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, February 26, 2021

RA for All Virtual Roadshow Visits the HWA's Women In Horror Month Panel 2


Tonight I will be moderating the second panel in the Horror Writers Association's Females of Fright series at 8pm Eastern. 

Appearing with me:

This chat, and the first one, are both excellent options to pass on to your patrons for on demand viewing. 

You can click here to register watch, but if it is full, you can also watch it all on Facebook live or catch it over on the HWA's YouTube page [that is also where you can see Panel 1 right now].

This discussion is focused on the authors and their stories. It will be filled with more reading suggestions too. All of these women are people's whose books you should have on your shelves. Use the links I have included above to even see some reviews I have written about some of their works.

Join us tonight or catch the archived video later. Pass it on to your patrons too. Order their books and the books of the women in horror they mention. I promise you will learn something and be entertained. Hope to see some of you there. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Stock Your RA Pantry: Library Goodreads Updates

During the quarantine of 2020, I began a series of posts entitled, Stock Your RA Pantry. These posts address the things you can do from home to enhance your RA Services and Resources both now and going forward. And, these are all things any library worker can do, no matter what their official job title at the library happens to be.

One of my very first suggestions was to "Get Busy on Goodreads." To be fair, I have told library workers too do this for years, but most did not have the time to devote to really setting themselves up as a library. And then, people were sent home, buildings were shut down, and libraries needed a reason to pay them. Finally, libraries started allowing all staff to add to their library Goodreads pages.

You can go to the original post for detailed information on how to get started, but the key is to have any staff who are interested to get a new Goodreads account with their work email and then link them all on your Libraries page. 

This is an easy way to give your staff--  all staff from the custodial staff to the Director-- a way to serve your organization's mission. Anyone who wants, should be encourages to share their  3-5 star reads on Goodreads in a way that other staff can capture them to use to make suggestions or patrons can see to enhance their socially distant browsing experience. 

I have be actively sharing one of my success stories in all of my presentations-- Des Moines Public Library-- who started a robust RA Service from scratch during the pandemic, across multiple buildings, involving staff who didn't work together, for in some cases, hadn't ever met. Here is their "DMPL Book Chat" Good reads page.

Recently, someone asked me for more success stories of libraries who stock their RA Pantry with reviews and info on Goodreads. If you use this link you can get a full list.

Or, just use the search bar and type in "public library." It defaults to a title search, but you  can click on "groups" and you will see libraries.

Every library uses the page differently, but the key is to attach your staff and their work shelves to the account so you have access to everyone's reading in one place. Allow your patrons to join and they can be part of your "community" book shelf too.

Finally, as we all begin to open up more over the next few months, do not forget about your virtual services, especially Goodreads. Any "normal" we return to MUST continue to include virtual RA options going forward. We cannot go back to saying it is not possible because under the hardest of circumstances, we proved it was. 

For more Stock Your RA Pantry posts, click here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Book Discussion Book Book Buzz via LibraryReads and More Book Club Resources

One of the things that has remained strong throughout the pandemic is the library hosted book club. Since a book discussion group works best with fewer than 20 people and the Zoom screen can hold 25 on one page, libraries quickly and easily move book clubs online. I have done some training sessions where library workers practiced how to discuss in a Zoom format and I can tell you first hand, it was not a difficult transition. 

In fact, in some ways, the discussions have been improved in a virtual environment. For example, it is easier to read facial expressions [as a leader] on the Zoom screen and attendance is more consistent.

With the increase in popularity, many libraries are increasing their book club offerings and LibraryReads hosted this book buzz style program with 20 titles you could try with your book club to help spark conversation. Presented in conjunction with the Glen Ellyn [IL] Public Library, Executive Director of LibraryReads and a staff member from GEPL took turns introducing 

It is up on their YouTube page here or you can click on the screenshot below to access.

This increase in book club offerings also means that more staff are being recruited to lead book clubs and ideas for what to discuss are not your only concern. So I also wanted to point you to a few other resources to help you improve your book discussion groups.

The Adult Reading Round Table Book Club Study: This program is for members only and gives library book discussion leaders the chance to sit back and enjoy being discussion participants while also offering a forum for sharing questions and practical solutions to the problems and concerns of book group leaders. This “nuts and bolts” training session is offered at the end of each discussion. However, anyone can access the notes from the discussions and the "nuts and bolts" sessions via the archive here.

