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.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday Reads for Now and Later [includes a mini rant about needing more whole collection displays]

Today I have a couple links that will provide you some great reading suggestions and display ideas for right now and a list to help you prepare for some of the best books coming out soon.

It's a Friday reads book list bonanza.

First up is the most obvious list. As we approach the exact middle of the year, it is time to look back on what the best books of the year have been so far. Amazon has their list and it is broken down into a variety of categories. Not only is this a great list for you to check and make sure you have these titles, but it is a ready made display. The lists are inclusive and cover fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, all age ranges, etc... You can have a wonderful "whole collection" display with little effort. Simply put all of these items which are spread out across your entire building into one display to remind patrons that there is something for everyone at the library.

I want to hammer this point home a bit more while I have your attention. There is no rule that says we can only display books in the sections where they appear. We need to find ways to subconsciously remind our patrons that there is more to the library than the section they are standing in. Making displays that hold titles from across the entire library is the easiest way to market the breadth of our holdings. No one will go to library jail if a kids book and a cookbook are on the same display. In fact, my experience shows me that it is quite the contrary. Patrons rejoice when they find titles for everyone in their family in one place. And they are more willing to visit more areas of the library when they are reminded of how much we really have on our shelves.

Okay, back to the lists I have promised. One of my favorite book email newsletters is from the Washington Post's Book Section. Today they had an interesting list of The Best Books to Read At Every Age from 1 to 100." Like any list with such grand ambition, it is not perfect; in fact, the authors of the piece note that. But, this list is a super fun display idea, conversation starter, and even emergency book recommendation engine.

Use the list to make a 100 book display and ask patrons to recommend books for their age. You could make a board with numbers 1 to 100 and ask patrons to fill in books under various ages. Again this display adheres to what I said above about whole library displays.

But I especially love the idea of using this list to suggest books to people in a hurry. Ask them their age and give them the suggestion for their age and the 3 books on either aide of that age [so that's a total of 7 suggestions with the click of a link].

There are many more ways you can use this list, including making a completely new one yourselves.

Finally, here is the promised list of books to come [with bonus lists of already published titles]. At ALA Annual, Booklist sponsored their annual Read N Rave. I have been a part of a few myself and can tell you that this is a fun and useful event. Click here to see the titles that are coming soon which this year's participants are most excited about. And then, don't forget to click here to see past year's lists [including recommendations from me]. Previous year's titles are available now. They are a great sure bet backlist resource. So put out the new list and start taking holds, but make a display of previous titles for "while they wait."

That should keep everyone busy over the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, quick programming note, I will be blogging next week. With the holiday in the middle of the week and my vacation at the end of July, I am only taking the 4th off next week. So if you are around [which since you all work in public libraries and they are also open every day but the 4th too, I am guessing is many of you], I will be here too.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Call to Action: Ask Patrons What They Didn't Find and Then Actually Listen To Their Answers

One of the biggest changes in RA Service from when I began until now is that we have gone from it being a transactional service like reference-- where we only worry about being asked for a title suggestion and then giving it-- to a conversation based service-- where we create a culture where books and reading are discussed, titles are shared both by staff and patrons, and ultimately books are discovered through the overall experience.

To that end, I have posted a variety of conversation starters here on the blog. These are ideas to spark conversations about books in our libraries-- both our in buildings and online.

We spend a lot of time creating conversations around the books we have. We try to book talk under the radar titles, we ask patrons to share books they have liked, or even the ones they have tried and did not enjoy. All in order to learn about how our collections are working for our patrons.

However, one thing we do not do explicitly ask them bout is what we don't have. Things they wish we did, but don't. In the wake of spending so much time thinking and talking about how we provide Reader Focused Collection Development one of the questions that kept coming up is how do we craft collections for those who don't use our libraries. How do we know what they want so that we can have it for them? So we can get them to come and use it. So that we can be for everyone, not just our regulars.

Now there is no easy answer to this question, but I think the key to starting this conversation is encapsulated in this tweet from a librarian in SC from back in April. [I am using it with her permission.]

Click here for original Tweet
Since we cannot figure out the best way to bring non users in to our buildings, if we begin by asking those who do come what they wanted but didn't find, we can start to see what we are NOT providing for everyone.

Our users already love and appreciate us. Yes, they ask for us to purchase specific things they want, but often these are new items or something on a topic or genre that is new to them. However, this larger question, which isn't about a specific title or item, just to ask them what they wanted but they couldn't;t find, this is a great way for us to start to get to the root of where we are not meeting our community's needs.

Now, as I said above, there is no easy answer to this question of how do we craft collections for the the people who aren't coming in, but I think asking our users where there are gaps in our collections, that is a great place to begin delving into this important topic.

