I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Lee & Low's Quadrennial Update to Their Diversity in Publishing Report

Lee & Low have release their third Diversity in Publishing Baseline Report. Below I have reposted the introduction, but you should click here to read the entire thing. 

From the Diversity Baseline Survey landing page (different than the page with the current report):

Lee & Low Books released the first Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 1.0) in 2015. Before the DBS, people suspected publishing had a diversity problem, but without hard numbers, the extent of that problem was anyone’s guess. Our goal was to survey publishing houses and review journals regarding the racial, gender, sexual orientation, and ability makeup of their employees; establish concrete statistics about the diversity of the publishing workforce; and then build on this information by reissuing the survey every four years. Through these long-term efforts, we would be able to track what progress our industry shows over time in improving representation and inclusion.

The fact that this is the 3rd iteration has made the results and reporting even more useful and significant. 

And full disclosure: As a reviewer for a major journal, I was one of the people surveyed for this report.

Click here or see below to get started reading the results. 


We decide what stories get published, which creators get the extra sales or marketing push, and which books get reviewed.

The Diversity Baseline Survey was created to answer a question: Does the book industry have a diversity problem? A benchmark to measure the demographics of the publishing workforce was missing from the larger conversation about representation in books. First executed in 2015 and then in 2019, the Diversity Baseline Survey has become an industry standard, providing a way to track whether publishing’s inclusive hiring practices are working. See data from the previous studies—2019 and 2015—for comparison.

Employers are routinely vociferous about their commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) initiatives without implementing the transparent means to monitor results. We know institutional change takes time to bear fruit, which is why revisiting the survey every few years is so vital.


People from all backgrounds are demanding to see themselves in media. Thanks to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we know there are more diverse children’s and young adult books being published today. We also know the book industry’s power as a form of cultural expression and as a tastemaker. Television, film, and theater are influenced by publishing trends and successes. It has been heartening to see diverse casting reflected in the many book-to-screen adaptations—irrevocably altering who is seen and heard.

It’s imperative the publishing workforce continues to reflect the many lived experiences in North America. As gatekeepers, we decide what stories get published, which creators get the extra sales or marketing push, and which books get reviewed. Our industry greatly benefits from a diverse workforce to shape the voices and characters that will appeal to a wide audience.

While the 2023 Diversity Baseline Survey results still indicate a majority workforce of straight, nondisabled, White women, there are noticeable percentage changes across various categories. For example, when the DBS was first administered in 2015, 79% of the respondents identified as White. In 2023, 72.5% identified as White. This marked improvement shows that the publishing industry is becoming more inclusive, albeit incrementally so.


To say a lot has happened since 2019, when the last DBS results were released, is an understatement. In the US, the political climate feels increasingly polarized as we fight to preserve our democracy. As global citizens, we also bear witness to geopolitical instability and violence from all corners of the planet. These events, among many others, have shaped our worldview:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic killed over 7 million people and temporarily shut down the world.
  • People worldwide rose up to protest state-sanctioned violence and racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police.
  • The US Supreme Court issued judgments ending affirmative action and the federal right to abortion.

Within our industry, important conversations are changing the landscape:

Click here to continue reading the full report

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: ITW Thriller Awards Nominees 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.  

Click here to see the 2024 nominees 

Apparently, this is turning into an awards list week on the blog. But The International Thriller Writers just announced their nominees and this is a not to miss award as resource for all public libraries.


Precisely because the award is so broad in the titles it considers. From the ITW's about page:

ITW represents professional thriller authors from around the world. 

The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as “thrillers.” This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas.

ITW’s mission is “To bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through our Active members; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.”

I highly recommend the ITW as a resource because as you can see in the section I bolded, this writers association represents a huge swath of popular authors and genres.

As a result, their awards lists are very helpful to identify books and authors that are perfect for a general public library audience.  Here is the current crop of nominees in 7 categories.

There also have a nice archive page linking to past nominees and winners here.

