other genres, mostly notable horror and literary fiction. For that reason, we are not making Cli-Fi its own subgenre in the new edition of the Popular Authors list because it isn't always only under SF [and other reasons but that is too off topic for today], but we have created a few new categories beyond Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy under the Speculative Umbrella called "Further Genres of the Unreal" under which some Cli-Fi focused authors will fit.

But that is also getting a little off topic. The point of today's post is that for a while now I have been following Cli-Fi, the think pieces being written about it, and the numerous reading lists. Today, I wanted to compile some of those for you because they are only helping me at this point. I want to pass them on to help you both with purchasing and with rethinking some of these titles that I know you have on your shelves but that you probably don't think of as Cli-Fi [Salvage The Bones by Ward is a great example].

So here is a list of Cli-Fi resources that you can use to better understand this emerging subgenre, where it came from, where it is now, where it may go, and most importantly, why people want to read it. These links all include information that informs you about Cli-Fi and provide a list. Use them all to make displays, booktalk, and even to help you rethink a title you might not have thought fits this subgenre.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Using Awards Lists As A RA Tool: Nebula Award Finalists Edition

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have released their nominees for the 54th Annual Nebula Awards, so that means today I have a reminder of what a wonderful tool all awards lists are for you, the library worker-- my post on Using Award Lists As A RA Tool.

But specifically, the Nebula's are useful because they combine the best of Science Fiction and Fantasy as chosen by the authors [as opposed to the Hugos which include fans]. I often find that they are a good predictor of up and coming authors, especially in the story and novelette categories.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with the novel category. I am hoping that none of the titles below surprise any of you. In fact, I would expect that every library has them. If you don't, stop reading this post and go order the ones you are missing, right this minute. I can wait.

Now for the other categories. As I mentioned above, you can look at the story and novelette categories to find authors who you should keep an eye out for. But, don't sleep on the game writing category either because that's how novel nominee and best selling author, Naomi Novik started out.

But also, genre magazine, both print and online are really making a come back and we should be including them in our collections. For example, Lightspeed and Apex are two magazines that have nominated stories here but they also tend to show up on all of the SF/F awards lists. That should be a sign that we should have them available for SF/F fans to read too. I know it is an expense, but we can offer digital copies too, either through Flipster or with card number access from our websites.

Finally, the Nebula Finalists lists are an excellent way to have a display that showcases the breadth of your holdings, and you have the pull list all done for you. You can make a display with novels, story collections, magazines [if you subscribe to any of the magazines with nominated stories], YA, video games, movies, and TV shows. You can also include older titles by nominated authors, giving you an excuse to put all the Murderbot books on display.

And finally, a shout out to Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark which I read back in June and "raved" at ALA. In fact, after that program, this was the first title someone came up and asked take for themselves. I am really glad others are enjoying this novella too. 

Now go forth and use this list as a RA tool. Make the SFWA's work work for you.

Nebula Award Finalists Announced

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) is pleased to announce the nominees for the 54th Annual Nebula Awards, including the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, and for the first time, the Nebula Award for Game Writing. The awards will be presented in Woodland Hills, CA at the Warner Center Marriott during a ceremony on the evening of May 18th.