So take Andria's advice and instead of asking if they found everything they NEEDED today, change it up and ask if there was anything they WANTED that they couldn't find. And then, here is the most important part....

....Listen to their answers. Take note of them. No matter how pie in the sky or completely undoable they seem.

Within those answers, be they super practical or way too expensive or anything in between, those answers hold the key to making our collections and services better. We have to be able to listen to what we don't have without freaking out that we already do too much and we can't be everything to everybody.

I am not saying we have to do everything our patrons ask. Rather, what I am saying is we can learn a lot more from our patrons and their needs [especially about our collections] when we ask the right questions, listen, and really ponder where the gaps are. And especially if we look at a variety of different answers to this question, put them together, and see where the commonality is. 

For example, I have a friend at a large library near me whose World Languages collection is exploding, and yet many people still don't even know they have it and keep asking why they don't have one. She realized it would probably be doing even better if they moved it from the back corner, to right up front. This would both raise its physical visibility and it will also give her room to grow it with more accurate data on who actually wants it.

That is just one small example. No matter where you work, try asking what patrons couldn't find and see what happens. Just asking them will make your patrons happy, but when you listen and take note, you have the chance to make a well reasoned change for the better too.

For past Call to Action posts, click here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

June is Audio Books Month for Listen to This Podcast All About It

Now that we are back in the swing of a regular blogging schedule post-ALA, I didn't want to forget my annual reminder that June is Audio Books month.

Yes, I know the month is about to end. But as readers here on the blog know, I love audio books all year long. I post about audio book resources and note which books I have read in audio in my reviews, including commentary on the narration, all year long.  Click here to access all of my posts tagged "Audio Books" in reverse chronological order.

Also before I get to the meat of this post, I also know that many of you encounter the attitude among your co-workers and patrons that audio books don't count as "reading." I am here to tell you that opinion is completely wrong and there is no agree too disagree on this one. I explain myself in this post, but quickly, you are consuming the story in both instances. Also not allowing audio to count as reading is very ableist. We all take information into our brains in different ways. For some there is an obvious reason [poor eye sight, dyslexia], but for others, it is simply a better way for them to receive information.

For example, for me, fantasy and mysteries work better in audio. For fantasy it is because I get bored of all the details when reading and skim, but skimming all of the details of the world means I end up not liking the story as much. Fantasy is all about world building. However, when I listen I love being told the details and letting them wash over me. For mysteries, I don't enjoy solving the mystery along with the investigator, so again, the details that the author is required to have so that readers could solve the mystery, annoy me. But tell me a mystery story, and I am hooked.

Also, as a professional reader, I can read twice as many books by including audio. I read while I am doing dishes, laundry, exercising, driving, etc.... Anywhere I couldn't read a book, I am reading via audio.

Enough about that.

Today I wanted to point you to a brand new episode of one of my favorite library podcasts, Three Books from the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, IL. I have talked about why I love this podcast here, but the main reason is that they bridge the physical virtual divide with this podcast by purchasing a copy of every book that is mentioned so that the virtually accessed podcast is also a physical collection of books, graphic novels, audio, etc...

For Audio Book month they have Heather Booth, the Booklist Audio Editor talking all things audio, reviews, and libraries. Click here for details or see below for the basics.

Now go find an audio book to listen to.

Click here to access podcast and show notes


Three Books is Ela Area Public Library’s podcast series where our hosts, Becca and Christen, chat about three popular/favorite books. Booklist’s Audiobook Editor and all around amazing librarian Heather Booth talks about book creation as an ecosystem, being read to and how that has fed into her experience and passion for audiobooks, and more. 
00:00:34                   Meet Heather Booth             
00:03:57                   Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
00:11:06                   Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas by Lillian and Russell Hoban
00:19:11                   Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett (narrated by John Lee)
00:32:03                   Heather’s reviews for Booklist
00:36:17                   Favorite Audiobook Narrators
00:38:41                   Recommending Audiobooks
00:54:52                   Bookish Quote
Show notes can be found at: eapl.org/threebooks

Three Books Social Media:
Email: threebookspodcast@gmail.com
Twitter - @threebookspod

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

ALA Annual 2019 Recap

Well the last few days have been a whirlwind, as ALA Annual always is.  First and foremost, click here for the info and links to my panel from Saturday and here for the resources from everyone and my speaking notes from the Panorama Project panel I was on from Sunday.

I am especially proud of my post from Sunday. I worked really hard on that one since I only had about 10 minutes to make a lot of important points about the current state of RA and how it helps with book discovery.

Also, here is the link to American Libraries' coverage of ALA. I know they are still writing recaps because the recap of my Saturday panel is not up yet, but I know pictures were taken and they said they would be covering it. Also while I was writing this post, more articles were added. Links gets everything.

