Thanks to our dear friend Lauren Gibaldi for another great guest post.
The role of librarian has expanded from simply helping people find books. But still – a good majority of patrons visit the library for just that – books. While it’s impossible to know every single novel out there, I think it’s smart to know what’s popular, what’s up-and-coming, and what many people may be asking about. (Of course, this goes a bit beyond library school, and more so into the job category, but it’s never to early to start paying attention to literature, right?)
So which books should you get familiar with?
- Similarly, ones getting a ton of buzz
- New York Times best sellers
- Any Oprah pick (Okay, her book club is about to end, but brush up on her previous picks.)
- Ones being turned into films or TV shows
- Anything that will be released by a big name
- Celebrity books
How to learn about these titles
- Keep up with awards once they’re announced. (i.e. Pulitzer, Man-Booker…) There’s the Caldecott Medal for children’s books, and YALSA has a ton of awards for young adult books.
- Check out book columns from the New York Times, NY Magazine, New Yorker, and more. A good time to do this would be towards the end of the year, when everyone is creating a “best of” list. Also, keep up with prominent book blogs. (While Freedom by Jonathan Franzen was the BIG award-winner of last year, Room by Emma Donoghue was immensely popular.)
- While it doesn’t change dramatically each week, the list, which is featured on the newspaper’s website, is good to browse every now and then. (For fiction, a lot of books will overlap with the previous few categories. For non-fiction, any presidential memoir will be on the list easily).
- Oprah has her list of winners on her website. She’s the only person I’ve ever known to have Faulkner sell out in a bookstore.
- After True Blood came out, tons of people flocked for the Sookie Stackhouse series. If a show or movie is getting a ton of buzz, look to see if it has a literary counterpart.
- Keep up with publishing company blogs. They’re not shy about showcasing their new releases. Some even have specific library-related blogs.
- Did you know half of the cast of Jersey Shore has book deals? And they (for some reason) sell? Yeah, know about them.
I actually love keeping up with books, so for me, this is an fun task. By just monitoring a few blogs, it’s easy to know what’s hot within the publishing world. It really helps, especially when someone comes in asking for “that book that’s going to be a movie with the girl from Glee in it.”*
* I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore