Aug 30, 2019
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
NPR Books Examines Gen Z's Role in Driving Romance to the Top of the Bestseller Lists [w/ extra generational context]
Aug 30, 2019
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
That is going to happen soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to remind you why you should listen to this podcast every week with this post from almost exactly a year ago when I appeared to promote my new book.
[Side note: We chat about Horror RA and this is the perfect time to begin prepping for spooky season. I am actually working on a presentation on that topic right now. Details 9/7].
New episodes drop on Thursdays.
Here you go....
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2021
Monday, August 29, 2022
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.
Earlier this month I had a post about the Center For Fiction's First Novel Prize. In that post I talked a lot more about using not only this prize as a tool but the category of "debuts" in general as a very useful tool to make displays and serve readers.
Today, I have another HUGE debut award announcement-- The Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize. It is for books published in the UK in English.
Let's start the week with fresh voices!
Friday, August 26, 2022
I have been getting more emails in the last year from new readers to RA for All who have asked for me to gather up a few of my "greatest hits" posts to share again. Yes, people know they can search the archives and use my extensive tags to pull things up, but I get it. Some of the most evergreen advice should be easier to access.
So starting today, I am going to be more conscious of doing a series of "greatest hits" posts and tagging them as such. I will try to do one a week, but we will see. I will also create a page for easier access as well. I have had a draft of that page ready for months but haven't acted on it yet. I have even set a weekly reminder to do these posts. I am committed to finally making this happen.
And until I get that Greatest Hits page up and running, you can use the "greatest hits" tag.
Let's begin with a popular Call to Action post from 2017 that is easy to implement immediately.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2017
We are going to rethink the entire concept of BEST lists are and repurpose them as sure bets lists. And we are going to get EVERYONE in on the action. Do not underestimate how much fun it is for staff from all over the building, public service and behind the scenes, professional librarians, clerk, HR people, AND PATRONS to share what they love with everyone. And don’t underestimate how useful collecting these “best” books is for you as you help leisure readers all the year through,That is from the intro to my hour long talk on how to crowdsource and collect your library’s “best” lists. During that webinar, one of the tips that I gave very quickly has stuck with me and I wanted to elaborate on it today because I think it is not only easy to do, but it could become one of your best RA and marketing tools.
And so I am calling you to action to CREATE YOUR LIBRARY’S HYPER-LOCAL BESTSELLER LIST.
I was reminded of this suggestion last week when the New York Times announced that it was going to get rid of a number of their more specific best seller lists. Like many of you I loved those lists. I was able to get an idea of well received titles in a variety of less popular genres and formats like graphic novels.
But this is not a post to complain about The NYT cutting bestseller lists. No, I am not about complaining, I am about offering solutions.
Which leads me back to today's call-- CREATE YOUR LIBRARY’S HYPER-LOCAL BESTSELLER LIST.
The NYT lists were great but they are national and very limited in scope. What you need to help you figure out what is most popular at your library is a variety of best seller list, and I suggest you use the way the NYT used to do it as your model. Plus, it is very easy to do AND it is great way to engage some of your nonprofessional staff in doing next level RA.
Let me explain. By now every public library has some kind of ILS that can easily be mined for useful circulation data. Running reports on materials is something that is done regularly by most public libraries. But generally these reports are run by the tech services and or circ staff for very specific purposes: missing reports, overdue materials, billed, clearing the hold shelf, identifying titles for potential weeding, etc....
But, we could just as easily be running reports on more positive things like the items that are most checked out, or as we need to rebrand them as-- THE LIBRARY’S BEST SELLERS LIST!
Patrons know what best sellers lists are; they already use them to help identify potential books to read. Best sellers are implicitly deemed as “good” by patrons because why else would they be best sellers? I know this logic is not always true, but it is how people think and we need to use that to our advantage.
So, let’s make our own lists about what is “best selling” at the library, especially now that the news is saying there will be fewer best seller lists available. Jump in and fill the void, even if that void is only a perceived one and not an actual one [because seriously, how many patrons actually looked at all of those lists online; we did, sure, but mostly they were used by us and the publishers for marketing purposes, so they could call something a "NYT Best Seller.”] And we can make as many as we want by running quick and easy weekly/monthly reports using our ILS.
Here are some easy to pull up lists in most ILS:
- General Best Sellers-- most checkout out of the week overall or broken down by each service area; so Adult, teen, kids, fiction, nonfiction.
- Format Best Sellers-- most checked out videos, audio books, streamed, download, Large Print.
- Genre Best Sellers-- as long as you have the genre noted somewhere in the item record be it in a subject heading or in it’s own field, you can easily do this.