But here is what I did while at ALA with links to my Twitter notes where applicable.

Friday: I began my morning with a wonderful 30 minute walk [each way] to the Hill where I was meeting with a  member of my local Congressperson- Daniel Lipinski [IL-3]-- to discuss both the library issues of the entire state of IL and in my town. This meeting was organized with the help of the Illinois Library Association. Our Rep is pro library both in policy and personal life. He is an active library user. But we haven't been able to get him [or staff] to come to local library legislative networking events, so I focused on inviting them to those. I think I was successful, but we will see.

However, because I am a novice at this, I didn't have my picture taken with the staff. Oh well.

Later that day I attended the opening session with Jason Reynolds. He was amazing. Here is the American Libraries recap. And here is the link to my tweets/notes of his talk; I did it all in one thread for easy retrieval. I already adored him, especially after I led a gourd of 6th graders in a book club of As Brave As You, but he did an even better job than I could have imagined both telling us a story and making a point. He is awe inspiring as a story teller.

Saturday I spent the first half of my day shepherding horror author Grady Hendrix around. I met him at 9am at his panel- Reads Like Fiction: Nonfiction You Can't Put Down. Click here to see my notes including every book cover. Again, it is all in one thread.

Then Grady and I headed over to the exhibit hall to hang out in the Penguin booth [Quirk is distributed by PRH and shared their booth] and met up with Steve Thomas so that we could record an episode of his Circulating Ideas podcast about Summer Scares. Here is photographic evidence.

This is a picture of PRH LibraryMarketer Hugo, who I have worked with before. He took it upon himself to make sure we had space to podcast. Ivy from Quirk was busy with another horror author who did not have a librarian friend to help move him along. Thanks again Hugo.

From there, I brought Grady to his panel on the Pop Top Stage in the exhibit hall entitled- Don't be Afraid of Horror. For some reason the thread got broken so you click here first and here second [although with this one you need to scroll to get to the top of the thread. The link to the top cuts off part of the thread; I have no idea why] to read my notes and see all of the book covers. The wifi was bad in that corner, so I am not surprised it is wonky.

I did make this observation after my busy morning:

I had such a wonderful Saturday even before I presented because I got to spend time with Grady and see how much love library workers have for horror. The panel at the Pop Top Stage was very well attended and it filled my heart.

I had to say goodbye to Grady to head to my Saturday panel. Again all the info on my panel is here. We had standing room only and unfortunately had to turn people away. BUT, there will be a recording. So everyone can hear what was said. Yay.

This day kept going however, as I had dinner with Sourcebooks and got to meet two wonderful nonfiction authors, both of whose books you need to read:

Not only do their books sound fascinating, the women were both excellent humans. We had lovely conversations over dinner. These are titles that will be in high demand this fall. More on Perkins to come.

I also was seated next to Robert Rosenwald the owner of Poisoned Pen Press which was just bought by Sourcebooks and is also working with the Horror Writers Association to put out the Haunted Library Series. We too had excellent conversation, and I am very excited to be working with him on the HWA projects.

I had to leave the Sourcebooks dinner early for the Carnegie Medal ceremony. You can click here to see coverage of that night of speeches. I took a break from tweeting because as you could see, it had been a long day. I did especially appreciate Kiese Laymon talking about the work we still need to do to make all libraries truly loving places for all. Use this link to see all of the Tweets covering the speeches. Here are the pictures I took of the program so that you can see all of the titles that were being honored, not just the winners, and all speakers:

So that was just the first day and a half and I haven't talked about another dinner and a late night trip to the African American History Museum courtesy of extended Solstice hours that I crammed in there.

On to Sunday, I spent most of the morning getting ready for my talk and going around the exhibit hall. 

One thing I did of note in the exhibit hall that morning was to attend a panel on the Pop Top Stage on debut Science Fiction novels moderated by John Scalzi. Click here to see the books that were discussed and authors present. I have to admit I was too tired from prepping all morning to tweet, but all of the books are worth your time. All Tor titles. I enjoyed the conversation very much as the appeal of the genre was discussed at length.

Sunday continued with a few meetings that will lead to announcements in the future, the NoveList contributors Happy Hour [which was fabulous as all of the contributors only get to see each other at conference], dinner with a former colleague, and an evening walk over to the White House.

My final day at ALA was an early start as I went to the LibraryReads Breakfast. My colleague Erin Downey Howerton did a thread for each author/book with a cover photo of the title. Click on title below to read her notes on their speeches:
And here is a picture of the authors and LibraryReads reps:

I ended my conference with a lunch meeting with the acquisitions editor from ALA Editions to hammer out all of the final details about my contract for the Third Edition of the Horror Book. I can officially say I will be turning it in in September of 2020, so look for it in late Spring 2021!

