Saturday, February 25, 2017

Week 7 Prompt

I Am Jazz, was published September 4, 2014. I dutifully read multiple reviews of the title including those from: Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist,  Library Media Connection, and Horn. All of these reviews agreed that this was an important and necessary book to add to juvenile collections. Our community is fairly conservative so, I also read reviews from goodreads, Common Sense Media, and parental reviews on Amazon so I could be aware of potential issues that might arise once this book landed on the new book shelf. I even went to Barnes and Nobel and read it myself before deciding to purchase it.

I referred to our collection policy to make sure that I could justify the purchase to patrons and management: 

     "It is the goal of the library to own or have ready access to a sufficient number of informational resources with sufficient scope, depth, relevance, and accuracy in a variety of useful formats for the purpose of providing information; education and instruction; cultural experience and growth; and meaningful recreation to the library's public...The library recognizes that many books, magazines and newspapers are controversial and that any given item may offend someone. Selections will not be made on the basis of any assumed approval or disapproval, but solely on the merit of the work as it relates to the library's purpose and as it serves the needs and interests of the community as a whole."

I thought I was prepared, educated, and justified. The book circulated several times without incident. 

One afternoon a regular patron brought his daughter to storytime. He usually reads all of the picture books before he decides to check them out and often gives me his opinion on titles he doesn't "approve of." There will be no pink princess books at his house. That day, he walked into my office, carrying I Am Jazz, and asked who was responsible for ordering the children's books. I told him that I was, and was reaching for the acquisitions policy, when he asked me where I got my suggestions from. I explained how many sources I use,  how carefully I read reviews, and that I try to curate a diverse collection with titles for everyone, as well as following current issues. He asked me where those came from and I told him professional literature.He then went on a rant about how medically impossible it is for children as young as Jazz to know that they are transgender. (He is a dentist.) He said that I was promoting a lie and should take the book out of the collection. I explained that this book is non-fiction and based on a real person, whose picture is on the back of the book.

He asked who else he could speak with, so I gave him the name, phone number, and email of the Director. Yes, he did write her. She and I discussed the title and my information supporting the selection, which remains in my collection.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Week 6 Prompt

Promoting Romance

I would like to propose a unique way to promote the romance genre in our adult collection, A Blind Date with a Book. We would wrap each title in heart paper and attach a scanable barcode . Using a Hello badge, we would "introduce" the potential reader to the material, using genre appeal terms to describe a bit about the title. 

When the patron returns the item, they would be asked to fill out an entry for a weekly drawing. The drawing prizes would either come from book donations or would be gift certificates to local businesses. Both of these would be funded by our Friends of the Library. We would have bookmarks available with Read-A-Likes and popular authors' series lists.

To promote integrated advisory, I would like to include audio books and DVDs as well as fiction and non-fiction titles. We would also have flyers showing how to access our OverDrive and Hoopla services. Many people in our community  commute to Chicago on the South Shore and have over an hour twice a day to devote to reading or listening. 

This display is located near the circulation desk. We have had so many children want to take out these wrapped books that we have decided to create a Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover promotion for Juvenile and YA for the month of April, to celebrate April Fools. I think we might use either the first sentence of the book or the last one. Maybe we won't give them any clues...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Romance Annotation

Author: Nora Roberts
Title: The Next Always 
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Number of Pages: 241 pgs.
Geographical Setting: Boonsboro, Maryland; nestled at the foot of South Mountain, between Hagerstown and Frederick
Time Period: Not specified; contemporary
Series: The Inn BoonsBoro (Book 1)
Plot Summary: “#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts introduces you to the Montgomery brothers Beckett, Ryder, and Owen as they bring an intimate bed-and-breakfast to life in their hometown.

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, the changing of hands, and even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major face-lift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett has little time for a social life. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Though busy, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look at both the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett is happy to give Clare a private tour. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something that could arouse the secret yearning that resides in Clare’s independent heart and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next.” (Penguin Random House, 2011)

General Subject Headings:

BISAC Subjects:

Library Subject Headings:
Architects; Fiction.
Widows; Fiction.
Single mothers; Fiction.
Bed and breakfast accommodations; Fiction.
Man-woman relationship; Fiction.
Boonsboro (MD); Fiction.
Love Stories.

