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!

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!

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!

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!

RA for your Friday

First things first. I mentioned this in a recent youth services roundup, but it bears repeating here: There’s been a lot in the news lately about efforts to remove books from school libraries, so this is a good time to highlight one of librarianship’s core values: Intellectual Freedom. In a nutshell (and quoting directly from the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual, Ninth Edition, please enjoy), intellectual freedom is “the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.” It’s why we protect patron privacy and build diverse collections. It’s why we craft collection development policies that incorporate the ALA’s Freedom to Read statement.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Voting for the Goodreads Choice Awards has opened! The first round started Tuesday and will close November 28. Even if you aren’t on Goodreads yourself (although if you are, come find me!), this is a great tool for reader feedback.

The best of 2021 lists are rolling in quite freely now; today we’ve got picks from Amazon, BookPage, Esquire, Kirkus (fiction), and Oprah.

The December LibraryReads and Indie Next lists are out, and the National Book Awards have been announced!

For my podcast crew, here’s a new one for your radar: Adaptation Nation. Their tagline pretty much sums it up (as the best taglines do): “We read it. We watch it. We talk about it.”

No RA Friday would be complete without wise words from Becky Spratford, so I’d like to share this reminder from a recent post on the RA for All blog:

“We want to be the conduit for conversations around leisure reading in our communities. The number of books we actually match with readers is NOT important. Rather, what is most important is cultivating relationships around books and reading at the library.”

I’ve said it before and I will say if forever – in many of our communities, the library is the only game in town for readers. Let’s cultivate those relationships!

Finally, #FridayReads: This weekend I am going all in on Elly Griffiths, with The Stone Circle as my current read and The Zig Zag Girl on deck. (Thanks to Elaine MAS for the suggestion!) In my earbuds is Nick Offerman’s latest and I am prepped and primed for the Bakeoff semi-final. Happy reading/listening/viewing!

RA for your Monday

It’s Nonfiction November, and NCLS is celebrating on our Instagram account! Follow along with other accounts using the hashtag #nonfictionbookparty or check out What’s Nonfiction for a weekly tour. Lit Hub also takes a look at noteworthy nonfiction out this month.

In other November news, we’ve got picks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GMA, Entertainment Weekly, The Millions, and NPR. For all you genre fans, we’ve got romance from SBTB, horror and fantasy from Tor, novels from CrimeReads, and sci fi from Gizmodo.

We are officially at the place where the best of the year lists start coming out, and there’s no better place to start than with the Publishers Weekly Best of 2021, broken out by genre and with over 10 years’ worth of previous lists to scope out.

In awards news, the Kirkus Prize winners have been announced, and the Carnegie shortlists are out!

Looking for pop culture tie-ins? Check out these reading recommendations for fans of Squid Game and Dune.

Finally, #MondayReads: I have been reading the way I’ve been prepping for the holidays, which is to say, with abandon. Right now, I’m tag-teaming Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead and Once There Were Wolves, because those are the two that absolutely have to go back next week. In the hierarchy of reads, non-renewable library books first. (And yes, I just googled ‘Hierarchy of Reads’ to prove that anything clever I can think of already exists on the internet. Confirmed.) Happy reading!

RA for your Friday

The abnormally mild fall has tricked me into thinking we’re not right smack up against November, when in fact, we are! (I almost put on a hat this morning!) And now that the weather has well and truly turned, it’s time to embrace outerwear and look forward to November happenings…

…such as OverDrive’s next Big Library Read! Five Total Strangers, by Natalie D. Richards, will be available November 1 through November 15 as a simultaneous use eBook and eAudiobook – no lines, no waiting! Make sure your patrons know about this program with the help of OverDrive’s free marketing materials, including social media graphics.

The November LibraryReads list is out, as is the IndieNext preview. And for all you nonfiction fans, the What’s Nonfiction blog is coordinating Nonfiction November, highlighting favorite nonfiction reads of the year, Instagram prompts, and giveaways. Check it out!

Looking further down the road, I’m happy to announce three new titles being added to our Book Club in a Bag program – Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse, The Address Book, by Dierdre Mask, and The Cold Millions, by Jess Walter. These titles will be available in January. I’ll be adding three new titles every quarter from here on out, so if you have suggestions, please send them my way!

Finally, #FridayReads: I’ve been gathering up books like acorns lately, so there’s been a bit of multi-tasking going on. Right now I’m tag-teaming Agatha of Little Neon and The Cure for What Ales You. In my earbuds is A Little Devil in America, and I’m looking forward to the latest episode of bakeoff when I get home. Happy reading/listening/vicarious baking!