Overall, this conference was different for me. I spent less time in actual sessions and more time in networking and meeting up with potential clients. The sessions I did attend were mostly because I was involved in some way. And that's okay. As I get further into my career, the networking parts of ALA are more beneficial to me. I started conversations with 6 libraries to come do training in the near future, and touched base with all of the companies I have a free lance relationship. I also got to see friends old and new.

I left tired, but inspired. Next year I hope to see you in Chicago.

But now it is time to start getting back to normal.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

RA for All Roadshow Visits ALA Annual: Panorama Project Update Program

The Panorama Project is hosting a session at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 23, from 1:00 - 2:00 PM (Room 152A at the Washington Conference Center)
Sari Feldman (Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Library and former ALA President) will provide an update on issues regarding digital library lending. 
Sharon Bruni (Associate Director of Public Services, Mt. Lebanon Public Library) will present the initial findings from the Project’s recent survey of Readers’ Advisory activities. 
Becky Spratford (librarian and founder of RA for All) will present tips on how libraries can address the online and social media promotion opportunities surfaced in the initial survey results. 
Alexis Petric-Black (Senior Manager, Publisher Relations, Rakuten OverDrive) will present Panorama Picks, our recently launched program that uses library demand data to reveal opportunities for booksellers, publishers, authors and libraries.

Yup, that is where I will be at 1pm today. Here is the link to the slides. The bulk of this presentation is Sharon presenting the  preliminary results of our survey. She did an amazing job articulating them via the slides, and whether or not you are here in DC with us, these slides will help every single one of you to do a better job.

My part of this presentation is going to entail spending 10 minutes to address how we move forward with what we know. Since I only have 10 minutes, I am using this space to get all of my thoughts down. I will mostly focus on the social media aspects at the end of this post in person.

I was happy to see that the the findings fell in line with my 10 Rules of RA Service, specifically rules Rules 7-9:
7. Use resources 

  • Think of your job as “leisure reading reference." 
8. Working together is your MOST valuable resource
  • both across whole staff and with other libraries 
9. Bridge the physical-virtual divide

  • opposite sides of the same coin 
  • find ways to get your in building stuff online AND your online stuff in building 

The overall theme of the survey, and really the entire RA Impact Committee of the Panorama Project is that we need to do a better job of owning that we are the book experts in our community. Own It and Flaunt It

But how? I am going to give you tangible take home; things you can start doing at your libraries when you return, with links to more details. And all of it is related to these guiding rules above.

First, we need to stop trying to do everything our selves. As rule 7 states, we need to use resources better. For some weird reason, we have decided that RA work has to all spring from our brains. But that is completely unnecessary. We have spent over 100 years at our public libraries training patrons to come into the library, ask a question, and wait while we look up the answer. The expect us to look things up. Why don't we allow ourselves too with RA? Actually I don't care about psycho analyzing this. We don't have time. Just stop. Use resources.

But more important than the fact that using resources is the core of our profession, it just makes sense. We have limited time to learn about everything, and someone out there has written something about a book your patron would like. Read someone else's comments on Goodreads-- especially 5 star and 2 star reviews to see a range of opinions on a book, and use lists from other places around the web. I have much to say about this topic of how to use the words of others including many examples of resources, you can pull up those posts here.

This leads directly to rule 8 and my second point. One of our best resources is the work we are all doing at our libraries, but for some reason, and the survey supports this, we don't share and work together when it comes to helping leisure readers. Why not? Our staff all read. From the maintenance person to the pages to the clerks, all the way up to the Director. Trust me, I travel all over the country doing these trainings and I have never been proven wrong. Our staff are reading and yet, we are not asking the people who don't work in our departments for help with our work on the service desks.

Why not? If we get more staff involved, by asking them to share what they are reading, we then have more voices as part of our book recommendation engine. More voices means more titles, but more importantly, it also means a wider range of options are being presented. Not only are our support staff more diverse than the professionals [we are 80% white ladies], but when we include everyone on staff, we get a wide range of ages, reading tastes, and new ideas.

You also free people up from only talking about what is happening in their specific area of the library. For example here is an interesting thing I have learned in my travels. Every where I go I ask the Children' staff to raise their hands. Then I ask the ones who also love to read erotica, keep their hands up. There is always at least 1. Are you shocked? If the answer is yes, they you are failing at working together. Just because someone works in children's does that mean that they only read children's books; they just can't talk about their love of the other titles at their desk [for obviously reasons in this example].

But if we find ways to ask everyone to share what they like, we can promote a wider range of books. Using the compound interest of the reading of the entire staff, means we go from promoting 10, 20, 30 titles, to being able to offer hundreds and then over time, thousands. It quickly adds up.