2018 Nebula Award Finalists
  • The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)
  • Blackfish City, Sam J. Miller (Ecco; Orbit UK)
  • Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Macmillan)
  • Witchmark, C.L. Polk (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
  • Fire Ant, Jonathan P. Brazee (Semper Fi)
  • The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean)
  • Alice Payne Arrives, Kate Heartfield (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Artificial Condition, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections”, Tina Connolly (Tor.com 7/11/18)
  • “An Agent of Utopia”, Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
  • “The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births”, José Pablo Iriarte (Lightspeed 1/18)
  • “The Rule of Three”, Lawrence M. Schoen (Future Science Fiction Digest 12/18)
  • “Messenger”, Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and R.R. Virdi (Expanding Universe, Volume 4)
Short Story
  • “Interview for the End of the World”, Rhett C. Bruno (Bridge Across the Stars)
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”, Phenderson Djèlí Clark (Fireside 2/18)
  • “Going Dark”, Richard Fox (Backblast Area Clear)
  • “And Yet”, A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny 3-4/18)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”, Alix E. Harrow (Apex 2/6/18)
  • “The Court Magician”, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 1/18)
Game Writing
  • Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Charlie Brooker (House of Tomorrow & Netflix)
  • The Road to Canterbury, Kate Heartfield  (Choice of Games)
  • God of War, Matt Sophos, Richard Zangrande Gaubert, Cory Barlog, Orion Walker, and Adam Dolin (Santa Monica Studio/Sony/Interactive Entertainment)
  • Rent-A-Vice, Natalia Theodoridou (Choice of Games)
  • The Martian Job, M. Darusha Wehm (Choice of Games)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: 
  • The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy”, Written by: Megan Amram
  • Black Panther, Written by: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
  • A Quiet Place, Screenplay by: John Krasinski and Bryan Woods & Scott Beck
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Screenplay by: Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
  • Dirty Computer, Written by: Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning
  • Sorry to Bother You, Written by: Boots Riley
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book:
  • Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt; Macmillan)
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time, Roshani Chokshi (Rick Riordan Presents)
  • A Light in the Dark, A.K. DuBoff (BDL)
  • Tess of the Road, Rachel Hartman (Random House)
  • Dread Nation, Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
  • Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword, Henry Lien (Henry Holt)

The Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 16th-19th and feature programming developed and geared toward SFF professionals. On May 18th, a mass autograph session will take place at the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills and will be free and open to the public.
The Nebula Awards, presented annually, recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the previous year. They are selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.
The Nebula Awards include four fiction awards, a game writing award, the Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. SFWA also administers the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Awards, the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Call to Action Flashback: In House Usage...It Counts!

Today I wanted to go back to a Call to Action post from 2016 because it is a topic I still bring up all of the time. It is also a topic that addresses our main mission as public libraries-- being a vital resource for ALL in our community whether their usage generates stats for us or not. It is also a post about how we don't get to assign a hierarchy to which users are more important than others. All users and how they chose to use our buildings and collections are of equal importance because it is not about us, it is about them....the public.

Unfortunately I have had to reinforce this message too often recently. Sigh. So I think it doesn't hurt to give us all a reminder.

Here is the direct link to the original. Also click here for the Call to Action archive.

MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2016

RA for All: Call to Action-- In House Usage...It Counts!

For today’s Call to Action I want to remind everyone that when we are doing collection development and gathering data on materials and their usage, we cannot forget about those who use our collection inside our buildings but never check any materials out.

In-house usage of a library item is a use of that library item. It is equivalent to a check out even though we cannot capture it in our circulation statistics. More importantly, the person using that item is an equal patron to someone who checks it out and takes it home. I see way too many library workers who think that someone who uses an item in their buildings is a lower level of patron than someone who takes the item home.  This way of thinking needs to stop-- IMMEDIATELY.

Many of the reasons people use our collections in-house only are socioeconomically based. It is part of the larger problem of equal access for all in this country in general.  So common reasons are homelessness and where I used to work, undocumented immigrants. I always reminded people without legal status who used the library that we don’t check your immigration status nor do we care. But since we don’t check it, we cannot give any information to the authorities either.  All we check is that you live in our community. In fact, in order to get more cards in our citizens' hands we started automatically signing kids up at back to school events. Then the whole family could use the card.

But there are also times when someone who has a card may not want to check out and item and bring it home.  The example someone gave me right when I started as a librarian was perfect. What if you were in an abusive marriage and you wanted to look up information about getting a divorce? You couldn’t use the home computer nor would you want to check out books on your card or bring them home.

And of course, questioning teens, and I don’t just mean LGBTQ issues only.  Many teens don’t feel safe to express themselves or pursue their interests in their homes for a variety of reasons. The library is a safe space and a haven for these kids.

These examples are just tips of the iceberg. Her are some thoughts on how these in-house usage situations may manifest themselves to you, the library worker.

Have you ever been in the stacks and seen a book with a bookmark sticking out? Your first thought is to pull it out, right? But, what if that bookmark is from someone using the item in-house who doesn’t want to lose his place?  True story-- if you pull the bookmark out because it doesn’t belong there, well, just you wait because that same book is going to go missing next. Often it will be purposely mis-shelved or tucked in a corner so that patron knows where it is.  In the meantime, it is lost to everyone.  So just leave the bookmark in. How hard is that? You are not going to explode because of it. Plus you are probably helping someone with much larger issues have something go right in their life.

