CLICK HERE for quick access to the materials for the 2016-17 Speculative Fiction Genre Study.
The website now features UNRESTRICTED access, including notes from our meetings; however, in order to attend the meetings in person, you must be a member of ARRT. Click here for information about how you can join.


I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Resource Alert-- Electric Literature [With a Bonus Reminder that Horror is for Everyone]

Recently I stumbled upon this amazing list via Electric Literature:

Click there to read the stories

As you can imagine, I was super excited to see these horror stories by “literary” authors, especially Nguyen who wrote the best book I read last year.

As you all know, I make it a huge professional goal to remind library workers not to be judgey about genre and genre readers. No one genre is better than the others, and for the snooty out there who only like “literary fiction,” I have yet to have found a genre that has not been tackled by a “literary" writer. [I dare you to stump me.]

Case in point for horror is in the article above-- Nguyen won the Pulitzer and just got a Genius Grant. But this is an argument for another day-- or, as it happens every day right now over on the horror blog.

Today, I am glad I came upon this link for more than just the awesome horror stories, it is the resource I had no idea existed that I must spend an entire post telling you about-- Electric Literature.

From their about page:
Our Mission 
Electric Literature’s mission is to expand the influence of literature in popular culture by fostering lively and innovative literary conversations and making exceptional writing accessible to new audiencesThrough our website, social media, events, and other special programming and projects, we reach an international audience with free, online content, while paying every single one of our contributing writers.

Electric Literature’s mission is 100% in line with what we do as we serve leisure readers at the public library. They help break down the barriers of introducing a diverse stable of authors, voices, perspectives, and genres to readers by offering the most recent content for free.

A quick perusal of the offerings on the site shows that they do NOT shy away from dealing with difficult topics, and that they address them through literature is even more useful to us as we work with readers. Take the recent piece entitled, “An Oral History of a Lynching,” for example.

I also love how the “Recommending Reading” pieces, like Nguyen’s excellent story mentioned above, "Black-Eyed Women” are each recommend by another writer, in this case, Akhil Sharma. This means that each story introduces readers [and library workers] to two authors they might not have known about otherwise.

In other words, library workers, you can use this resource to learn about more diverse authors and even read a sample of their work. Authors who are not necessarily published by the big 5, authors who might not be getting lots of attention, authors that are 100% worth you consideration for being added to your collections and promoted to patrons. Oh, and did I mention Electric Literature allows you to follow for free meaning they will send you all of this content. That’s right, it takes no money and no effort. 

So enough from all of you who don’t think you have time to dig deeper for titles in order to add more diverse titles to your collection. Here is a way to have suggestions delivered to you for free. And, to those of you who still try to tell me that your patrons don’t want “more diverse titles,” now you have examples of the writing of these “ diverse” authors. Why not stop deciding for your patrons? Why not let them decide for themselves? I think you will be surprised. Good writing is good writing. The author doesn’t have to be familiar for that to be true.

At the very least, add Electric Literature to your stable of resources that you use to identify topical, accessible, and just plain good writing to turn around and suggest to your patrons.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NoveList Training Survey Results and the Importance of Training for All

I have spent 7 of the last 9 days traveling and training library staff, in person, from IN to IL to PA, as well as all of you following along from home. I know first hand how much continuing education is needed. I spent that time both training others and training myself by attending sessions.

This blog is meant to be a training resource for you, but quite honestly, it is also for myself. I post things here so I remember to return to them as much as I want you to learn from them. I believe in the power of training others, and I practice what I preach by continuously seeking out training opportunities for myself.

As libraries make decisions on how to spend their money and their staff’s time, I know training often gets left behind for what appears to be more pressing needs. However, I would argue that nothing is more important than keeping your staff up to date and energized. Without the staff being able to grow and learn, your service to patrons will ultimately pay a steep price- maybe not right away, but down the road, definitely.

So, a big thanks to my colleagues at NoveList first, for conducting a large scale survey of libraries on their training practices and second, for sharing the results with me so I can get them out to more people.

You can see the results on the NoveList blog here or immediately below.  Please note, there is still time to add your library’s voice to the discussion. See the end of the post for more info.

Use this post to see how your library fits into the overall picture of how staff are [or are not] trained at libraries across the country. I hope you are receiving some training in your workplace [more than just reading my blog]. If you are not getting the training you need, share the link to these results with your supervisors. Start a meaningful discussion at your place of work about the importance of staff development. You have hard data to plead your case now. And it doesn’t matter where you fall on the hierarchy of staff, every staff member should be advocating for training for themselves and their employees.