But how? Here are a few ideas you can try at your library:

  • Ask everyone who works at the library and is on Goodreads to friend the library shelf. Tell them that if they give a book 5 stars, that means you can add it to the staff recommendation shelf. Make it easy to participate, but also you need to stop caring which staff members voices can be represented on the staff rec shelf. They don't have to be professional staff or even work the public service desks.
  • Sometimes even this first idea is too much for some staff to participate. In this post I talk about sending out a monthly email to all staff and asking them to share some recent good reads.
  • Find ways to reach out to libraries in your area, especially for smaller libraries, this allows you to get more voices involved even if you only have a staff of 4. Connect with people, in your region, all over your state or across the country. You can use their Goodreads shelves, websites, or even create a statewide place to share book recs like one of my favorites, The Missouri Book Challenge whose motto is "When Missouri libraries compete, everybody wins."
As you can probably see now we are already transitioning to the next rule-- Bridging the Physical Virtual Divide. I could go on about this topic for an hour, in fact, I do this frequently. But here I want to talk about social media use specifically. We are going about it all wrong. This is where we can Own and Flaunt our work better, but we first have to understand that the work we do online is NOT SEPARATE from the work we are doing in our buildings. They are simply the opposite sides of the same coin. When we look at it this way, our work on social media improves.

Here are a few Social Media and Libraries tips that the vast majority of us are not doing with concrete examples of things you can try:
  1. Pick one platform and use it, I suggest Instagram for you library work. Why? Because it is the easiest way to turn in-house work like displays or staff recs into posts. Make a display? Take a picture and post it. My favorite, and it goes with the previous rule, at your staff day, ask everyone to bring the best book they read in the last year-- not from their department only, not that only came out in that year-- the book they most enjoyed since the last time you met. They bring it to staff day and at some point, you get everyone to pose with their book in a picture. Later you turn those pictures into a weekly series of staff book recs on Instagram. 1 a week for how many weeks you have staff. And then if it doesn't finish the year out, either repeat [because social media has a VERY short memory] or send out an all staff email to ask for more volunteers. This gives you a a wide range of personalized reading recommendations.
  2. Redirect your work from that one platform to other social media. Once you have picked one platform, you don't have to abandon the others, just stop creating original content on the others and send them to the place where you are posting a lot.
  3. Post frequently, like all the time frequently. You are not spamming people if you post the same thing 3 times in one day. The way the social media feeds work, even the savviest users miss things if they aren't posted more than once a day. But also, be consistent. Have content every single day. You are going to be seen more frequently if you have regular content. Once a week doesn't cut it. Every. Single. Day. Honestly if you don't post that frequently you might as well not do it at all. Use scheduling software and options to pre-arrange content. And also, this is where the opposite sides of the same coin issue comes into play, if you can use content you have already created for in house use as a social media post, you are maximizing the number of people who interact with the library and the books you are recommending. You are actually doing less new work but reaching more people with the good work you have already done in both places-- the building and the web-- at the same time.
  4. Use Twitter to connect with other libraries, publishers and authors. I know I said pick one platform, but that was for your patron service. To make sure that our libraries can do rules 7 and 8 better and also to promote the great work we are doing to connect readers with books, we also need to reach out to where the authors and publishers are most frequently interacting with readers these days-- Twitter. Let the authors and publishers know by tagging them, that we are suggesting their books. Even if all you are doing is retweeting their tweets, they will notice you are helping their promotional engines. And then- repeat the post frequently advice.
  5. Do unboxing videos. I do not have time to explain this one, but I have an entire post here. We get boxes of books every week. We should be opening them on YouTube and mentioning the authors, titles, and publishers and reading the cover copy. Why should only the back room staff get to experience the joy of the new books? Spread it to your patrons. Get them excited about the materials. Promote the authors and their books. It's all in this post.

There is much more to say on this topic and I post about all of these issues regularly here on the blog, but for today, this is a start.

I know we are all doing great things at all of our libraries. I know because you have brought me to many of your libraries to see what you are doing and help you get better at serving leisure readers. But we all need to be better at working together and flaunting our awesomeness. The compound interest of every library taking the advice of the work we are doing on this project-- all of us working together and promoting the great work we do getting books into patrons's hands, ultimately leading to more book sales all around-- that can become one very loud voice. All of our smaller voices joined together will reverberate and shake the core of the problem. That problem is huge. The publishers don't respect our power to create sales. Sorry if that rattles some feathers here, but it is true and someone has to say it out loud. We wouldn't have the Panorama Project if they did. But here's the thing, we blame the publishers for not respecting the power of our voices, but we should be blaming ourselves.

