At the RUSA awards program in Seattle last month, I was approached by a gregarious and charming librarian. I immediately guessed she'd make a great interview prospect, and a quick Google search confirmed that thought. Susan Brown of the Lawrence (KS) Public Library is a library-marketing powerhouse, and she dispenses all kinds of good advice in this issue's "Notes From the Field" interview.
At that same program, I was jokingly taken to task by a library director acquaintance of mine who declared that he hates it when the new installments of "Weeding Tips" come out, because he has an overzealous employee who marches into his office with a cart brimming with discards based on my tips. I have a feeling I should gear up for more of these in-person encounters, but I stand firmly behind my weeding philosophies. Do know that I am neither cavalier nor callous in my weeding, but I've seen too many libraries deteriorate because no one is willing to weed. This issue's "Weeding Tips" covers the 900s, focusing mainly on travel and biography. And never forget, an essential part of weeding is replacing. We're offering links to recent Booklist spotlight features to help with that, "Top 10 Literary Travel Books: 2012" and "Top 10 Biographies: 2012." Finally, all you avid weeders out there should know that soon I'll be doing a series of weeding webinars. Stay tuned for more information!
This issue also features a look at Baker & Taylor's Customized Library Services program in "At the Corner of Baker & Taylor." And, as a nod to Valentine's Day, don't miss "Readers'-Advisory Corner: Kristin Ramsdell's Romance Fiction : A Guide to the Genre."
—Rebecca Vnuk, Editor, Reference and Collection Management, Booklist
Marketing and Readers'-Advisory Advice from
by Rebecca Vnuk
At the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle this year, I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Brown, marketing director for the Lawrence (KS) Public Library. She shares her viewpoints on marketing, readers' advisory, and social media with us in this interview.
Rebecca: Many libraries may not have a dedicated marketing person—can you give us a summary of what your job entails?
Susan: My job really encompasses communications, publicity, PR, and marketing: I coordinate our amazing social-media team; I manage all of our communications (calendar, newsletter, press releases, etc.); I manage our website, with help from our great web content team; I help with major library-wide programs such as summer reading and Read across Lawrence; I help launch new services and initiatives by developing PR campaigns; and I work with community organizations to develop partnerships.
Most of all, I work to position Lawrence Public Library as an essential destination that both serves and reflects our community.
Rebecca: How has your career changed over the last 10 years?
Susan: I'm going to go back a little further. More than 20 years ago, I took my first library job to make beer money as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech. After that, I worked in government documents, then in academic reference. When I finally bit the bullet and went to the University of North Carolina (UNC) and got that piece of paper with the letters M, L, and S on it, I was dead set on going into academic reference and instruction (and may have been just a tad snotty about it, looking down my nose at public libraries). All that changed when, as a result of there being no jobs for me in academia, I took a job working the reference/RA desk at Cameron Village Regional Library, part of the Wake County Public Library (WCPL) system in Raleigh, North Carolina. They absolutely converted me to the world of public libraries. I like to say that I got my library degree at UNC, but I got my library education at WCPL. Just over 10 years later, I'm still working in a public library, but I've gone from the ref desk to RA to programming to branch manager, then back to the ref desk, and then to my current position, marketing director at Lawrence (KS) Public Library (LPL).
by Donna Seaman
The top 10 biographies reviewed in Booklist from June 2011 through May 15, 2012 combine the arts of investigation, analysis, empathy, and storytelling to portray remarkable individuals, from an iconic monarch to a martyred activist, a technology wizard, and world-altering writers.
by Kaite Meditatore Stover
Librarians have waited a long time for the updated edition of one of their most popular and heavily used readers'-advisory tools, and they are now well rewarded for their patience. Noted romance expert Ramsdell delivers a comprehensive second edition to update the first, which appeared in 1999.
Those readers familiar with the Genreflecting Advisory series will recognize the very useful layout of chapters. Part 1 is the nuts and bolts of romance: a thorough definition and history of the genre, general and specific appeals, and guidance on working with readers and building a romance collection. Librarians will appreciate Ramsdell's treatment of collection-development policies, cataloging, and collection maintenance. The meat of the book is part 2, the literature review. All of the original subgenre chapters have been updated and revised. Look for expanded entries, including "Chick Lit" and "Urban Fantasy," and new chapters on "Linked Romances" and "Erotic Romance." Aside from the titles included for historical perspective, the majority of titles are more recent publications. Part 3, "Research Aids," addresses history and criticism in more depth and lists periodical and review sources, awards, societies, and organizations. This section is for more extensive research and will be helpful to the librarian doing collection development. Expected author/title/subject indexes are present, along with an appendix of a sample core collection.