We need to get over ourselves and let people use the collections in house. Encourage it even. If that means there are some bookmarks sticking out of our books, so what? As long as the materials are on the shelf and those who need and/or want them can access them, then as I see it, everyone wins!

We also had a few people who came to use the computers to watch DVDs. They didn’t check the DVDs out while they were using them in the library, but they would let the desk staff know they had it in case someone was looking for the item while they were using it.

Oh, and if someone comes in and wants to check a movie out while someone is using it on a computer in-house, the person with the library card DOES NOT take precedence over the person currently using it in-house. I have seen that happen at libraries and it makes me very angry. Those with cards DO NOT come before those without, despite what your boss might have told you. Our materials are for everyone.

Now collecting data on in-house usage is not easy, but I have a few ideas that help, are participatory, and fun:

  • The Awesome Box-- Not my idea.  It’s from Harvard. Here is a link to more information, but basically, you put out a box and have patrons put things they think are “Awesome” in the box. The item doesn’t have to have been checked out to go in the box.  You can get your patrons to tell you what they like most about your collections this way-- with or without a library card. 
  • Patron Filled Displays, or as I like to tell people to explain them to their not convinced bosses-- “Makerspace" Displays. They are exactly like they sound. Put up an empty display shelf, give it a title, and ask patrons to fill it using your circulating collection. Now, your tech services people may fein a heart attack because the books aren’t where they are supposed to be, but again, no one is going to die. They are just books people. [On a side note, the number of times I had to say this to coworkers at my library was surprisingly high.] If everyone knows this makerspace display is happening, and then someone can’t find an item where it is supposed to be,  they can....gasp...check the display.  I know, it’s tough putting the patron first. *Becky shakes her head*

Here are some less “radical” ways to to see what people are using but not checking out:

  • Where are your messiest, most out of order shelves? Those areas are probably being used in house. The patrons will use the books and put them back themselves. Also, since pages aren’t necessarily going there to put these materials away [because they weren’t checked out], the shelves get even messier.
  • What materials do you find on tables, abandoned in strange places, with some kind of non-library marking on it, etc....? Those are being used in-house. People are hiding them and/or marking them so they can find them again-- without using traditional methods.
  • Put out huge, clearly marked comment boxes which ask people to tell you what kinds of items they want to see in the collection.
This post is obviously just an overview of the entire in-house usage issue, but my goal with these Call to Action posts is to alert you to concerns that people either simply aren’t aware of or have become complacent about. I hope everyone reading this will at least be more compassionate about and cognizant of in-house usage

Please share your in-house usage stories, ideas, and successes in the comments. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

ARRT Romance Program and Genre Study Updates-- Join Us In Person Or Follow Along Online

Click here to register
ARRT recently announced the first program of 2019:
Join us Tuesday, March 19, at 2 pm, for Acquiring the Duke: The Current State of Romance in Publishing and Libraries. The event takes place at Indian Prairie Public Library (Darien).  
Romance tends to be underestimated in the shuffle of collection development, readers’ advisory, and publishing–despite comprising 23% of the US fiction market. We are bringing all aspects to the forefront with our expert panel of editors, reviewers, and authors to discuss trends in romance, traditional and self-publishing, review sources, and much more. 
  • Mary Altman, Editor at Sourcebooks Casablanca
  • Bobbi Dumas, freelance writer and book reviewer for several mainstream publications including Kirkus and NPR
  • Jennifer Prokop, book reviewer and creator of Jen Reads Romance
  • Amy Sandas, author
  • Melonie Johnson, author
  • Suleikha Snyder, author
  • Panel Moderator: Susan Maguire, Senior Editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist
Registration is now open. Member: $20Nonmember: $25Register here
This is an extremely well rounded program that will cover all areas of the genre, and it is moderated by my editor Susan [Woot!].

I am trying to figure out if I can make this panel as I am also supposed to be in Peoria that evening for dinner, but I would guess that many of you reading this can join us. Seriously, it is a great deal.

Also, this is the perfect time to remind everyone that it is also time to renew your ARRT membership. Membership costs $15 but as you can see above, it gives you at least $5 off each of our programs. Being a member literally pays for itself if you attend all 3 of our programs during the year.