We do not respect the work we are doing enough to shout it from the rafters. I know this because you hire me to help you improve at this in your libraries. Let's start today. Climb up on our preverbal roofs-- social media-- and start crowing about yourselves, your work, and your RA skills. Encourage your staff and neighboring libraries to join you. Let's unite as one voice and prove what we know. That the work we do, leads to more people discovering more great titles, which leads to more sales than there would be without us.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

RA for All Roadshow Visits ALA Annual: Give Them What They Want: Readers-Focused Collection Development

This post is so that you can access the slides from the panel I am moderating today. Please also go here for  he post where I detailed the goals and provided an outline for this presentation. That will familiarize you with what to expect from this presentation.

There will also be an official recording of this panel by ALA, which I will also attach here after it is available.

So basically, this is the homepage for all of the information and resources that support this panel. Everyone, near and far, will get to participate [especially after the recording is available], and I am so excited about that. 
Give Them What They Want: Reader-Focused Collection Development
Saturday, June 22 
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM Location: Washington Convention Center, 143A 

Readers are flocking to library’s leisure collections. To make smart collection choices, we must look further than circulation statistics and learn what our entire community desires. Our presenters are using methods suitable at libraries of any size to incorporate patron wishes into collection development, making readers integral to the whole process. From complex patron-driven acquisitions plans at large library systems, to bite-size surveys at the smallest libraries, to prioritizing patron requests, to canny materials displays, all of these librarians are finding innovative ways to put what readers want front and center, and to ferret out even the hardest-to-discover reading desires.

Below I have posted my introductory comments and then you can find the panelists and their resources with direct links:
In true library fashion, this panel has a story. It began as an Adult Reading Round Table program I organized in Fall of 2018. That one featured Robin Bradford, Rebecca Bartlett, Stephen Sposato, and Nicole Steeves. You can access more details about the panelists and see handouts from that presentation here.
With permission from ARRT, I brought this program to the committee Robin and I are on, the one sponsoring this program today, The RUSA (Reference and User Services Association) CODES (Collection Development & Evaluation Section) Readers' Advisory Research and Trends Committee. The committee is charged with considering the issues, challenges, and trends facing library professionals doing RA work in all types of libraries and serving as a forum for discussion and education around the vital work of Readers' Advisory. We host several moderated email discussions throughout the year and are thrilled to bring this talented panel together to discuss Reader-focused Collection Development. Committee members please stand up and be acknowledged for your hard work. You can see a list of the committee here.
We are running this program in combination with one of those Email Convos our committee had back at the end of April. You can click here to read the notes from that conversation. [Thanks to co-chair Magan Szwarek for getting those put together.]
We are very excited to continue the conversation here today.
  • Polli Kenn, Readers' Services Coordinator and William Ottens Cataloging & Collection Development Coordinator both from Lawrence Public Library [KS] 
  • Jennifer Rothschild, Collection Engagement Librarian, Arlington Public Library [VA]
  • Rebecca Bartlett, the Collection Services Manager at the La Grange Public Library [IL]
  • Annabelle Mortensen, the Access Services Manager at Skokie Public Library [IL]

Thursday, June 20, 2019

ALA Galley and Signing Guide and RA for All ALA Posting Schedule

Later today I am getting on a plane for DC and ALA Annual. Before I left, I wanted to make sure I passed on the ALA Galley and Singing Guide available with this link AND include this reminder post I wrote during Book Expo last month where I discussed how these guides are still an extremely useful resource even if you are "left behind."

I was left behind for Book Expo and will be there for ALA and I can tell you first hand that the galley guides are a great resource whether or not you are there. In fact, I barely use these conference guides while I am there, and only use them as a resource after the fact because while I am there I am too busy going to meetings and presentation to spend a lot of time worried about grabbing galleys at a specific time.

Ah, grabbing galleys. This is also my annual reminder to those of you who are going to ALA that the reason you are there is NOT to get as many books as you can, nor is it to spend your time in line waiting for an author's signature. You are there to network and learn. I get upset every time I go to ALA and see people spending their day in lines. Sigh.

There is no problem with grabbing a few free books as you walk by. There is also no problem getting a bunch and shipping them home, especially if you will use them with staff and give out as prizes to patrons. But, please remember why you are there, and more importantly, why your supervisors are paying for you to be there [this is the Trustee in me talking now]. Free books are tempting, yes, but you will miss out on meeting new people and learning new things if all you do is stand in line on the exhibit floor.

So use that Galley Guide [here] when you get home in the ways I suggest [here].

And now, before I head to the airport, a note about the posting schedule here on RA for All because it will be a bit nontraditional due to the conference.