At the Corner of Baker & Taylor: Amid Tight Library Budgets, CLS Provides Flexibility
Notes from the Field: Marketing and Readers'-Advisory Advice from Susan Brown
Weeding Tips Shelf by Shelf: 900s
Top 10 Biographies: 2012
Top 10 Literary Travel Books: 2012
Readers'-Advisory Corner: Kristin Ramsdell's Romance Fiction : A Guide to the Genre
Baker and Taylor Best-Sellers
Amid Tight Library Budgets, CLS Provides Flexibility
by Jeffrey McDaniel
When libraries select outside vendors to help them, there are a number of different traits they seek. They want a business partner they can trust, one who understands how they operate and what they need—and is able to get the job done as promised.
That picture perfectly describes Baker & Taylor's Customized Library Services (CLS) division. CLS offers a broad range of services tailored to a library's individual needs, from collection analysis, selection, and acquisition to cataloging, processing, and invoicing—whatever a library might require.
Libraries who have worked with CLS often remark that it functions as an extension of their own in-house staff. They have found that it makes sense to partner with a company to handle some of the burdensome tasks involved in running a library. That's because, in an era of tight budgets, they prefer to free their staff members so they can spend time working face-to-face with library patrons. That approach can dramatically improve a library's performance.
by Rebecca Vnuk
If you're not too traumatized from weeding your fiction collection, then it's time to move on to the 900s. The special call-out sections of the 900s are travel and biography. Other portions of the 900s should be weeded based on condition, currency, and usage.
Books on current affairs should be weeded after three to five years; some titles may be retained for historical perspective as space allows. Most of your general-history titles can be retained if they are in good shape and are circulating, but do watch for dated material—please tell me you don't have books that refer to the Soviet Union in the present tense. This is also especially true for your geography and map sources.
For travel guides, weed after two years. Replace annually if the budget allows. An outdated travel guide is fairly useless to a traveler. Sure, people can check online, but the reason they came to your library to get that book was so that they didn't have to print out everything from the web! I'll never forget the librarian who scoffed at me when I weeded Fodor's New York City, 2000—in 2004. "It's still useful, not that much changes in a big city like New York, all the tourist stuff is the same every year." I simply said, "Twin Towers," as I discarded the book.
by Brad Hooper
Of the outstanding literary travel books we have listed below, all of which were reviewed in Booklist from September 15, 2011, through September 1, 2012, many are definitely of the armchair variety. In other words, most readers will leave the actual Amazon exploration to others—but will love reading about someone else doing it.
Top-selling books at Baker & Taylor in November for teens, children, and adults.
Top Titles for Teens
- Prodigy, by Marie Lu
- Gates of Paradise, by Melissa De la Cruz
- Ali's Pretty Little Lies: Pretty Little Secrets, by Sara Shepard
- Shades of Earth, by Beth Revis
- The Kiss, by James Patterson and Jill Dembowski
- Through the Ever Night, by Veronica Rossi
- Just One Day, by Gayle Forman
- Crash, by Lisa McMann
- Rise, by Andrea Cremer
- Janie Face to Face, by Caroline B. Cooney
Top Titles for Children
- Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers, by Dav Pilkey
- Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer, by Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss-Glasser
- Bad Kitty School Daze, by Nick Bruel
- Chu's Day, by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex
- Mouse in Space!, by Geronimo Stilton and Tramontozzi, Morson Lidia
- Time-Out for Sophie, by Rosemary Wells
- Emeraldalicious, by Victoria Kann
- Hokey Pokey, by Jerry Spinelli
- Nightmare of the Iguana, by Ursula Vernon
- Fairy House, by Victoria Kann
Top Titles for Adults
- Private Berlin, by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan
- Until the End of Time, by Danielle Steel
- Suspect, by Robert Crais
- The Fifth Assassin, by Brad Meltzer
- Touch & Go, by Lisa Gardner
- The Husband List, by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly
- Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini
- The Third Bullet, by Stephen Hunter
- Footprints in the Sand, by Mary Jane Clark
- Blood Money, by James Grippando