I have one mindset for any and all reader’s advisory requests that come my way. My number one goal is to post and reply whenever possible #likealibrarian.
We are all strapped for time, our attention is full of escalating fake news worries, budget and staffing cuts, new AASL standards that come in a $199.00 320 page book, and TBR stacks that are eagerly awaiting/looming over our summers. I still like to take a minute or two or five to help out a librarian friend or two or five I may have never met in person but who need help finding new books for a student, a book group, or upcoming lesson/genre unit.
I like to check in with my library Facebook groups particularly in the summer when everyone is planning for the new school year. There are some really active threads that sometimes already have 50+ replies. I like to check to see if the book(s) I want to recommend or share are already on the list and if so (a Cmd+F search helps with this), I like it and chime in if I can add value. If my book recommendation isn’t there, then I like to write a booktalk if I have time and I always include the link to Goodreads.com so there’s some color on the list and it’s easier to notice.
I try to give book recommendations some context, a genre, a quick anecdote about the kind of reader who digs that book, an author quote, always looking for a quick HOOK. It’s good practice for shelf-talking with students. I don’t want to make work harder than they have to to understand WHY I’m posting what I’m posting.
Here is an example of what I’m talking about from this morning’s Future Ready Librarians group feed.
Looking for ideas/suggestions for next years high school book club. Here are my lists from the last two years.
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
The Storied Life of A J Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
Whistling Past the Graveyard – Susan Crandall
The Girl With All the Gifts – M R Carey
Dead End in Norvelt – Jack Gantos
Deadline – Chris Crutcher
My Mother the Cheerleader – Robert Sharenow
Greyhound – Steffan Piper
Carrie – Stephen King
Orphan Train – Christine Baker Cline
The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
The Ocean At The End of The Lane – Neil Gaiman
The Noticer – Andy Andrews
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
The book that immediately came to my mind as a winner for a HS book club was not there (I always enjoy that!), so I immediately wanted to get the word out on this title, Will Hill’s After the Fire, because this book was hands down my CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Shadowing Book Club’s most compelling read after The Hate U Give for 2018. And I wanted to tell the person asking for help in her selection for her high school books club why my students really enjoyed reading and discussing this title:
I love adding a book not already on the list of replies, and making it as engaging as possible so it stands out on the feed, ie making it colorful through links and writing a booktalk to go with it.
If we are using Facebook for our PLN work, our options are more limited than slick web sites like Book Riot. But I enjoy finding ways to add some more value and interest when I can keeping in mind my #likealibrarian goals. Our Facebook groups can be so earnest and intentional with book recommendations and lists, it’s good to balance that with some completely and wonderfully random, millenially-obscure booktalks from Book Riot maybe featuring “5 BOOKS ABOUT CHEESE” or “MY FAVORITE STORES FOR BOOKISH CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES”, lists that are carefully sprinkled into their list of lists I like to use for collection development and PLN sharing. Book Riot writers create their lists, which are promptly shared all over libraryland, using attention-grabbing criteria, colorful book covers, chirpy booktalks, author interview snippets, and great hooks. They are the EVIL. GENIUSES. of working social media #likealibrarian, and worth copying once in awhile.