I will not be posting tomorrow-- Friday. I will however, we actively Tweeting and you can follow those Tweets in the side bar here on the blog even if you don't have Twitter. Or use this link to see my timeline. Again, you do not need a Twitter account to read anyone's Tweets; you only need an account to Tweet yourself.

Actually, I will be live Tweeting more than posting all weekend. I will do each program I attend as a single Tweet thread for easier retrieval and will post a wrap up with direct links to each program and other general thoughts next week on the blog. Rest assured, everything will make it on to the blog at some point and that is so all of us, myself included, can access the notes and information more easily, at a later date.

I WILL HAVE  posts on Saturday and Sunday, each serving as the resource page for the panels I am a part of.

The point is, the blog will be a little less predictable over the next 5 days or so, but don't worry, I am taking notes the whole time and will get everyone up to speed when I return.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Library Reads: July 2019

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.
    Also, the Library Reads Board has also started another great book discovery and suggestion tool for you, a monthly What We're Reading column. This means there are even more library worker approved titles, new and old, for you to choose from. 

    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. 

    Finally, I wanted to note that this month marks the largest number of Hall of Fame Authors in one month since they began giving authors who have already been on the LR list at least twice a special designation. What I love about this is that by having 6 authors who library workers already know about and adore moved to HoF status, not only do they still get to be on the list, by moving them to an honorary role, but also, we allow, in this case, 6 new authors onto the list. 6 authors that wouldn't have gotten their chance in the spotlight otherwise, 6 authors who more library workers can mow know about and pass on to readers. It's a win-win all around.

    July 2019 LibraryReads

    The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

    by Abbi Waxman

    Published: 7/9/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780451491879
    “Nina likes her bookish life just fine. She works in a bookstore and is on a highly competitive trivia team. She is funny and snarky and great company (says this reader). Suddenly, a father she never knew dies and leaves her with a pack of brothers and sisters and Nina may be forced out of her comfortable reading chair. For readers who enjoyed Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey and The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald.”
    Eileen Curley, Hagaman Public Library, East Haven, CT
    NoveList Read-alike: The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

    The Book Charmer

    by Karen Hawkins

    Published: 7/30/2019 by Gallery Books
    ISBN: 9781982135669
    “Sarah is the librarian in a small Southern town called Dove Pond. Her magic is matching the right book to the right reader at the right time in their life. Grace is a city girl, new in town and in need of a little magic herself. For readers who enjoyed The Library of Lost and Found and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry,.”
    Tracy Babiasz, Chapel Hill Public Library, Chapel Hill, NC 
    Novelist Read-alike: Any Sarah Addison Allen

    The Escape Room: A Novel

    by Megan Goldin

    Published: 7/30/2019 by St. Martin’s Press
    ISBN: 9781250219657
    “Highly successful colleagues Sam, Vincent, Sylvie, and Jules are no strangers to the competitive world of high finance but after they become trapped in an elevator escape room they find themselves having to work together. For readers of Tana French, Karin Slaughter, and Harlan Coben.”
    KC Davis, Fairfield Woods Library, Fairfield, CT
    NoveList Read-alike: Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski

    Gods of Jade and Shadow

    by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    Published: 7/23/2019 by Del Rey
    ISBN: 9780525620754
    “In 1920s Mexico, a young woman unwittingly awakens a Mayan god and is pulled into his quest for vengeance. The odyssey that follows takes her through the jungles to Mexico City and the underworld as she realizes her inner strength and passion. For readers who enjoyed Uprooted and Circe.”
    Emily Plagens, Allen Public Library, Allen, TX 
    NoveList Read-alike: Deathless by Cathrynne Valente

    How to Hack a Heartbreak

    by Kristin Rockaway

    Published: 7/30/2019 by Graydon House
    ISBN: 9781525834257
    “It’s no secret that women in the tech world are undervalued and have to work twice as hard for their success. This persistent problem in the tech industry is tackled here in a pithy and engaging way without diminishing its importance. For readers who liked The Assistants by Camille Perri.”
    Josie Myers, Greenwood Public Library, Greenwood, IN 
    NoveList Read-alike: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

    The Lager Queen of Minnesota: A Novel

    by J. Ryan Stradal

    Published: 7/23/2019 by Pamela Dorman Books
    ISBN: 9780399563058
    “A heartwarming and witty novel with a distinctly Minnesotan feel, the author follows two sisters and their grandmother who become involved in the brewing industry. For readers who loved Where’d You Go Bernadette.”
    Katelyn Boyer, Fergus Falls Public Library, Fergus Falls, MN
    NoveList Read-alike: Clock Dance by Anne Tyler


    by David Bell

    Published: 7/2/2019 by Berkley
    ISBN: 9780440000860
    “Joshua’s life has become a predictable pattern of departures and arrivals, a lot of his time spent in airports until he meets Morgan on a layover and there is an instant connection. during a layover, with whom he feels a deep connection. The next time he sees her is on the news as a missing person. For readers who liked Faithful Place by Tana French and Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker.”
    Michelle Magnotta, Mamaroneck Public Library, Mamaroneck, NY 
    NoveList Read-alike: The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