- Want to promote the non-traditional things you check out like technology items [Go Pro cameras, Rokus] or maker items like sewing machine, art kits; some libraries do fishing poles and art. Whatever. Do a Best Seller lists of unexpected items. People might not even know that you have them.
- And my favorite.... Make some Backlist Best Seller Lists. For example, the most popular adult items checked out this week which were published before 2000. Or whatever your parameters. These are great to remind people that it is not only the newest 3 James Patterson books that are being checked out.
Who cares that there is no “selling” here. Don’t say most checked-out. Patrons know you are not selling the books, but calling the most checked out titles “Best Sellers” lends them more cache, it makes them cooler, and makes the library seem more like the rest of the book world.
Post them in the building and online. Change them out weekly or monthly, but change them regularly. Post them next to other, more well known best seller lists on one bulletin board. Put them at the applicable service desks. Hey, even put them at a desk that isn’t for those items, like the adult Best Seller list at the children’s desk so busy parents can get some popular reading ideas for themselves quickly.
You will draw interest not only to titles that may not make the more traditional best seller lists, but you will be engaging the community by allowing them to see what is most popular without sacrificing anyone’s identity or personal information. When people see what is popular in their library, you will be providing the content for opening lines in conversation amongst people in the community. And isn’t that one of our main goals-- engaging the community.
From a selfish standpoint, collecting and creating these lists will serve you well too. You will have a frequent snapshot of what is circulating the most which means you can work on more targeted displays and “while you wait” lists to help patrons. And if you do collection development too-- you will have more helpful information as you work of adding and deleting items.
Plus, the marketing potential is enormous. People will see how much you actually provide for them, especially if you make a variety of lists. Who cares if number 10 on one of your best seller lists only circulated 1x that week or month? No one needs to know the details. They just need to know that you have it and people have wanted it.
Finally, pulling the reports and sorting through the data to create these lists is a great way to engage staff who don’t normally get to work with leisure readers in person, like tech services. They can now be a part of a vital RA activity that actively assists patrons. They will also be more cognizant of what needs to be included in bibliographic records; for example, diverse books information or specific genres that are popular and are not tagged.
You can also have non-professional staff who want to do more to help readers, but still need more training and experience work on this activity. May be they can’t run the reports, but they can use the data to update lists, make signs and displays of the lists, and then use them to provide suggestions. It will help to create a RA culture throughout the library.
So get out there and start creating you library’s “Best Seller” Lists.
For past Call to Action posts, click here.
Thursday, August 25, 2022
This is a must read for anyone who works in a public library in America. Click here, use the links above, or click on the cover below.
But wait, there is more:
And finally also from PLA:
The 2022 PLA Annual Survey, Public Library Services for Strong Communities, will open next month. All US public libraries are encouraged to participate so the field can better understand current trends in how libraries meet the needs of their communities.
All libraries have free access to view key metrics and their own survey responses when they participate in PLA surveys. The has visualizations and peer comparison data for public libraries to use in planning and advocacy. Subscribe for upgraded access to the interactive data dashboards and to explore the full results from the 2021 Staff and Diversity Survey. All libraries that complete the 2022 survey will receive a 10% discount on an annual Benchmark subscription and a chance to win free PLA 2024 Conference registration!
We need as many libraries, from all locations and sizes, as possible to participate in the 2022 survey because as much as I find the 2021 results intriguing, I think 2022 is going to be more useful for us to see what is going on after the upheaval of 2020.
|Click here to read the report|
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
I have been sharing Kelly Jensen's* Censorship reporting via Book Riot on the blog regularly. But often, there is so much news she needs to give you each week that the news roundups can be overwhelming.
Well, last night, Kelly appeared on PBS News Hour-- a national program-- and in a little over 6 minutes, she gave you all of the talking points you need to understand and explain the current situation.
And the fact that there is audio, video, and text of Kelly explaining this all with one easy link makes for an even more useful resource for you. Feel free to cut and paste her excellent, succinct, and incisive comments and use them as you own sound bites [with citation, of course]. But also, listen to her to fully explain the issue, what is at stake, and how things are different than in the past.
If you have had a serious challenge and/or you have a tenuous and shaky situation with your own library boards, I highly recommend taking 6-7 minutes at your next board meeting to show this clip. I truly believe that this excerpt could go a long way toward preventing a rogue board member.
As I said in my talk Monday, we need to switch gears from reactive to proactive. Kelly has been proactive all along. This segment, if shown in advance to your board, can also be a proactive measure.
Please find 6-7 minutes today to watch it for yourself as well.
[*Please note, Kelly and I work together on Summer Scares.]