Below I have included the full nominee list to help you see how immediately useful these awards are as a way to understand a wide swath of books that are popular with a wide range of readers across many genre preferences. Also, I love the e-original and paperback original categories to find a little bit more off the radar titles that are still "sure bets."

Here is the full list:


S.A. Cosby – ALL THE SINNERS BLEED (Flatiron Books)
Robert Dugoni – HER DEADLY GAME (Thomas & Mercer)
J.T. Ellison – IT’S ONE OF US (Harlequin – MIRA Books)
Mick Herron – THE SECRET HOURS (Soho Crime)
Joe Ide – FIXIT (Mulholland Books)
C.J. Tudor – THE DRIFT (Ballantine Books)


Narrated by Pete Simonelli
Gregg Hurwitz – THE LAST ORPHAN (Macmillan)
Narrated by Scott Brick
Freida McFadden – THE HOUSEMAID’S SECRET (Bookouture)
Narrated by Lauryn Allman
James Patterson, Mike Lupica – THE HOUSE OF WOLVES (Hachette Audio)
Narrated by Ellen Archer
Emma Rosenblum – BAD SUMMER PEOPLE (Macmillan)
Narrated by January LaVoy


Amy Chua – THE GOLDEN GATE (Minotaur)
Margot Douaihy – SCORCHED GRACE (Zando)
Steve Urszenyi – PERFECT SHOT: A THRILLER (Minotaur)


Tracy Clark – HIDE (Thomas & Mercer)
Tess Gerritsen – THE SPY COAST (Thomas & Mercer)
Lisa Gray – TO DIE FOR (Thomas & Mercer)
Jonathan Maberry – CAVE 13: A JOE LEDGER AND ROGUE TEAM INTERNATIONAL NOVEL (St. Martin’s Griffin)
J. Todd Scott – CALL THE DARK (Thomas & Mercer)


Chris Bohjalian – SLOT MACHINE FEVER DREAMS (Amazon Original Stories)
J.T. Ellison – THESE COLD STRANGERS (Amazon Original Stories)
Smita Harish Jain – AN HONORABLE CHOICE (Wildside Press)
Richard Santos – RUSH HOUR (Akashic Books)
Lisa Unger – UNKNOWN CALLER (Amazon Original Stories)
Stacy Woodson – ONE NIGHT IN 1965 (Down & Out Books)


Sorboni Banerjee, Dominique Richardson – RED AS BLOOD (Wolfpack Publishing LLC)
Darcy Coates – WHERE HE CAN’T FIND YOU (Sourcebooks Fire)
Courtney Gould – WHERE ECHOES DIE (Wednesday Books)
Andrea Hannah – WHERE DARKNESS BLOOMS (Wednesday Books)
Elizabeth Wein – STATELESS (Little, Brown & Co.)


Jeff Buick – THE VULTURE FUND (Self-published)
Rona Halsall – THE BIGAMIST (Bookouture)
Matt Phillips – A GOOD RUSH OF BLOOD (RunAmok Books)
Lisa Regan – CLOSE HER EYES (Bookouture)
Robert Swartwood – THE KILLING ROOM (Blackstone Publishing)
Laura Wolfe – THE IN-LAWS (Bookouture)

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Using Awards Lists As a RA Tool: First Annual Libby Book Awards

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.  

Well today I have an awards list with no backlist for you because it is the first annual of its award. But, it is an award that is 100% library patron focused. It is the Libby Book Awards. And you can even register to watch the live award event on Zoom on March 12th.

Details here but I also posted the full announcement from the Libby blog below as well.

This is very exciting as Libby is 100% library user focused. See the Cookbook category, a huge library circulation winner, and all the genre categories. (The only thing I am not a fan of is "Best Diverse Book.") We don't have another award this specific to our readers. This would be a great award list to display in every format that you own the titles in as a way to highlight these sure bet options and your prepaid (not free) ebook and downloadable audio options.  

See the full announcement here and below.

Click here for details


Announcing the finalists for the first annual Libby Book Awards, aka The Libbys

FEB 09, 2024

With awards season in full swing, the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys honor and celebrate the best movies, TV and music of the year. But here at Libby, we’re all about the books. So, for the first time ever, we’re excited to introduce "The Libbys: The inaugural Libby Book Awards" where we put books in the spotlight and roll out the red carpet for the best of 2023, nominated by our expert panel of librarians.