It doesn’t always cost money either. There are free options and many library systems offer grant for your to bring trainers in, but your employers need to make sure that time is allocated for you to learn how to serve your patrons better.

Thanks again to NoveList and ALA for undertaking this important survey to help all of us.

Training at your library: we asked, you answered

First off, thank you to all the library staff who answered our survey about training in your libraries and to ALA’s Learning Round Table for partnering with us. And thank you to all the people and organizations who shared the survey, to help us get the 642 responses that we’re sharing with you now. 
We surveyed public libraries (mostly, although the responses came from other types of libraries too) to get a better sense of training needs and priorities. We asked questions about who gets trained, who does training, how often, and which topics. 
From what we hear from the libraries we work with and what we see in this survey, training is important to your library. However, this survey also bears out the concerns we hear from libraries. Staffing concerns mean it can be hard to find the time to make sure everyone who needs training is able to get it.

Let’s get down to the results

Who answered the survey?

Mostly public libraries responded to the survey (88.6%) and responses varied for library size, from the 13% of you who work in libraries that serve fewer than five thousand people to the 20% of you who serve populations between 100 thousand and 500 thousand people.

It was also mostly supervisors/managers (24.9%) and directors (21.9%) that answered the survey, which gives us confidence that it reflects institutional feelings about training at a library, rather than individual feelings. That should make it easier for you to draw conclusions about the results. 

How often is training required?

The most common response to “How often are staff at your library expected to attend training?” was “Every 2-3 months” (25%). The next most common answer (18%) was “Once a year.” If we compare smaller libraries (serving populations under twenty-five thousand) to very large libraries (populations of half a million or more), we can see that larger libraries have more guidelines in place regarding training. Other was also offered as a choice for “How often,” with interesting results, including that some libraries left the training requirements up to the library staff member and their supervisor, and other libraries had training requirements that varied by position. Struggles with staffing and budgets were reflected in these “other” answers, with libraries expressing a desire for more training but either a lack of funds to pay for training or a lack of staff to allow time off.
Not surprisingly, the most common choice to the question, “Which staff currently attend training at your library” was “All of the above” (55%). For those respondents who didn’t select “all of the above,” training seemed to be concentrated in managers/supervisors and directors (each around 45%) and public service staff, ranging from 38% to 41%. Note: respondents could select more than one option, so percentages will add to greater than 100%. 

How much do libraries pay for training?

The amount libraries pay per person for training seemed to be consistent across library size, with 40% saying they spend less than $250 per person, with percentages going down steadily from there. 27% of respondents were not sure how much their library paid for training per staff member, so these numbers are likely less accurate than others from the survey.
Who are the trainers?

Most of the respondents said their library did not have a dedicated trainer or staff development coordinator at their library. The 18% of libraries with one or more full-time trainers were from libraries that serve larger population. For example, 38% of libraries serving 100 thousand to 500 thousand people and 32% of libraries serving over 500 thousand people have full-time trainers.
A couple interesting notes to come out of the question about in-house training: at least one library focuses training on new staff with current staff only receiving training when policies and procedures change. Another library pointed out that they have staff members train on their expertise, from example youth services coordinators train on youth topics and human resources coordinates safety training, onboarding, and other system-wide concerns. 
Libraries do bring in outside trainers, though again this varies by library size. Larger libraries are more likely to already bring in outside trainers or to plan to in the next year while smaller libraries do not. Outside trainers were often brought in for staff development days or for statewide or district/consortia level training. Few libraries seem to coordinate training with other local public libraries.

How does the training happen?

Webinars were the most popular form of training, with 42% of respondents saying it was the number one most popular form of training. 33% chose in-person workshops as the number one choice. These results were consistent across library size.

What training topics are popular?

The top five most popular topics for training were: customer service, technology, programming, product training, and readers’ advisory. The least popular options were cataloging; maker training, and collection development. 

These topics roughly correspond to priorities for training for next year, with the top five priorities being: customer service, technology, marketing/outreach, programming, and product training. The bottom three priorities were cataloging, maker training, and collection development. 

Does this reflect your experience?

These survey results provide a snapshot of training, but we’d still like to know more! Do these survey results reflect your library’s experience? What do you see is the difference between customer service training and readers’ advisory, maker, or product training? Do you think your library’s training priorities reflect your patron needs or library strategic plan? Would you like more training and how would you like it?
Need tips on training your staff on NoveList? Sign up for Train with NoveList and get training tips, access to training materials, and more.

