RA for your Friday

It’s almost too cold to type! Let’s have a quick chat about books and then shove our metaphorical or literal hands back into our pockets.

First things first! Save the date for Friday, March 4, when NCLS will be hosting a virtual book chat for library staff:

Talking about books and media is an integral part of Readers’ Advisory, but it’s not easy to find an opportunity to talk with our colleagues in other small libraries about what they’ve been reading, suggesting to patrons, and adding to their shelves – until now! Join your fellow North Country library staff for a virtual discussion about what’s flying off the shelves at your library, what you just finished and loved (or what you just finished that you know someone ELSE would love), what author or series you’ve just discovered, and more! Sign up today!

We’ve got February picks from Library Reads and IndieNext, and Entertainment Weekly has thrillers to keep you turning pages all winter long. Not scary enough? Check out these new and upcoming horror picks from Goodreads!

If you’re looking to brush up on your nonfiction RA skillz, NoveList is holding a crash course on Narrative Nonfiction! Hat tip to the RA for All blog for putting this one on my radar.

In awards news, the Edgar nominations have been announced!

For all my podcast listeners, Book Riot has a whole new batch of bookish content to share.

Finally, #FridayReads: I’ve been enjoying Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River over the last few weeks, and it’s been a wonderful, immersive, lyrical read, the kind I used to have as a much younger person, before I knew how stories went. But I’m a mood reader from way back, and right about now I’m in the mood for something with a bit of a faster pace and, frankly, a warm weather setting. So, I’ll be reading Lee Goldberg’s Gated Prey, the third in his Eve Ronin series. Happy reading!

Youth Services Roundup – All Summer Edition!


Just a reminder, the first part of our summer reading workshop will be held on Friday, February 4 from 11am-noon. During this virtual workshop, participants will get a chance to meet our new Youth Services Consultant and review the basics of what goes into a summer reading program. All attendees will receive promotional gear from CSLP, so sign up today!


If your library reported that they used the Collaborative Summer Library Program manual in 2021, you’ll be getting the flash drive and online code automatically in your delivery very soon. If you did not use the manual last summer but would like one this year, please let me know, and I’ll send one your way.

New for 2022: Schools and school libraries working with local public libraries to collaborate on Summer Reading can get the code to access the materials in the 2022 online manual, so please feel free to share with your school library partners.


The NYS Library is hosting a webinar about how to get started with READsquared, the online reading program solution provided at no cost to public libraries statewide. This introductory webinar will be offered by the state library on February 22 and March 3 and is open to any library getting started with READsquared or needing a refresher on navigating the control room before summer reading. No registration required – find more information about READsquared here.


Just a reminder, the deadline for NCLS’s StoryWalk mini-grant is next Friday, January 28. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Youth Services Roundup


From YSS: “Apply today for one of the scholarships to attend the 47th Annual YSS Spring Conference on Friday, April 8, 2022, at the Rivers Casino in Schenectady, NY.  There are two scholarships available. Each of the scholarships is designed to cover registration fees and up to $250 reimbursement.” For more information, and to apply, visit the YSS Spring Conference scholarship page.


In case you missed it live, the recording, slides, and handouts from the webinar DLD held in November are now available! Includes: Options for producing a StoryWalk® and their associated costs, finding StoryWalk® partners and thinking creatively about locations, how to choose the best titles for StoryWalks® (and why some great picture books aren’t good StoryWalk® choices), essentials of StoryWalk® production & presentation, and StoryWalks® for different age groups. (And just a reminder that the deadline for NCLS’s StoryWalk mini-grant is Friday, January 28…)


From the DEC: “Planting and caring for tree seedlings can help young people learn about ecosystems and the valuable role trees play. Schools and youth organizations are eligible to receive 30-50 free trees or shrubs by participating in this educational program.” Applications must be submitted by March 31st – apply today!


Goodreads shares 68 highly anticipated YA titles for 2022. Check it out!

RA for your Friday

Just when you thought we had reached the last of the Best lists, we started a new year and have a whole new crop of lists! Shall we?

As far as what looks good for 2022, we’ve got picks from Lit Hub Oprah, AV Club, Vulture, Shondaland, and Vogue. Mystery lover? We’ve also got picks from Goodreads, CrimeReads and PopSugar. Sci-fi fan? I didn’t forget you – and neither did Lit Hub or io9. And don’t forget debuts – Book Riot and Barnes and Noble surely did not!