These books will then be voted on by librarians and library workers across North America and a winner will be chosen in each category. After all the votes have been tallied, the winners will be announced LIVE on March 12 at 7PM EST!

Want in on all the star-studded action? Register to watch the virtual Libby Book Awards ceremony presented by the hosts of our very own Professional Book Nerds via Zoom, or tune in on YouTubeor Facebook Live.

The envelope, please. Here are the nominees, honoring excellence in 17 categories. Click on the 🎧 for the audiobook version. 

Finalists for Best Adult Fiction

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton 
Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward πŸŽ§
The Fraud by Zadie Smith πŸŽ§
The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride πŸŽ§
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Adult Nonfiction

The Best Minds by Jonathan Rosen πŸŽ§
Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo πŸŽ§
Monsters by Claire Dederer πŸŽ§
The Wager by David Grann πŸŽ§
When Crack Was King by Donovan X. Ramsey πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Young Adult Fiction

The Blackwoods by Brandy Colbert πŸŽ§
The Davenports by Krystal Marquis πŸŽ§
Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross πŸŽ§
Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley πŸŽ§
What the River Knows by Isabel IbaΓ±ez πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Audiobook

All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
King: A Life by Jonathan Eig
Poverty, By America by Matthew Desmond
The Secret Hours by Mick Herron

Finalists for Best Diverse Author

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling πŸŽ§
Liquid Snakes by Stephen Kearse 
Lone Women by Victor LaValle πŸŽ§
The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz πŸŽ§
The Thick and the Lean by Chana Porter πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Comic/Graphic Novel

A Guest in the House by Emily Carroll 
One Bad Day: The Riddler (Batman) by Tom King & Mitch Gerads 
Roaming by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki 
Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed 
The Talk by Darrin Bell

Finalists for Best Memoir & Autobiography

Doppelganger by Naomi Klein πŸŽ§
How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair πŸŽ§
My Name is Barbra by Barbra Streisand πŸŽ§
Pageboy by Elliot Page πŸŽ§
You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Cookbook

Let’s Eat by Dan Pelosi 
Portico by Leah Koenig 
Start Here by Sohla El-Waylly 
Still We Rise by Erika Council 
Tenderheart by Hetty Lui McKinnon

Finalists for Best Mystery

Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor πŸŽ§
Happiness Falls by Angie Kim πŸŽ§
Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb πŸŽ§
The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman πŸŽ§
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Suanto πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Thriller

All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby πŸŽ§
Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll πŸŽ§
Pet by Catherine Chidgey 
The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi πŸŽ§
The Secret Hours by Mick Herron πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Romance

Ana MarΓ­a and the Fox by Liana De la Rosa πŸŽ§
Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon πŸŽ§
Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn πŸŽ§
A Nobleman's Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel by KJ Charles πŸŽ§
We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian

Finalists for Best Fantasy

A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon πŸŽ§
Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros πŸŽ§
Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo πŸŽ§
To Shape a Dragon’s Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose πŸŽ§
Witch King by Martha Wells πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Romantasy

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett πŸŽ§
Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong πŸŽ§
Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros πŸŽ§
Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall πŸŽ§
The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Science Fiction

Infinity Gate by M. R. Carey πŸŽ§
Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh πŸŽ§
System Collapse by Martha Wells πŸŽ§
The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei πŸŽ§
Translation State by Ann Leckie πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Historical Fiction

Beyond the Door of No Return by David Diop 
Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward πŸŽ§
Loot by Tania James πŸŽ§
North Woods by Daniel Mason πŸŽ§
The Great Reclamation by Rachel Heng πŸŽ§

Finalists for Best Book Club Pick

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano πŸŽ§
Maame by Jessica George πŸŽ§
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett πŸŽ§
Wellness by Nathan Hill πŸŽ§
Yellowface by R. F. Kuang πŸŽ§