Genre: Contemporary
Tone: Heartwarming; Strong sense of place
Writing Style: Descriptive; Richly detailed (EBSCO, 2011)

3 terms that best describe this book:
The PowerPoint from our readings this week lists these Romance Characteristics that are included in this novel:
·         A love story dominates the plot
·         A happy ending is assured
·         Writing allows the reader to experience the emotions vicariously
·         Characters grow and develop into their romance
·         Often get the view of both protagonists
·         Lovers are always together at the end of a real romance
 The 3 terms that best describe this book are: contemporary romance, heartwarming, and has a strong sense of place. “The Romance Writers of America defines a romance novel as a story with ‘a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.’…Readers…demand at least a ‘happily for now’ ending in a romance novel… In the end, each reader brings his or her own definition of what is romantic to each book he or she reads…As readers, we can forget our own lives briefly and revel in vicarious pleasure…If (the characters) …strike a chord within us so we identify with them, the book comes alive…” (Dunneback)

 Similar Authors and WorksThese books support the Rule of Three from our readings.
 Harmony Harbor - Mason, Debbie
Reason:  These series share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Small towns' and 'Men/women relations'.

Haven Point - Thayne, RaeAnne
Reason:  These series share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Small towns' and 'Men/women relations'.

Hellcat Canyon - Long, Julie Anne
Reason:  These series share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Small towns' and 'Men/women relations'.

Lucky Penny Ranch novels - Brown, Carolyn, 1948-
Reason:  These series share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Small towns', 'Men/women relations', and 'Small town life'.

Magnolia brides - Austin, Lynnette, 1949-
Reason:  These series share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Small towns', 'Men/women relations', and 'Small town life'.

Haven Point - Thayne, RaeAnne
Reason:  These series share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Small towns' and 'Men/women relations'.

 3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Boonsboro (Images of America) Paperback – August 6, 2012 by Tim Doyle  (Author), Doug Bast (Author), Foreword by Nora Roberts (Author) (978-0738592398)

Nora has lived in this area since 1972 and her two sons went to school in Boonsboro. The Boonsboro Inn trilogy feature a map of Boonsboro on the inside cover. Anyone who reads Nora’s books would enjoy learning about the author and the town she supports and loves.
Product Details
Mysteries & Lore of Western Maryland: Snallygasters, Dogmen, and other Mountain Tales (American Legends) Paperback – July 16, 2013 by Susan Fair (9781626190245)
Susan Fair is the chief docent and museum assistant at the Boonsboro Museum of History. She works in materials management at Carroll County Public Library. I think readers of this trilogy, which has a paranormal element, would enjoy reading about other mysteries and lore about this area.

 Product Details  

50 Hikes in Maryland by Countryman Press (9781581571738)
I have a feeling that after reading this trilogy, learning of Nora’s involvement in the area, as well as finding out that many of the places in the book actually exist and that they can go there to meet the author and visit the sites, readers will want to visit historic Boonsboro. The area is one of unique beauty and several of the hikes in this book are in this general location, including on the Appalachian Trail.
I searched for a travel guide for Western Maryland to include, but could not find a single one. The area is rich in Civil War history and is close to Antietam, Gettysburg, and Frederick.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
Amazing Gracie - Woods, Sherryl . For readers who enjoy Susan Elizabeth Phillips' quirky characters and the gentle feel of Debbie Macomber's love stories. -- Description by: Joyce Saricks. (I had to include this one!)
After the rain - White, Karen
Reason:  These books are Strong sense of place, Heartwarming, and Descriptive, and they share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Secrets', 'Men/women relations', and 'Small town life'.

Heartsong Cottage - March, Emily
Reason:  These books are Heartwarming, and they share: the genre 'Contemporary romances' and the subjects 'Secrets', 'Men/women relations', and 'Small town life'.

