RA for your Friday

The state fair is wrapping up, pumpkin spice is back in drinks, and I saw five bright red leaves on a tree. The Best Books of Fall lists are gently swirling and I am ready to rake them into a pile and dive in!

We’ve got fall picks from LitHub, Time, Kirkus, and Esquire, while The New York Public Library is taking us back to school with these readalikes for Netflix’s The Chair, and PopSugar is ushering in the spooky season with these 10 New Books About Witches. For me, though, fall means cozy, and there’s nothing cozier than amateur sleuths trying to crack cases – usually in a small town, and often with recipes. Yes! I’m talking about cozy mysteries, and if you’re looking for some series to add to your back pocket for RA suggestions (or to your collection), check out this list from Book Riot.

We’ve got September picks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, and The Millions. For all you genre fans, we’ve got romance (and more) from SBTB, sci fi and fantasy from io9 and Bookmarks, and of course, crime reads from CrimeReads.

Now that I’ve led off with best books of fall and September, it’s time for an important reminder from the RA for All blog that the ‘best’ books to read are the ones you (and by extension, patrons) want to read:

“…your goal should be to have every single book in your collections checked out at the same time. Obviously this is impossible, but that is what you should be striving for. This means not only are you working to match people with books, but also that your collection is responsive to what they actually want to read.”

In awards news, the Anthony winners have been announced, and Book Riot gives a rundown of romance awards.

Finally, #FridayReads: My Ruth Galloway journey continues with The Woman in Blue, and have finally started a book I own (!) Dial A for Aunties, by Jesse Q. Sutanto. Happy reading!

RA for your Wednesday*

First things first! There’s still time to sign up for Friday’s class – Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them. Ideal for anyone who buys for a library collection, does readers advisory, or both! See you there!

Moving right along to news that requires only slightly fewer exclamation marks – NPR has released the results of this year’s summer reader poll! If you’re looking to get up to speed on recent sci-fi and fantasy, this list of 50 titles (or series) from the last ten years is an outstanding place to start. (It would also make a great display. Just saying.)

We’ve got September picks from Library Reads and Indie Next, and Library Journal has released their Fall Preview.

Looking further down the road, October is Reading Group Month! If you have an existing book club at your library, or are looking to start one, check out our Book Club page on the Collection Development guide for information on book club in a bag, discussion questions, and more.

If you’re not already directing patrons to the Libby app for library e-books, this is the perfect time to start. OverDrive has announced that they’re phasing out the old school OverDrive app and will be removing it from app stores in February 2022. Fortunately, that’s more than enough time to spread the word to your e-book readers. (And speaking of spreading the word, you know that OverDrive has social media marketing content you can use, right?)

Finally, #FridayReads: I’ve just started the sixth Ruth Galloway book (this is officially my summer of Elly Griffiths), in my earbuds is The Icepick Surgeon by Sam Kean, and I can’t get enough of PBS Eons on YouTube. Who knew I was so interested in prehistoric sharks? (Answer: Anyone who knew me in the fifth grade.) Happy reading/listening/viewing!

*Eventually, I’ll get back to doing these on Fridays. Probably.

Youth Services Roundup


The date has been set for the Summer Reading Debrief, and it’s…two dates! The votes were split so evenly, and I didn’t want to miss anyone, so we’ll have it twice. Join us on either September 10 at 11am or September 16 at 9am for a discussion about what worked for your summer reading program, what didn’t, and what will help for next year.


From Teen Services Underground: “…why do take home kits have to involve crafts? The point is creating a program a patron can take home and do on their own, but crafts are only a part of what programming librarians do. That’s what inspired my series ‘Prompted’. This involved three sheets a month, a creative exercise, a list of writing prompts, and a list of art prompts.”


The latest ALSC booklists focus on graphic novels, but you can find more of their (printable!) reading suggestions to share with your patrons here. Check it out!


This throwback Jbrary post talks about the benefits of using puppets in storytime and provides tips on how to do it well. Oh, you don’t have any puppets at your library? No worries – NCLS has got you covered.

Small Space Makeover!

I had the opportunity – at long last! – to pop down to the Mannsville Free Library and check out their recent renovation. (How recent? Ask me again when I regain my sense of time having a meaning.)

There was so much to love, from the new floors and seating area to the brightened walls and artwork, but I want to focus on how the new shelving units allow for maximum face-outs while making the most of the small space.

Exhibit A: Picture books are the arguably the most visually interesting titles in our collections. These shelving units. complete with fancy pull-out drawer, let picture books shine and are ideal for their target audience to browse.

Library picture books displayed face out in a shelving unit with a pull-out drawer.

Exhibit B: In a small space, it’s not always easy to highlight parts of the general collection – there just isn’t enough separate shelving. Unless you have double-sided, moveable shelving for the purpose! My holistic RA heart took particular joy in seeing DVD adaptations included with these print classics.

Exhibit C: Endcaps, galore! Not only a great place to highlight titles from your collection, but also periodicals and publications from library partners. This one graces the side of a shelving unit dedicated to local interest.

A great visit to a library making the most of their space. Thanks to Jean for giving me a tour!

Youth Services Roundup


Doing summer reading during a pandemic and a renovation helped one librarian learn more about the collection, re-evaluate shelving and displays, and highlight books that fly under the radar. Check it out!