RA for your Monday

In a small library, you may be the only person buying titles for your collection. But how to keep up with genres or formats you don’t know well? And what about when a patron asks for a recommendation? Don’t worry – North Country librarians are pooling our expertise on a variety of genres and formats to help you build your collection and provide excellent RA service. Check out our new deep dives into genre on our Collection Development Guide! Many thanks to Dorothy MEX and Linda Formerly-GOU for kicking us off with Literary Fiction and Horror, respectively. Mystery and sci-fi coming soon…

Moving right along to our regularly scheduled content!

We’ve got October picks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, What’s Nonfiction, and The Millions. For all you genre fans, we’ve got romance from SBTB, sci-fi, fantasy and horror from io9, and crime reads from CrimeReads.

In other October news, it’s Reading Group Month! In order to ensure that your patrons know about our Book Club in a Bag program, we’re sending out fancy new bookmarks. So, keep an eye out for those.

Fall picks continue with this list from Lit Hub, Booklist is putting a spotlight on romance, and NoveList is offering another crash course – this time on True Crime!

Finally, #FridayReads: I’m not outdoorsy (frankly, nobody could be more indoorsy), but that seems to be making reading about wildlife in Mary Roach’s latest book even more interesting. I’ll be on vacation next week, so hopefully I can make a dent in the rest of the stack on my metaphorical and literal nightstand. Happy reading!

Youth Services Roundup


DLD will be providing one free CSLP summer reading poster to each NYS library next year, but we’ll all be getting the same design. Youth Services consultants have been asked to cast a vote representing what their their systems would prefer, so please let me know by next Wednesday (9/29) what you guys would like to see as The One Poster. Vote here!


Every Child a Reader is currently accepting proposal submissions from schools interested in hosting an event with Jason Reynolds, the 7th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature! Get more details here, and then call your favorite school librarian to plan a truly awesome potential joint program. Deadline for submissions is December 1.


From the ALSC blog: “Whether outdoor or virtual, any songs or rhymes that involve breathing or stretching encourage kids to slow down and be present. A new one I started using at my outdoor storytime is “A Big Sea Star.” I found this on Jbrary (credits listed in the YouTube notes). The movements have kids stretching out their arms and legs to make the sea star, soothing themselves by rubbing their arms as a little cuddle clam, and taking a deep breath in and blowing it out to make the puffer fish…”


Booklist has some good webinars coming up that focus on children’s literature, including middle grade trends and a winter book preview. Check it out!

RA for your Friday

I want to kick today off by expanding a little on a reminder that was sent out earlier this week (hat tip to CRO!) and encourage everyone to order upcoming titles as early as possible to try to have them on the shelves on their pub dates. Book Riot has an article explaining what’s behind the delays, and Teen Librarian Toolbox advises libraries to keep all staff informed about this issue:

“One thing I would recommend is that if you are finding that your books purchased before publication date aren’t coming in by publication date due to this issue, let all staff know about the supply chain issues affecting publishing…. A quick message to let all library staff know about how supply chain issues are impacting the book publishing business may just help a coworker answer the complaints of a patron who doesn’t understand why you don’t have the book they want on the shelf in a timely manner.”

So, if your staff don’t already receive my RA emails, please let them know about this issue so that they have the information they need to field patron questions. And then have them sign up for my emails. We have fun here.

Moving right along to our regularly scheduled fall content!

The RA for All blog is here with tips on how to prepare for the busy fall release season. (Spoiler: Know yer backlist. Love yer backlist.)

We’ve got fall lists from Oprah and CrimeReads as well as October lists from LibraryReads and IndieNext.

Speaking of October, for those of you planning spooky, creepy, or otherwise eerie displays, check out these reading lists about witches, vampires, and haunted houses.

In awards news, we’ve got the National Book Award longlists and the Booker shortlist.

Looking for readalikes? Bustle has 20 Books to Read if You Love Sally Rooney and Paste has Five Mystery Novels if You Love Only Murders in the Building.

Finally, #FridayReads: I’ve gone off the rails with placing holds these days, so my nightstand is a bit wobbly with all the reads that have come in. That being said, I can guarantee I’ll start The Dark Angel, by Elly Griffiths, because a series run cannot be denied. In my earbuds is Be My Ghost, by Carol J. Perry, and this may be the weekend I break down and do the free Hulu trial for the aforementioned Murders. Happy reading/listening/viewing!