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Happy Book Birthday to a Surefire Library Sure Bet: Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste and a Chance For You to See Us Talk About it Live
Today, Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste is released into the world. Now, followers of this blog know that I have LOVED every book Kiste has written. The Rust Maidens was my top pick as the head juror for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel the year it was in contention, and I was so happy to read her name off and present her with the award in person at StokerCon in Grand Rapids that year. Boneset & Feathers was also one of my top reads of 2020.
But both of those were with small presses. Reluctant Immortals is her first Big 5 release and it is with Joe Monti at Saga [imprint of S&S], the man who edits Stephen Graham Jones.
Reluctant Immortals is not a readalike to Jones' work, but the hallmark of Monti's superior editing skills can be seen in this book, specifically in how the plot unfolds at a compelling pace, but without sacrificing details; details that make the book more enjoyable, richer, and somehow, every single one of them matters in the end, which is so satisfying.
I reviewed this book in the June 2022 issue of Library Journal and I loved it. You can see my full review with bonus info below or here, but before we get to that I have news!
As part of Kiste's virtual book tour, she asked me to moderate the virtual event at Old Town Books in VA. This event is on Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 7:00 PM EDT and it 100% free to sign up at this link.
|Click here to register|
If you are attending for yourself, please consider buying a book from them as a thank you.
But let's chat about library copies for a moment. See my details review below, but this is one of those rare gifts that we get as library workers helping leaguer readers at the library, a surefire sure bet option. This is a book about characters from beloved books that is EXCELLENT and gives the source material an entirely new perspective. Anyone who likes Dracula, Jane Eyre, or just books about books-- and as you all know this defines a majority of those who use our services-- will love this book. You need more than 1 copy for sure. This will be read year round and can be added to your sure bet lists immediately.
I also think it is a great choice for all book discussion groups. Just the discussion of how she used the exiting tests and characters to enhance her story is discussable, but then the layer of how she is using this story to tell the story of forgotten women everywhere and anywhere is great discussion fodder as well. In fact all of her books are about giving women the agency the world denies them.
Review in the June 2022 issue of Library Journal
Three Words That Describe This Book: Unapologetically feminist, excellent world building, character driven.
1969, sunset, the Hollywood sign, a beautiful young woman, Lucy, is fighting to bury an urn containing Dracula’s ashes, her roommate, Bee by her side*. These women live in the shadows and yet, are known to all, cursed victims of the evil men whom history has rehabilitated into romantic heroes. Nearly a century later, Lucy recounts how their nights are spent: controlling Dracula, keeping the rot at bay**, resisting Rochester’s pull, battling PTSD, and going to the drive-in. Their routine while stressful was working, until Jane Eyre shows up, begging Bee for help, sending all on a road trip to Haight Ashbury as Lucy and Bee fight to save other women from their own terrible fate. This is a fast paced and fun adventure that both honors the beloved source material and manages to insert something unique into the conversation. An ode to forgotten women everywhere, a tale where every detail satisfyingly matters as readers rush to the emotional conclusion.
Verdict: Kiste’s Big 5 debut brings her award-winning, femist fueled Horror to more readers. Those eager for new Dracula or Jane Eyre framed stories will eagerly request this, but do not pigeon-hole the appeal here as fans of titles like Due’s Immortals series or DeMeester’s Such a Pretty Smile will also be pleased.
Every details matters here-- in a good way. Kiste builds a world for the reader that is very convincing and original and she does it methodically without sacrificing the extremely compelling pacing. The end has details that were included and referred to throughout, details that define the rules of the world she has created, details that end up being very important and make the ending better.
I make a point to call out the world building here because it was not an easy task. Not only is the entire book framed around Dracula and Jane Eyre-- well known Gothic novels-- but also all other fan fiction or adaptations ever written about these works and their characters. That is a lot to deal with, and yet, Kiste manages to honor all of that and create something new and unique. Impressive.
But the overall theme here-- this is an ode to forgotten women everywhere-- those living on the fringes and those who have been he victims of the violence of men. It is a tale as old as time-- men who take what they want and the women who have to pay the price, except in Kiste's novels-- the women fight back.
What is remarkable here, and with every Kiste tale, she can tell a deadly serious story about violence to women that is also a lot of fun. It is terrifying-- both the monsters and the real life horrors, but it is also a fun read. You root out loud of Lucy and Bee. Even though, Lucy herself, is a monster too.
Narration is all Lucy which I liked. It centered a tale that could have bounced around too much. I liked the addition of details about Lucy and Mina's friendship [Dracula] and Bertha and Jane's relationship [Jane Eyre] but I LOVED the cross over--how all of the main players from Dracula and Jane Eyre interacted with each other in 1969 and how they all have unique relationships and connections to each other in this time frame.
Speaking of, setting the entire story in both Hollywood and SF during the summer of love was brilliant. A lot of the unbelievable supernatural occurrences made more sense in both of those settings.