Becky's Recharge Your Book Club Slides: My training program slides filled with links, tips, and tricks. Includes my popular Leadership and Group Norms handout.

NoveList: The database has extensive Book Discussion resources, example discussion guides, and even lists of recommended titles by me. 

LitLovers: My go-to resource for book club information but especially the "How to Run a Book Club" page which I return to frequently for advice and ideas.

Finally, book clubs are one of my specialties. If your staff or library system needs a refresher, I am available to offer a variety of training options, from 60 minutes to 3 hours [longer program includes a  facilitated discussion by me for discussion leaders], with pricing ranging from $350 to $550. Contact me for more information.

But for most of you, the links I have provided here are enough to get you re-energized to serve your book discussion groups.

And again, thank to LibraryReads and GEPL for this awesome program

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

New Episode of Shelf Care Podcast Is All About Summer Scares

Booklist, one of the sponsors of Summer Scares, invited a team of those of  use involved in the program to preview it for all of you library workers, including a librarian from a small, rural library who had great success using Summer Scares to attract readers of all ages to their 2020 Summer reading.

Here are the details about the episode with a link to listen:

Shelf Care, Episode #13: Summer Scares 2021

On this episode of Booklist’s Shelf Care: The Podcast, Susan gets real scared . . . Summer Scare(d), that is! Ha ha ha ha ha, good one.

Hear from author Silvia Moreno-Garcia and librarian horror expert Becky Spratford, librarians Konrad Stump and Evelyn Gathu, and Booklist’s own Julia Smith about this year’s Summer Scares program, from how the books are selected to that one author in the UP who can only be reached if you call the gas station in town.

Here’s what we talked about:

Summer Scares 2021 List

The Hunger, by Alma Katsu (2018)

The Cipher, by Kathe Koja (reissued by Meerkat Press, 2020)

★ Frankenstein in Baghdadby Ahmed Saadawi and translated by Jonathan Wright (2018)

Undead Girl Gangby Lily Anderson (2018)

★ The Divinersby Libba Bray (2012)

★ The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline (2017)

★ Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoodsby Hal Johnson and illustrated by Tom Mead (2015)

★ Ollie’s Odysseyby William Joyce (2016)

★ Whichwoodby Tahereh Mafi (2017)

RA for All: Horror

Women in Horror Month

Horror Writers Association

Summer Scares 2020 Program Guide (2021 guide is coming soon!)

UP Notable Books 2020

Yoopernatural Haunts: Upper Peninsula Paranormal Research Society Case Files, by Brad Blair, Tim Ellis, and Steve LaPlaunt

The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle

Case File 13: Zombie Kid,by J. Scott Savage

★ In the Valley of the Sun, by Andy Davidson

Goosebumps series, by R. L. Stine

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell

Monday, February 22, 2021

Using Awards Lists As A RA Tool: Bram Stoker Awards Edition

This is part of my ongoing series on using Awards Lists as a RA tool. Click here for all posts in the series in reverse chronological order. Click here for the first post which outlines the details how to use awards lists as a RA tool.

Below is the final ballot of titles that are in the running for a Bram Stoker Award. I have linked to all of the books I have reviewed [which are numerous]. Please note that I have reviewed 4 of 5 titles in the novel category and the 5th title is from the publisher who I promoted last week in my #HorroForLibraries giveaway. I know you own the other 4, add Devil's Creek too.

I also want to point all of you to the excellent Bram Stoker Awards website. It is maintained separately from the HWA's main site to make it easier for everyone to have easy backlist access.

The Bram Stoker Awards will be announced as part of the Virtual StokerCon 2021- May 20-23. I will have a lot of news about the event very soon, but here is a bit of a preview: Librarians' Day will be happening and it will be a part of the entire Con. So for the same price you would have paid to attend in person, library workers can attend the entire event and authors can attend Librarians' Day. So for example, you get entry to the Final Frame Film Competition which is one of my favorite things about StokerCon with your LD ticket.

[However, that is just the tip of the iceberg in news about StokerCon.]

Also, I would like to  point out that in the list of this year's nominees for the Bram Stoker Awards we have 2 current Summer Scares authors nominated for their new works [Katsu and Koja], our current spokesperson [Moreno-Garcia] and 4 past Summer Scares authors [Jones [2 nominations below and a former spokesperson], Kraus, Keene, and Bulkin [in the Black Cranes Anthology]].