We’ve got January picks from Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and Town and Country. For all you genre fans, we’ve got romance from SBTB (and Goodreads), and of course, crime reads from CrimeReads.

In case you missed it, NCLS has three new Book Club in a Bag titles to share: The Address Book, by Deirdre Mask, Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse, The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. Learn more about Book Club in a Bag in our Collection Development Guide.

And while you’re there, check out our newest Deep Dive pages for Mystery, Romance, Graphic Novels, and Sci-Fi! Exuberant hat tip to Kristy THE, who took on multiple pages for this project. (Retroactive – but no less exuberant – hat tips to Dorothy MEX and Linda (formerly) GOU for giving us the Literary and Horror pages, respectively.)

Finally, #FridayReads: I’m starting the new year with a book about a new start – A Season for Second Chances, by Jenny Bayliss. In my earbuds is (are?) Orwell’s Roses, by Rebecca Solnit, and PBS has got my weekend viewing sewn up with Around the World in 80 Days AND the second season of All Creatures Great and Small! Happy reading/listening/public televisioning!

Youth Services Roundup


Looking for an extra something to hand out to families with young children as we head into winter? I still have some Talking is Teaching Indoor Activities Kits from earlier this year to give away. Just email me with the subject line “Talk, Read, Sing!” and let me know how many you’d like. While supplies last!


From the ALSC blog: “On December 7, the United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a warning about youth mental health, stating that there has been an “alarming” rise in certain mental health challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic… Children and Teen librarians are among the front-line workers who have direct communication with this population. We can intentionally and consistently shape our programming, collections, outreach, collaborations and in fact every day to day interaction with the goal of promoting positive mental health…”


From Youth Services Shout-Out: “Feeling disheartened by program attendance? In a recent post on Programming Librarian, entitled Good Programs Start Small: Attendance Doesn’t Equal Success, Montour Falls Library, in rural Schuyler County, New York and Wright Memorial Public Library in Oakwood, Ohio share their experiences with programs that may not have seen a large number of attendees, but made a significant impact in their communities nonetheless…”


From Teen Librarian Toolbox: “Yes, this blog is called Teen Librarian Toolbox. Yes, we usually focus on middle grade and YA. BUT. Since I work in an elementary library, and since a lot of our readers serve patrons of all ages, I figured I’d include a list just for picture books this year…”

Youth Services Roundup


The latest bundle from Talking is Teaching is all about healthy habits! Check out posters, parent tip sheets, social media content, and more in this shared folder.


From Youth Services Shout-Out: “Free Comic Book Day isn’t until May 7, 2022 BUT here is an opportunity to register as a library to receive free comics for your event if you don’t have a local comic book shop. If you qualify, you can enroll in their FCBD Library Program. But you need to hurry. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022.”


From the ALSC Blog: “Our Children’s Services department always provides some type of make-and-take craft for these types of events. Part of me loves the process of creating several hundred craft stick stars for kids to decorate with sequins and pom poms but other than a fun craft, I do not think kids get much out of these types of programs. I think that creativity is an important skill children need and we, as children’s librarians, can help foster that creativity. This is why I regularly offer process art programming at my library…”


From Teen Librarian Toolbox: “BookTok has surged lately with many books and trends showing up in both public and school libraries. To find many of these, all you need is a TikTok account and appropriate hashtags to search for. Some of these include #BookTok, #LibraryTok, #LibraryTikTok, and #LibrariansofTikTok. We recently ventured into the land of Tok a few weeks ago at my library. It was reasonably easy to learn the basics, and now we are moving on to some “fancier” tricks and transitions…”

RA for your Friday

First things first! If there are any titles from 2021 that you’d like to see added to our ebook collection, today’s the day to let me know! There is very little being published next week, so I’ll be filling next week’s OverDrive carts by combing through some Best of 2021 lists to see what I missed the first time around – but I’d much rather hear from you. Please e-mail me by Monday (12/20) at noon with your requests, if you have any.

And speaking of Best of 2021 lists.

We’ve got a veritable Icelandic book flood of Best of 2021 lists – picks from BookPage, LibraryReads, Library Journal, Town & Country, Esquire, CrimeReads (best debuts), Tor (best SFF), Time, People, Vulture, Slate (best audio), and The New Yorker.

Looking ahead, the January LibraryReads and Indie Next picks are out, and Book Riot is here with their 2022 Read Harder Challenge.