While you never need to be a member to come to our programs, you do need to be a member to attend our Genre Study and Book Club Study in person. Speaking of the Genre Study, we have just begun year 2 of the the 2 year Romance Genre Study. In fact, we are having this Romance Program to enhance the Genre Study for those who have been attending AND have a Romance event for those who aren't members or who couldn't make the Genre Study meetings.

But, while you have to be a member to participate in the live Genre Study meetings, anyone can see [and even use for their own genre studies] our schedule, agendas, and notes. I have been unable to attend the Romance Genre Study meetings myself, but have been keeping up with the notes here and have learned quite a bit.

I hope you can find some time to attend our Romance Program or look at the Genre Study notes. Whether you are a romance expert or novice, there is something here for every library worker to use to help patrons better.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Library Reads: March 2019

Yay, It's Library Reads Day and this month's list has one of my current top contenders for best of 2019 lists-- THE BIRD KING by G. Willow Wilson. I read this back in December and had to languish alone in my absolute LOVE of this book with no one to talk to about its near perfection. I am so glad others have read it now and also loved it. And, soon the whole world can experience it.

Also, I am very excited that there are many books on the list this month that I would never have known about without-- I'm looking at you PROFESSOR CHANDRA FOLLOWS HIS BLISS. [leaves new blog post tab to place hold-- okay, I'm back.]

And finally, before I get to my standard Library Reads Day preamble and post, I also wanted to comment on how well the Hall of Fame is working out. Again, two titles that would not have made the list are there because of the Hall of Fame. The entire point of the Library Reads list is to show that library workers can identify and then promote excellent titles that many people would not know about without our great work. It is for us to flex our muscles and show our power to sell books. When we remove uber popular authors from the equation, we increase visibility of other great titles and give them a boost. Plus, the Hall of Fame page is becoming its own great resource of sure bets.

But even more importantly, as I predicted, the Hall of Fame has also allowed more diverse authors to be included on the list. When we remove something that has been there 2x before, we are allowing more voices "to the table." And when you include more voices, diversity should follow. I'm glad to see that has happened.

But now, on to the list.....


Today is Library Reads day and that means three things here on RA for All:
  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.
  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.
    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 my Library Reads 101 recap for everything you need to know about how to participate. And click here to see a database of eligible diverse titles sorted by month. 

    March 2019 LibraryReads

    Don’t miss the March 2019 Hall of Fame Winners! Scroll down or visit the Hall of Fame page.

    My Lovely Wife

    by Samantha Downing

    Published: 3/26/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780451491725
    “An incredible, dark, twisty psychological thriller with two of the most seemingly normal but disturbingly depraved people you will read about in fiction. This brilliant debut needs to be at the top of your must-read list. For readers who like taut suspense and works by Gillian Flynn, B.A. Paris, and Mary Kubica.”
    Rachel Reeves, Weatherford Public Library, Weatherford, TX 
    NoveList Read-alike: Behind Her Eyes / Sarah Pinborough

    Beautiful Bad

    by Annie Ward

    Published: 3/5/2019 by Park Row
    ISBN: 9780778369103
    “Maddie the innocent travel writer and Jo the wild child are living quite the life abroad when Ian crosses their path and changes both their lives permanently. Moving backward and forward in time, the narrative slowly reveals hidden truths. For fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware.”
    Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, Lake, MS 
    Novelist Read-alike: Before I Go to Sleep / S.J. Watson

    The Bird King

    by G. Willow Wilson

    Published: 3/12/2019 by Grove Press
    ISBN: 9780802129031
    “Lush and wonderful language, characters, and worldbuilding make this an enjoyable read for fans of historical fantasy. The relationship between concubine Fatima and mapmaker Hassan is multifaceted and compelling. A good choice for readers who liked Uprooted and City of Brass.”
    Nora Walsh, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ
    NoveList Read-alike: The Lions of Al-Rassan / Guy Gavriel Kay