From Storytime Katie: “Because we’re outside, I am only using books, songs, and rhymes this summer. No flannelboards, puppets, or props since a) they aren’t big enough to see with the distance; b) they’re easily blown away (no, seriously, I had a whole flannelboard on an easel that fell at an outreach storytime years ago); and c) it’s a lot to manage…”


Penguin Random House has extended their Open License to December 30. (Hat tip to Youth Services Shout-Out for the heads up!) You can keep tabs on all the publishers guidelines at the Children’s Book Council.


From Jbrary: “We’ve all been there. You’re doing a storytime based on a theme and you’re drawing a blank on books. Depending on how long you’ve been in your role as a storytime presenter this problem can cause all levels of anxiety. Today I’m sharing my top five strategies for finding a storytime book based on a theme in hopes of empowering others in their search skills…”

RA for your Monday

First things first – the new book club in a bag titles are now available! You can print out this handy flyer of new titles for yer corkboard and find the complete list of all book club titles here.

How much do I love doing library visits again? (Answer: So much.) Had a delightful visit to Pulaski recently, where I encountered this display:

I love this for two reasons – one, it’s clever, but more importantly, it’s a great way to feature the all-important, but often unsung, backlist. New books might get more fanfare (totally guilty of this myself), but the backlist is the backbone of your collection. Show it some love!

Moving right along to our regularly scheduled programming, we’ve got August picks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Time, and Entertainment Weekly. For all you genre fans, we’ve got sci-fi and fantasy from Gizmodo, and crime reads from CrimeReads, and romance from SBTB and PopSugar.

In other romance news, NYPL has a post of What To Read If You Already Breezed Through All of Virgin River’s Season 3 and Bustle has 15 Books Like Bridgerton, For Those Who Can’t Get Enough Regency Romance.

The latest Booklist is putting a spotlight on book discussions and graphic novels, and the RA for All blog is putting a spotlight on Booklist’s spotlights:

“Please don’t forget that EVERY issue of Booklist has at least 1 “spotlight” and they repeat annually. This means each issue is an EXCELLENT and updated resource for the format, age level, of genres being featured. Every spotlight is never more than 12 months out of date!”

In awards news, the Booker Prize longlist has been announced.

Finally, #MondayReads: The indoor seating is back at my beloved Starbucks, home of the iced chai, and so I’m back to getting out of the house early enough to sit and read my book before work. Today it’s A Room Full of Bones, by Elly Griffiths. (A prize from the aforementioned backlist.) Happy reading!

RA for your Friday

So much news today! I’m very excited to release the flyer for our latest additions to the Book Club in a Bag program – coming to a canvas bag near you on August 1.

This is also the perfect time to introduce our brand new Collection Development and RA toolkit, which, in addition to serving as the new home of the Book Club in a Bag program, includes web resources to help you keep tabs on upcoming titles.

Speaking of which, I’m also pleased to announce an encore presentation of my Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them class on Friday, August 20 at 11am. Sign up today!

Moving right along to fun, mid-month stuffs, we’ve got August picks from IndieNext and LibraryReads.

June may be over, but audiobooks are forever! AudioFile is here with the latest Earphones Awards and Vogue has 7 Great Audiobooks for Long Drives.

Looking for a display idea? Why not some readalikes for Beach Read? When we bought ebooks on Tuesday, there were eight holds on our one expired copy (don’t worry, I bought it again, #zombies), and as of today, 4 out of 7 of the print copies in our system are checked out. Let’s make sure patrons looking for this book don’t leave empty-handed!

Finally, #FridayReads: I’ve just finished The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths, and have grabbed up the second Ruth Galloway book like a proper series reader. In my earbuds is The Wolf and The Woodsman, and on my Netflix is season 3 of Virgin River. It’s fair to say I am all about the stories right now. Happy reading/listening/viewing!

RA for your Friday

First things first – the NPR Summer Reader Poll is out! This year, they’re putting out a call for favorite sci-fi and fantasy books, with a twist:

“We’re doing things a little bit differently this year since we already know you guys love The Lord of the Rings. Instead of a grand survey of all of time and space, we’re zeroing in on titles from the past 10 years — that is, anything that has come out since the 2011 poll…”

I don’t read a ton of SFF, but what I have read in the last ten years I’ve LOVED, so I’m really looking forward to the results of this one.

My own personal summer may begin Memorial Day weekend, but this holiday weekend is where the rubber meets the road, summer reading-wise. To quote Becky Spratford from the RA for All blog:

“People are beginning their vacations in earnest starting this week. We need to be ready with suggestions.”

Here’s the latest batch of best of summer lists you can throw into your RA bag of tricks, or better yet, use to build your display – Elle, USA Today, Lit Hub, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Public Library, and GQ.

We’ve got July picks from Amazon, Bustle, Barnes & Noble, Oprah, Entertainment Weekly, and Time. For all you genre fans, we’ve got romance (and more) from SBTB, horror from Den of Geek, mysteries and thrillers from PopSugar, sci fi and fantasy from Gizmodo, and of course, crime reads from CrimeReads.

OverDrive’s latest Big Library Read kicked off on Monday, which means patrons have simultaneous use access to SF Kosa’s The Quiet Girl through July 12. You can find social media graphics and posts here – promote away!

Finally, #FridayReads: I’m on vacation all next week, so I’m ready to make a dent in my TBR. I’ve just started The Arctic Fury, and have Luck of the Titanic and I Was Told it Would Get Easier on my proverbial (and literal) nightstand. Happy reading!