    Lock Every Door: A Novel

    by Riley Sager

    Published: 7/2/2019 by Dutton
    ISBN: 9781524745141
    “A young woman gets a job house sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous apartments. A slow-burn full of twists and turns and a shocking conclusion. For readers who enjoyed The Wife Between Us and The Woman in the Window.”
    Megan Alabaugh, Rocky River Public Library, Rocky River, OH
    NoveList Read-alike: The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

    The Nickel Boys: A Novel

    by Colson Whitehead

    Published: 7/16/2019 by Doubleday
    ISBN: 9780385537070
    “An incredibly powerful story about an abusive boys’ reform school in the 1960s. Whitehead skillfully brings each character to life even as they suffer physical and emotional horrors. For fans of Panopticon by Jenni Fagan.”
    Mara Bandy Fass, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL 
    NoveList Read-alike: The Boys of the Dark: A Story of Betrayal and Redemption in the Deep South by Robin Gaby Fisher

    Wanderers: A Novel

    by Chuck Wendig

    Published: 7/2/2019 by Del Rey
    ISBN: 9780399182105
    “A pandemic is sweeping the nation that causes affected people to sleepwalk. They cannot be awoken and family and friends must accompany them on their journey while the CDC tries to find the cause and cure. For fans of Cryptonomicon and The Windup Girl.”
    Kyle Sederstrom, Overbrook Public Library, Overbrook, KS 
    NoveList Read-alike: The Stand by Stephen King

    Brazen and the Beast: The Bareknuckle Bastards Book II

    by Sarah MacLean

    Published: 7/30/2019 by Avon
    ISBN: 9780062692078
    “Sparks fly when the brash daughter of an earl and the bastard son of a duke are thrown together in Regency London. Strong character development and sizzling love scenes combine for a swoon-worthy read.”
    Rosemary Kiladitis, Queens Library, Queensboro Hill, NY
    Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
    The Mistress by Susan Wiggs
    The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel by Jennifer McQuiston

    The Chelsea Girls: A Novel

    by Fiona Davis

    Published: 7/30/2019
    by Dutton
    ISBN: 9781524744588
    “Amid the paranoia of the Red Scare, two women forge an indelible friendship. Davis’ latest historical fiction gem highlights an important chapter of American history against the vivid backdrop of 1950s New York.”
    Debbie Lease, Hillsdale Public Library, Hillsdale, NJ
    White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen
    When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
    The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

    Lady in the Lake: A Novel

    by Laura Lippman

    Published: 7/23/2019
    by William Morrow
    ISBN: 9780062390011
    “Maddie Schwartz leaves her marriage in 1960s Baltimore and finds her true calling as a reporter after discovering the body of a murdered girl. Desperate for a byline, Maddie triggers a domino effect of tragic consequences when she becomes part of the story instead.”
    Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT 
    Field of Blood by Denise Mina
    November Road by Lou Berney
    Black Water Rising by Attica Locke

    Never Have I Ever: A Novel

    by Joshilyn Jackson

    Published: 7/30/2019
    by William Morrow
    ISBN: 9780062855312
    “Amy’s seemingly perfect life is threatened when she’s confronted by a stranger who knows her darkest secrets. This fast-paced thrill ride hooks you from the first page.”
    Terri Smith, Cornelia Library, Mt. Airy, GA
    Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
    The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
    A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

    Shamed: A Kate Burkholder Novel

    by Linda Castillo

    Published: 7/16/2019
    by Minotaur Books
    ISBN: 9781250142863
    “An Amish grandmother is murdered, a girl with special needs is abducted, and the clock ticks on police chief Burkholder’s hopes of finding her alive. This thrilling page-turner explores the lengths one will go to save a child.”
    Aubrey Parker, Charles B. Stewart-West Branch Library,Montgomery, TX 
    In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
    Blessed Be the Wicked by D.A. Bartley
    Circle of Influence by Annette Dashofy

    The Wedding Party

    by Jasmine Guillory

    Published: 7/16/2019
    by Berkley Jove
    ISBN: 9781984802194
    “Maddie and Theo love to hate each other until they find themselves together at the one place they least expected–in bed. This laugh-out-loud story is the perfect companion to Guillory’s earlier romances.”
    Afton Finley, Waseca Public Library, Waseca, MN
    Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
    The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
    Intercepted by Alexa Martin