Additional Information:
One of the reasons why I really enjoyed this novel, is that I grew up less than 15 miles from where this story takes place. I have been gone for many years and this was a really enjoyable way to “go home again.” I thought you might enjoy getting to know Boonsboro too. Nora actually lives there.
Nora Roberts and her husband purchased this inn in 2007 and began renovations. The building is one of 2 remaining stone structures in the town of Boonsboro and it was built in the 1790’s. Each of the guestrooms is named for literary lovers – who found their happy endings. Each room reflects the style of the story’s era:
Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
Jane and Rochester from Jane Eyre
Marguerite and Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernel
Tatania and Oberon from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man
Robert’s own Eve and Roarke from her JD Robb in Death series
The inn was scheduled to open in June of 2008, but a devastating fire destroyed all but the original masonry. After being assured that the stone could be saved, the building began again with the addition of a third floor which would house the Penthouse Suite and the Westley and Buttercup Suite from The Princess Bride. Local tradesmen, artisans, and products were used as much as possible. The inn officially opened on February 17, 2009.
Nora’s husband, Bruce Wilder, owns the Turn the Page Bookstore and cafĂ©, where Nora signs books three nights a week and they host book signings seven times a year. Her son Dan, owns and operates Vesta Pizza.


   Bathtub from the Westley and Buttercup

Titania and Obern Suite at Inn BoonsBoro   Bedroom of the Titania and Oberon

     Sitting room of the Jane and Rochester

Photo of Vesta

Photo of Turn the Page Bookstore

Dunneback, K. T. (n.d.). Integrated Library Service: Everything Romance.
EBSCO. (2011). The next always. Retrieved from NoveList Plus:
Penguin Random House. (2011). The next always. Retrieved from Penguin Random House:
PowerPoint presentation from Files

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Kirkus Style Review for A Man Called Ove

  Image result for images for a man called ove 

When new neighbors move in across the street, Ove's story begins to unwind and weave its way into your heart.

Ove was a creature of habit who followed his daily routine faithfully. He didn't take kindly to anyone or anything who disrupted it. Ove spent his days enforcing the rules of his homeowner's association, confronting neighbors and visitors, leaving notes on poorly parked cars. Everyone has a "story" behind his life. What begins with the neighbors accidentally flattening his mailbox is the heartwarming, moving, and often hilarious tale of how a single act of kindness is like the ripples created by dropping a pebble in a puddle of water. You will laugh and cry as Ove teaches the pregnant mother to drive and her husband to back up a U-haul, comes to terms with a stray cat, and ultimately becomes the friend he never had.

Chances are, we all have an Ove in our lives. Reading his story will give you pause to think, reasons to laugh as well as shed a few tears, and you will learn how far a little kindness can go.

Week 5 Prompt

I am responsible for all of the collection development in my branch library. Our Selection Policy lists the selection criteria as follows:

     Materials are to be selected in accordance with one or more of the following criteria:
     1. Popular demand.
     2. Contemporary significance or permanent value.
     3. Scope and authority of the subject matter.
     4. Reputation and/or authority of the author, editor or illustrator.
     5. Literary merit.
     6. Relationship to the existing collection and to other materials on the subject.
     7. Price and availability.
     8. Format and arrangement.
     9. Scarcity of information in the subject area.
     10. Availability of material in the area.
     11. Attention of critics, reviewers and the media.

A moderate budget and a finite amount of shelf space, as well as "so many books and so little time" make professional reviews a huge part of my selection process. This is especially true for genres and subjects that I am not as well versed in. I value these reviews and find it useful to compare their positive and negative comments for an item. Sometimes, the negatives outweigh the positives for my needs and I am grateful that a reviewer has pointed out the drawbacks and saved me from purchasing an item that is not the best use of my budget and would not be meeting the needs of my community. Our library's collection would look very different if I based collection decisions on customer reviews. There would probably be a lot more romance and erotica and a lot less non-fiction. Developing a children's collection would be extremely difficult without professional reviews, even if you had the time and ability to physically examine each item in hand.

Romances are a tough one because of the lack of credible, professional reviews. The two reviews given for the contemporary romance novel (I couldn't find any reference to it being a romantic suspense) were so different. The Amazon review was short and sweet. The short synopsis and her reasons for liking the novel were positive enough that I would suggest it to patrons. I was curious why she only gave it four stars as it seemed to be such a satisfying read for her. The blog review, on the other hand...I assume that the "Blurb" was taken from the back of the book because the language and usage in the blog were so markedly different. The review is poorly written, is contradictory is a couple of places and is not reliable at all. I might have purchased this novel in 2014, but the reviews are not convincing enough for me to purchase it in 2017 because my past experience leads me to believe that there will be plenty of holiday romance novels to choose from for this year's holiday season.