We’ve got reading recommendations for fans of Succession and books to read while you’re waiting for the Station Eleven adaptation.

Entertainment Weekly has rounded up the best 2021 holiday romance novels, and NYPL has readalikes for 10 holiday movies. (I have yet to find a readalike for my favorite holiday movie about a cranky book editor whose literal inner child manifests to help her rediscover joy.)

Finally, #FridayReads: I picked up Danny Trejo’s memoir a few nights ago, expecting to read a few pages before bed and ended up reading all of Part 1. I love when that happens. Happy reading, and Happy New Year – see you back here in January!

Youth Services Roundup


New year, new books, new reading programs at your library! You can keep patrons engaged year-round using programs in READsquared. This is a great time to start new reading challenges for the year as well. If you need banner and badge graphics, or entire program sets, there are many you can import from your control room. Detailed instructions available in your knowledge base.


From the ALSC blog: “The ALSC Intellectual Freedom committee is keenly aware that it’s part of our mission to ‘promote in-service and continuing education programs in the area of intellectual freedom for those who select library materials for children.’ We are working at developing information that can be helpful to the ALSC community. In the meantime, here are resources that can be immediately helpful..”


From No Time for Flash Cards: “We have been working on scissor skills in my classroom and have progressed to cutting lines on curves. So as we were learning more about cookies and Christmas this week (remember I teach at a church preschool so we go all out for Christmas) I decided to combine all three things and make some cookies with my students, this time with glue and sequins instead of flour and butter…”


School Library Journal takes a look at middle grade and young adult titles coming in soon in 2022 – check them out!

RA for your Friday

It’s here! The Artist Formerly Known as the NPR Book Concierge is back on the scene with a new name – Books We Love. And what’s not to love! Mix and match the filters to explore recommendations from NPR staff and trusted critics. (Bonus – it includes recommendations going all the way back to 2013!)

Looking for even more end of year lists? We’ve got lists from the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, Time, AudioFile, and the post of all posts, the annual compilation post from Largehearted Boy. Looking to make a best of list of your own? Here’s the RA for All blog on why that’s an awesome idea:

“Library generated best lists reflect the opinions of actual staff and readers. What did staff most enjoy and what was popular? It is not just critical acclaim or sales data. Remember bestselling mainstays like Daniel Silva, Louise Penny, and Colson Whitehead were extremely popular in libraries well before they became household names. Library workers and patrons often know what is popular and good long before the rest of the world catches up…”

Publishing usually screeches to a halt this month, but there’s still a lot to check out. We’ve got lists from Amazon, PopSugar, and The Millions. For all you genre fans out there, we’ve got romance from SBTB, sci-fi from Tor and Den of Geek, and crime reads from, of course, CrimeReads.

Nonfiction November may be over, but I’m happy to announce that we’ve added a nonfiction resource page to our Collection Development Guide. Also, Lit Hub has New and Noteworthy Nonfiction You Should Read This December. Check it out!

Looking for a new true crime podcast this winter? I suspected as much.

Finally, #FridayReads: I’ve been crashing earlier in the evenings lately, not sure why (DARK DARK IT’S SO DARK), so I’ve been reading in the morning. And I’ve gotta tell you, it takes a compelling reason for me not to hit the snooze for half an hour before my real alarm goes off. (What? You don’t have a prep alarm and a real alarm?) The Matzah Ball, by Jean Meltzer, is just such a compelling reason. In my earbuds is The Secret History of Home Economics, and I’ll be diving right into Holiday Bakeoff later. Happy reading!

Youth Services Roundup


From the Youth Services Shout-Out blog: “With ever more sophisticated non-localized group efforts to remove and ban books, it’s always good to be prepared when requests to remove books come your way. Some recent blog posts and an additional few thoughts can help guide you and prepare you…”


From the ALSC blog: “Our department’s end goal was to reach more kids through partnerships with teachers. We visit 60 classes a month and reach 1100 students. Most of the visits are to preschool through 3rd grade classes. Upper elementary students are difficult to schedule time with. In order to get into the classrooms we needed to connect with the teachers. That is where the idea of a Teacher’s Brunch was born…”


From Teen Services Underground: “This is a program I did for ZERO DOLLARS using supplies we already had. It took very little prep, and went over really well…”


There’s a new storytime blog for your radar – Storytime Solidarity. Check it out!