Your takeaway from this fact: Summer Scares is a prefect entry into the Horror genre for all ages of library patrons. Our committee is knowledgable about horror for libraries and we have our pulse on what is "the best." 

Here is the list and remember, all awards lists make for my favorite RA Tool.

The 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Jones, Stephen Graham – The Only Good Indians (Gallery/Saga Press)

Katsu, Alma – The Deep (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Keisling, Todd – Devil’s Creek (Silver Shamrock Publishing)

Malerman, Josh – Malorie (Del Rey)

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia – Mexican Gothic (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Hall, Polly – The Taxidermist’s Lover (CamCat Publishing, LLC)

Harrison, Rachel – The Return (Berkley)

Jeffery, Ross – Tome (The Writing Collective)

Knight, EV – The Fourth Whore (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Reed Petty, Kate – True Story (Viking)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Archer, Steven (author/artist) – The Masque of the Red Death (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Brody, Jennifer (author) and Rivera, Jules (artist) – Spectre Deep 6 (Turner)

Douek, Rich (author) and Cormack, Alex (artist) – Road of Bones (IDW Publishing)

Holder, Nancy (author), Di Francia, Chiara (artist), and Woo, Amelia (artist) – Mary Shelley Presents (Kymera Press)

Manzetti, Alessandro (author) and Cardoselli, Stefano (artist/author) – Her Life Matters: (Or Brooklyn Frankenstein) (Independent Legions Publishing)

Niles, Steve (author), Simeone, Salvatore (author), and Kudranski, Szymon (artist) – Lonesome Days, Savage Nights (TKO Studios)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Cesare, Adam – Clown in a Cornfield (HarperTeen)

Kraus, Daniel – Bent Heavens (Henry Holt and Company/Macmillan)

Snyman, Monique – The Bone Carver (Vesuvian Books)

Thomas, Aiden – Cemetery Boys (Swoon Reads/Macmillan)

Waters, Erica – Ghost Wood Song (HarperTeen)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Iglesias, Gabino – Beyond the Reef (Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror) (Wicked Run Press)

Jones, Stephen Graham – Night of the Mannequins (Tor.com)

Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Invention of Ghosts (Nightscape Press)

Landry, Jess – I Will Find You, Even in the Dark (Dim Shores Presents Volume 1) (Dim Shores)

Pinsker, Sarah – Two Truths and a Lie (Tor.com)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Arcuri, Meghan – “Am I Missing the Sunlight?” (Borderlands 7) (Borderlands Press)

Fawver, Kurt – “Introduction to the Horror Story, Day 1” (Nightmare Magazine Nov. 2020 (Issue 98))

Malerman, Josh – “One Last Transformation” (Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors) (Written Backwards)

O’Quinn, Cindy – “The Thing I Found Along a Dirt Patch Road” (Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4: Recoil) (Down and Out Books)

Ward, Kyla Lee – “Should Fire Remember the Fuel?” (Oz is Burning) (B Cubed Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Koja, Kathe – Velocities: Stories (Meerkat Press)

Langan, John – Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies (Word Horde)

Lillie, Patricia – The Cuckoo Girls (Trepidatio Publishing)

Murray, Lee – Grotesque: Monster Stories (Things in the Well)

Taborska, Anna – Bloody Britain (Shadow Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Amaris, Scarlett and Stanley, Richard – Color Out of Space (SpectreVision)

Green, Misha – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 1: “Sundown” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)

Green, Misha and Ofordire, Ihuoma – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 8: “Jig-a-Bobo” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)

LaManna, Angela – The Haunting of Bly Manor, Season 1, Episode 5: “The Altar of the Dead” (Intrepid Pictures, Amblin Television, Paramount Television Studios)

Whannell, Leigh – The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick Productions)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Manzetti, Alessandro – Whitechapel Rhapsody: Dark Poems (Independent Legions Publishing)

McHugh, Jessica – A Complex Accident of Life (Apokrupha)

Pelayo, Cynthia – Into the Forest and All the Way Through (Burial Day Books)

Sng, Christina – A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Tantlinger, Sara – Cradleland of Parasites (Rooster Republic Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Bailey, Michael and Murano, Doug – Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors (Written Backwards)

Murray, Lee and Flynn, Geneve – Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Omnium Gatherum Media)

Kolesnik, Samantha – Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror (Grindhouse Press)