After reading the supplied reviews for Angela's Ashes, I read additional ones by the Washington Post and the New York Times, which were very similar to Library Journal, BookList, and School Library Journal reviews. These reviews were very descriptive as to what a reader would encounter in this memoir, citing the reality of a desperate childhood balanced by the humor and the quality of the storytelling the reader would experience. I also checked Amazon customer reviews where this memoir received five 5-star reviews in the last 10 days. For all of these reasons and the fact that this title won the Pulitzer Prize would make it a winner and I would definitely add it to my collection if I didn't already have it.

As the sole selector across all forms and genres for my library, reviews weigh heavily in my decision making. I strongly wish that there were professional reviews available for all types of books. Their lack is definitely a consideration when selecting titles for my collection, especially if the title is about a "hot-button issue" or is written with a certain "slant." We often cite the lack of credible, professional reviews as a reason not to purchase an item or to defend an item on our shelves. Including negatives in reviews is especially important with non-fiction titles. As long as the negatives are presented about the content, layout, or physical aspect of the book, such as no pictures in a cookbook, I really value the negative content in professional reviews, particularly with non-fiction titles, across all age groups. I count on the reviewers pointing out negatives so that I can weigh those against the positives before adding the item to my collection. I also read reviews when choosing books for my personal reading. 

For collection purposes, I rely on Library Journal/School Library Journal, BookList, Kirkus, and Baker & Taylor's Forecast and Pre-Pub-Alerts. I also regularly use Smart Bitches; Stop, You're Killing Me; Shelf Awareness, Early Word; Book Browse; and ( EarlyWord and  Bookspot have a wealth of information all in one spot. If you aren't familiar with these sites, here the links: and

Friday, February 3, 2017

Secret Shopper Experience

This secret shopper experience took place at the main branch of a neighboring library system. I arrived around 7 pm and the main floor was very quiet. The lobby walls were filled with posters and flyers advertising both library and area happenings, but not a single one was about an author or collection of books. As I approached the reference desk, I noticed that there was someone working in the Reference office as well as the clerk seated at the desk. She was busy going through a catalog while using the computer. When I approached the desk, she looked up and asked if I needed help. I asked if she could help me find a good romance novel. I told her that I had been reading a lot of horror books lately and between that and the weather, I needed something light and happy. She looked so surprised and dumbfounded that I almost gave up my ruse. She asked me what authors I had read and liked. I told her that I hadn’t read a romance novel in a very long time. I added that I wanted something contemporary and that I didn’t want a “bodice ripper” paperback. 

At this point, she walked toward the reference books while saying she didn’t read romances and they were really more about non-fiction on this side of the library. She pulled out the Wilson Fiction Core Collection and looked up romance in the Title and Subject index. Just her luck, it said, “See Love Stories.” She found the beginning page, laid the book on the counter facing towards me, and asked if I recognized any of the authors or titles. 

By this time there were other patrons by the Reference desk. She told me that I was probably going to take longer, so she was going to help them and come back to me. After a minute or so, she returned, sat down at the computer, and said that she was going to look on Amazon. This search resulted in 1,225,000 titles which momentarily flustered her again. Suddenly, she had a moment of clarity, remembering a friend who “reads a lot of fiction” and started looking up The Time Traveler’s Wife on Amazon and then in their catalog. Without another word to me, she got up, gestured for me to follow her, walked clear across the library to the fiction shelves, found the book, opened it to the flap copy, and handed it to me. She then proceeded to walk away saying, “Let me know if that doesn’t work for you.”

Technically, she did succeed in finding me a “good book” to read. Honestly, she did not find me a book that I wanted to take home and stay up late reading. I was expecting to be asked a lot more questions about what kind of book I was looking for. I was also surprised that she did not utilize any number of online tools that would have prompted her to ask questions whose answers would have further refined the search and led to a more successful outcome.

I believe that the woman I encountered is a Reference Librarian from the “old school,” that she has been in that Reference department for a very long time, and that she is proficient in reference tasks. I really think I just threw her for a loop with my request and that she didn’t even think about conducting a regular reference interview with me. Even a search of the OPAC, which should have been her last resort, would have given her 11612 results. These could have then been refined by: format, book – 10038; collection, adults – 9039; by subject, love stories – 8401 and by publish date, 2000 to 2017 - 7239. There was also a list of 200 additional suggestions provided that could have prompted her to ask me more questions.