I’ve been a fan of LibraryReads since it first appeared on the scene last September, so while the panel didn’t offer a lot of new information, it was a great reminder that all library staff can (and should!) participate in the nomination process.
Steering committee members Stephanie Anderson from Darien Library, Melissa DeWild from Kent District Library, Robin Nesbitt from Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Kaite Stover from Kansas City Public Library gave an overview of LibraryReads, which was inspired by the question “Where is the IndieNext for libraries?” The monthly LibraryReads lists feature some familiar authors and some new ones. LibraryReads is a volunteer-run, publisher-supported marketing and readers’ advisory tool for libraries and publishers, and should help increase libraries’ relevance with publishers by demonstrating librarians’ power to “hand-sell” titles to readers: “We can help launch great authors and their books.”
The LibraryReads list is also a helpful tool for librarians. “These are ten books you can pretend you’ve read,” or at least tell potential readers, truthfully, “My colleague loved it” – even if your “colleague” is a librarian across the country. LibraryReads lists can be used for collection development purposes, and lists and books can be used in displays, for book groups, and mentioned on social media.
Anyone who works in a public library is eligible to nominate books for the LibraryReads list; just register through Edelweiss. You can find advance copies of books through Edelweiss, NetGalley, publishers’ newsletters, blogs, social media, or other newsletters like Shelf Awareness or EarlyWord. You can vote for a book without writing a review if you’re pressed for time or not sure what to say, or you can write a quick blurb (final reviews on the list are only 450 words).
- Start strong and get to the point
- Sum up the action in 1-2 sentences
- Mention who might like the book
- What are the appeal elements?
- End strong
- Remember, “your audience is someone who is dying to read a book.”
There are more tips on the “For Library Staff” section of the LibraryReads site. This is a great initiative that all library staff can participate in. Right now the list is limited to adult fiction and nonfiction, but there is the potential to expand to include children’s books as well, and teen books that appeal to adults are welcome (E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars was the #1 book on the May list).
The Librarians Book Buzz (Part I) was a rapid-fire stream of titles and authors from eight different publishers. Here are a few of the titles that caught my interest, with links to Edelweiss:
- From HarperCollins: Lauren Oliver’s Rooms and David Nicholls’ Us; The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (authorized by the Agatha Christie estate); and memoirs from Amy Poehler and Alan Cumming
- From Perseus: Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It by Ian Leslie
- From Hachette: So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures by Maureen Corrigan; Reunion by Hannah Pittard (author of The Fates Will Find Their Way)
- From Sterling: Springsteen: Album by Album by Ryan White and Peter Ames Carlin
- From Macmillan: Landline by Rainbow Rowell; debut novel The Furies by Natalie Haynes; and, “for readers of Neil Gaiman and Audrey Niffenegger,” The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue (author of The Stolen Child)
- From Melville House: Steve Almond’s Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto; The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure by C.D. Rose; and Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World by Jon Gnarr
- From Consortium/Coffee House Press: A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Einar McBride (Elizabeth McCracken says it is “simply a brilliant book…I can’t recommend it highly enough.”)
These are, of course, just a few of the several titles mentioned; publishers’ websites and their catalogs in Edelweiss offer many many more. And this was only Part I of the Buzz…more to come!