Readalikes: I have many. Any Dracula or Jane Eyre framed titles work. But I thought a lot about Tananarive Due's Immortals series mixed with The Merry Spinster by Lavery as well. I also always suggest Andy Davidson to fans of Kiste. They both write original, character centered Horror that pays homage to the genre's traditions while creating something wholly new and immersive.
Monday, August 22, 2022
Today I am debuting my presentation about why Library Trustees should not, and technically cannot, ban books.
I am hoping to give this presentation far and wide to as many library Trustees as possible, but first I need to test drive it.
Speaking of that test drive [at Noon Central today], you can find the details here and I believe the recording will be free to all at this link after the event as well. This is all part of Wisconsin's annual Trustee Training Week where they offer an hour long webinar for trustees every day [M-F] from Noon to 1pm. I have presented for this event previously as well.
Materials Challenges and Your Library from the Trustee Table
Monday, August 22
If you are interested in having me come to your board meeting to present this, let me know. To keep the price down, I may consider providing you with recordings for them to watch and then simply charge you $100 for me to come to a Board meeting the answer questions live. You can always find my contact info by clicking on my logo.
But first, I need to see how it goes and make any changes after the fact.
Thursday, August 18, 2022
It is last hurrah time at the RA for All homestead. We have both offspring home [can't say children because one is an adult and the other will be one in 6 months] and the final year of high school begins for the youngest on Monday. So, I am taking some time off the next two days and will be only answering emails, reading submission for the HWA's Dennis Etchison Young Writers Scholarship [we got 27, yay, but can only pick one, boo], and spending time as a family.
I'll be back Monday and it will be worth your wait as I am giving a brand new presentation to the Library Trustees of the state of WI where I make it very clear that not only should they not be banning books, but that legally, they really can't at all.
It was a difficult presentation to make, not because of the subject matter, but because I only get 50 mins to make my case to them and I know how important it is that I use my time wisely.
If you were looking for a new post today, good news, I have a #HorrorForLibraries giveaway of one of MY FAVORITE Horror novels of the year on the Horror Blog. This is for all of your readers who miss old school Stephen King, but this is set in the forests of Georgia. I gave it a star review in the current issue of Booklist already.
Click over there to enter. You enter once, you stay entered until you win.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
So far this Disability Pride Month, we talked about a book lover’s guide to Disability Pride Month, different things to keep in mind when reading disability literature, and various ways folks can be a good ally to disabled people on the internet. All of these things are important to keep in mind, but if you’re new to disability literature, you probably still have some questions.
If this is your first time observing Disability Pride Month, I understand that it can feel overwhelming. “Disabled” is really just an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of conditions, lived experiences, and communities. How do you know what terminology to use when? What is the difference between deaf and Deaf? What’s the difference between disability rights and disability justice?
While you might feel flooded with disability lit recommendations at the moment, here are a few books that I think will help you learn some key points about the disability community. While disabled people write in every genre, I’ve chosen mostly nonfiction books to give you a baseline from which to start. But rest assured, there are always more great books by disabled authors out there just waiting for you to read them.
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
|Click here to read the newsletter|
Today I am reposting the editorial intro and link to the latest issue of Corner Shelf, the place where readers' advisory meets collection development.
Click here to read it all, or see the link below Susan Maguire's intro.
Sometimes something happens somewhere on the internet, some ripple in the matrix, and a backlist book comes to the fore again. I'm talking about TikTok, and I'm talking about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
Sometime last year, BookTok discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid's juicy 2017 novel about a movie star legend who recounts her life story—framed by her seven husbands—to a young journalist. The book itself will not be news to most of you—library workers have been lauding TJR forever—but its sudden resurgence was a surprise. Why this book? Why that time?
The answer is . . . I don't know. There are plenty of books that are memorable, glamorous, heart-wrenching, and unputdownable. I've long ago resigned myself to the fact that I can't predict what's going to capture the internet's imagination at any given time. The good news is, libraries are in a good position to capitalize on BookTok discovering backlist titles, since we've already got them sitting on our shelves.
(In fact, I totally checked TSHoEH out of my local branch of the Chicago Public Library and read it this weekend.)
(The book is absolutely as addictive as BookTok says it is.)
(Not that you need me to tell you that.)
But maybe some of you are not content to sit back and let #content happen to you; you're making it happen yourselves. Have you (or your library) ventured into BookTok? If so, I'd love to hear from youfor an upcoming Notes from the Field!
Until then, I'll just sit back and watch for the internet's next literary zeitgeist (ahem, Colleen Hoover).
Senior Editor, Collection Development and Library Outreach, Booklist
Monday, August 15, 2022
And finally, here is LibraryReads' extremely helpful Resources page.
Now let's get to that list....