Tantlinger, Sara – Not All Monsters: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women of Horror (Rooster Republic Press)

Yardley, Mercedes M. – Arterial Bloom (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Florence, Kelly and Hafdahl, Meg – The Science of Women in Horror: The Special Effects, Stunts, and True Stories Behind Your Favorite Fright Films (Skyhorse)

Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – 1000 Women in Horror (BearManor Media)

Keene, Brian – End of the Road (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Peirse, Alison – Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre (Rutgers University Press)

Waggoner, Tim – Writing in the Dark (Guide Dog Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Wetmore, Jr. Kevin J. – The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaption (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

Jackson Joseph, Rhonda – “The Beloved Haunting of Hill House: An Examination of Monstrous Motherhood” (The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation) (McFarland)

Pelayo, Cynthia – “I Need to Believe” (Southwest Review Volume 105.3)

Robinson, Kelly – “Lost, Found, and Finally Unbound: The Strange History of the 1910 Edison Frankenstein” (Rue Morgue Magazine, June 2020)

Sng, Christina – “Final Girl: A Life in Horror” (Interstellar Flight Magazine, October 2020)

Waggoner, Tim – “Speaking of Horror” (The Writer)

Friday, February 19, 2021

It's ALIVE! The Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror, Third Edition


Here it is. The third edition of my book. And it is now live for pre-orders on the ALA Editions website

It won't be delivered until late summer, but over the next few months I will be updating the horror blog, which is the free update to the book. There is original information including double the annotations that could not fit into this book, but they will be available in full at RA for All: Horror

If you are interested in buying this book, please consider a preorder. 

Speaking of, I do want to address the price. It is not cheap-- $64 full price. But to put that in perspective, I charge  $300 minimum to give my 90 minute Horror presentation which is a brief summary of what is inside the pages of this book. So in that case, it is a great deal.

I am very excited to share this with all of you. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

RA for All Virtual Roadshow Visits Schaumburg Township District Library with Emma Donoghue

Tonight, at 7pm Central, I will be interviewing Emma Donoghue, author of Room, for the Schaumburg Township [IL] District Library as part of their One Book, One Community.

I have found out that anyone can watch this event on the STDL YouTube Channel. So consider joining us live. We are going to have a great time talking about everything from her favorite authors, her writing process, and the book itself. I am even going to ask her what it was like to go to the Oscars! 

Ms Donoghue is very excited to participate, she is easy to chat with, and quite funny.

Below is the teaser video she made  for  the event. Kudos  to STDL for keeping their community  engaged in this  community wide  reading program during a pandemic. The response has been great and they should be proud. Here is the full slate of what they offered for all ages of patrons.

I hope all of you can join us. 

Tthis is not my first go around doing one of these One Book, One Community author interview events, but in the before times I could only offer this service here in the Chicagoland area. If you are planning a virtual author event and need an experienced interviewer/moderator, contact me. And if you need help connecting with an author in the first place, I can also help.

"See" you  tonight.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Year in Review 2020: Circulation Materials Survey via LJ with EDI Conversation Starter

Earlier this month, Library Journal posted its annual Circulation Materials Survey for the last year here.

Please take a look at  it when you have time. This is data that is helpful to anyone who works with adult leisure readers.

Much of what is here is not going to be shocking news to anyone, but it is important to have hard data from across the country to back up local, anecdotal stories.

I use this information in my programs, especially some of the side by side comparisons like the image you see here on the left. There is a comparable one for Nonfiction. Every year this info is updated and you can see National trends on what genres check out the most. 

However, some of the content is problematic. Hoffert talks about "Black Books" as a genre, and anyone who has ever heard me t all has heard me say that a person's identity is NOT A GENRE.

I have to say that I am disappointed that the magazine let something so overtly racist out, but I will also say that I am on the record publicly and with LJ that I think Hoffert needs to retire. And I have been saying this for  years. 

This article would be a great starting point for a meeting between those who do adult RA and Collection Development, especially if those people are in different departments. Good RA Service is impossible without working in tandem with Collection Development staff. They don't have to be in the same department, but they do need to meet up a few times a year [at least] and chat. 

A report like this one is especially good because it has data we can use and is a great starting point to having important EDI conversations. Sometimes it is easier to start these hard conversation with an example. Here is one for you. This annual Circulation Materials Survey should be the jumping off point  to those conversations.