    A Dangerous Collaboration

    by Deanna Raybourn

    Published: 3/12/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780451490711
    “In this fine addition to the series, Veronica Speedwell joins Stoker and his brother on an island off the British coast, attempting to solve a years-old mystery about the disappearance of a young woman on her wedding day. Recommended for fans of historical Victorian fiction, murder mysteries, and lepidoptery.”
    Jill McKinney, Gunnison County Library, Gunnison, CO
    NoveList Read-alike: Lady Travelers Guide series / Victoria Alexander

    The Last Woman in the Forest

    by Diane Les Becquets

    Published: 3/5/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780399587047
    “A suspenseful, surprising story that begins with every woman’s worst nightmare–a breakdown on a lonely road in the middle of the night and a bad feeling about the handsome guy who stops to help. This kick-in-the-gut start leads to a more thoughtful mystery with a big twist. Recommended for fans of Lee Child.”
    Patricia Uttaro, Monroe County Library System, Monroe, NY 
    NoveList Read-alike: The Wild Inside / Christine Carbo

    The Last Year of the War

    by Susan Meissner

    Published: 3/19/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780451492159
    “The story of two teenage girls who forge a life long friendship in an internment camp in Crystal City, Texas. For fans of historical fiction and readers who enjoy stories about immigration experiences and life during wartime.”
    Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, TX 
    NoveList Read-alike: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet / Jamie Ford

    The Library of Lost and Found

    by Phaedra Patrick

    Published: 3/26/2019 by Park Row
    ISBN: 9780778369356
    “Martha Storm volunteers at the local library and has a tendency to help others over taking care of herself. One day she receives a mysterious book from the grandmother she believed dead and begins digging into her family’s past. Who doesn’t love a book about books? For fans of Elizabeth Berg and Fredrik Backman.”
    Shari Suarez, Genesee District Library, Genesee, MI 
    NoveList Read-alike: The Bookshop on the Corner / Jenny Colgan

    Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss: A Novel

    by Rajeev Balasubramanyam

    Published: 3/26/2019 by The Dial Press
    ISBN: 9780525511380
    When Chandra fails to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, again, then suffers a heart attack, he decides to make changes in his life. A humorous journey of self-discovery similar to Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.”
    Lora Bruggeman, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, IL
    NoveList Read-alike: This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! / Jonathan Evison


    by Candice Carty-Williams

    Published: 3/19/2019 by Gallery/Scout Press
    ISBN: 9781501196010
    “Queenie, a 25-year-old British-Jamaican woman, struggles to have a sense of purpose after being dumped by her white boyfriend. This humorous and timely debut sheds light on society’s fetishization of black women and its impact on family, relationships and mental health.”
    Molly Riportella, Westwood Public Library, Westwood, MA 
    NoveList Read-alike: New People / Danzy Senna

    The River: A Novel

    by Peter Heller

    Published: 3/5/2019 by Knopf
    ISBN: 9780525521877
    “A love letter to the great outdoors. Both adventure story and elegant nature writing. Two college students on a canoe trip face a wildfire, white-water rapids, and two mysterious strangers. For fans of Tim Johnston and Dave Eggers.”
    Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, OH 
    NoveList Read-alike: The River at Night / Erica Ferencik

    Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel

    by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    Published: 3/5/2019 by Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 9781524798628
    “Like the best episodes of Behind the Music, this chronicle of the rise and fall of a fictional ’70s rock group is impossible to resist. You’ll be tempted to look up the band’s hits, only to disappointedly remember that they don’t exist. A great rock ’n’ roll ride for readers.”
    Becky Bowen, Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger, KY
    A Visit From the Goon Squad / Jennifer Egan
    Gold Dust Woman The Biography of Stevie Nicks / Stephen Davis
    The Gangster of Love / Jessica Hagedorn
    Juliet, Naked / Nick Hornby

    The Stranger Diaries

    by Elly Griffiths

    Published: 3/5/2019
    by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    ISBN: 9781328577856
    “The author of the Ruth Galloway novels pens a chilling, atmospheric standalone. After a colleague is found dead, English teacher Claire Cassidy discovers messages from the murderer in her own private journal. Perfect for fans of both classic gothic horror and contemporary murder mysteries.”
    Dawn Terrizzi, Denton Public Library, Denton, TX
    The Magpie Murders / Anthony Horowitz
    The Ghost Writer / John Harwood
    The Broken Teaglass / Emily Arsenault
    The Seduction of Water / Carol Goodman