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RA for your Friday

We need to talk about materials challenges.

I’ve been sending out updates and resources in both RA emails and Youth Services roundups for the last few months, but it bears repeating – the best way to be prepared for a materials challenge is to expect a materials challenge. That means making sure your policies are in good order and that your library has procedures in place for a response. It means staff training and trustee education.

If you’re new to this issue, the Materials Challenges page of the Collection Development and RA Guide is a great place to get started.

You may also want to sit it on ALA’s Freedom to Read roundtable next Thursday:

“Voices from every aspect of this ongoing and constantly evolving issue will weigh in, including a teacher, librarian, parent, legislator, author, and student, using the recent book bannings in Texas and the response from teachers, librarians, and the community at large as an example of a way forward in protecting the first amendment nationwide.” Sign up today!

Finally, check out the RA for All blog, which has been covering this issue in detail, from how to respond to materials challenges to avoiding soft censorship:

“You need to buy the books your community and your collection needs, and that means including these award winning titles that are being challenged. If you are asking the “who’s going to complain,” question, even if it is coming from a well meaning place, you need to know that this is a form of censorship as well.”

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Just wanted you to be the first to know what’s coming next to the NCLS Book Club in a Bag program:
The Liar’s Dictionary, by Eley Williams
Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, by Annalee Newitz
The Girl with the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré

These should be available by mid-March, and you can expect a half-sheet flyer next week.

The March Library Reads and Indie Next picks are out!

In awards news, the Audie finalists have been announced!

Just a reminder that wildly popular TV series often bring viewers back to the source material, and that you totally have enough time to order a copy of The Viscount Who Loved Me.

Finally, #FridayReads: I’ve been on a bit of an audiobook binge, alternating between Taste in my car and The Nineties on my phone at bedtime. So, oddly, kind of on a print hiatus right now. But always open to serendipity. And it’s a long weekend! Perhaps there’s a bookstore trip in my future… Happy reading/listening!

RA for your Friday

We did it. We made it past winter’s midpoint and are now careening toward incrementally lighter and less frigid days. At the very least, the chocolate will be on sale very soon. Let’s bring on some lists!

We’ve got February picks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bustle, Entertainment Weekly, Time, and The Millions.

For all you genre fans, we’ve got romance from SBTB and Goodreads, sci-fi and fantasy from Gizmodo and Lit Hub, and crime reads from, of course, CrimeReads.

Resource alert! The RA for All blog has resources for graphic novel readers:

“I have had this post in the queue and with the banning of MAUS and the long-standing [and WRONG] dismissal of Graphic Novels as “lesser” than text only books, I am moving this up to today. This post is here to highlight multiple Graphic Novel resources for your library to use right now for collections development, displays, and suggestions. With MAUS garnering attention, interest in graphic novels in general will be high…”

And if you haven’t already reviewed your collection development policy and book challenge procedures, please let this be the timely reminder that encourages you to do so. NCLS has nine copies of the 9th Edition of ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual in our system, and the 10th Edition has just been added, so please take advantage of these resources if you’re looking to take a deeper dive into what intellectual freedom is and how central it is to what libraries do.

And if you haven’t already signed up for our inaugural Friday Reads session on March 4, you only have 28 more days! February is short! Don’t miss yer window!

Finally, #FridayReads: I enjoy a winter storm as much as the next person who enjoys a winter storm, but sometimes I just want to think about going outside without layers. Ah, spring. Ah, rhubarb pie. Is it any wonder I went straight for a farmers market-themed cozy this week? Happy reading!

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!