Monday, October 16, 2017

RA for All Roadshow Hits PaLA For a Full Day of Conference Training

Click here for conference details
Today I am in Pittsburgh at PaLa. They invited me to present three sessions for the attendees.  Today’s schedule is below with links to slides and handouts.

All links are also loaded on to the conference website for attendees to access.

I am so excited to bring what is essentially my most popular full day in-service schedule to a conference. While it is wonderful to inspire an entire library staff to serve patrons better by reconnecting with the books they already love, it is quite another to be able to inject that energy into dozens of libraries by proxy.

I came into to town early on Sunday to take part in some of the conference events and sessions. I enjoyed meeting librarians from all over the state and learning about their communities and services. I also had many people come up to me wanting to talk about what they are reading or to even share some of their favorite RA interactions. It’s been great.

If you have a state library conference coming up, let me know. I would love to help you inspire your library workers. Contacting me is very easy.

Here’s what we are doing today with links. All sessions are in Salon 4.

9-10:15 am- RA for All [Signature Program]
10:30-11:45am- Booktalking: Harnessing the Power of Sharing Books with Readers
Click here for slide access

2-3:15 pm- RA Rethink: Merchandising
Click here for slide access

Friday, October 13, 2017

ILA Conference: Day 3-- My presentations

I am getting this post up a day late because, 1, the Library Reads list came out yesterday and I wanted to promote that, and 2, I presented 2x on Day 3 of the conference and I wasn’t able to take notes while those program were happening. After 3 days of conferencing, I didn’t have the energy to come home and create the posts from scratch. 

So this is the report on Day 3 of the conference, and yes, I know we are one day after the conference has ended.  

I am going to quickly mention my first program which while not RA Service related is something I want to encourage all library people to do--We Should Run: Library Workers in Public Office:
Library workers from all areas of service are uniquely positioned as advocates in our communities. Having more library workers in public office leads to stronger boards, stronger libraries, and stronger communities on local, state, and federal levels. Not to mention that it's good for our own professional development! But where to begin? We will share our personal experiences from the day we decided to step out from behind the desk and jump into the political fray, to our current positions at the big table. We’re here to encourage you to step up, advocate, and lead too.
Kathleen WillisState RepresentativeIllinois District 77 
Jill BambenekAccess Services LibrarianDominican University 
Corinn SparksMessenger Public Library of North Aurora 
Becky SpratfordLa Grange Public Library 
Meghan GoldensteinMikva Challenge / Run For Something 
Heather BoothThomas Ford Memorial Library
The slides with resources and link can be viewed here.

We all talked about our personal experiences being librarians AND elected officials, following the questions you see in the slides. I would highly suggest that any of you who are interested in hearing more about running for ANY office or sitting on any kind of board [be it government or civic or etc...] contact Representative Willis [the only member of the IL Legislature with an MLS] or Ms. Goldenstein.

I don’t have notes on all of our answers, but I did pull this out of my speaking notes. It is part of my response to the final question which was, “What would you say to a librarian who is looking to run for any office?”:
We are in a profession that is all about organizing knowledge, presenting a balanced view, helping others seek knowledge and clarity-- How can you NOT run for something right now. Our measured and respected voice of reason is needed to cut through the politics and crap.
I am more than happy to talk to IL people about library boards in our state and introduce you to someone in your community who can help you get started. Outside of IL my advice may mean less since all local governments are different, but general advice, about the process, running for election, and being in charge of millions of dollars of tax payer money-- that I can talk to you about. Click here for details on how to contact me.

But now, what you have all been waiting for, the second program I was a part of yesterday, the one that allowed me to have a fabulous lunch with Sonali Dev beforehand [and by the way, she is just as an amazing a person as she is a writer]:

Let’s lay out the facts: more than 80% of librarians are white women. Does your collection reflect your community or does it look more like you? Join the Adult Reading Round Table (ARRT) as we present a panel of librarians, publishers, and authors who will grapple with this touchy subject. Our panel will share straight talk, real world experiences, and practical strategies that build off of the We Need Diverse Books initiative for children, this time with a focus on serving teens and adults. Come ready to engage in this lively and vital conversation. 
Becky SpratfordReader’s Advisory SpecialistRA for All 
Heather BoothThomas Ford Memorial Library 
Annabelle MortensenSkokie Public Library 
Sonali DevBest Selling Romance Author 
Todd StockeVice President and Editorial DirectorSourcebooks
Heather and I were listed but we were merely the ARRT representatives, organizers, and in my case, I moderators. 

Ms. Dev went first and talked frankly about being a “diverse” author, how she is irked that it is a topic she is constantly called upon to address, but also understanding that she has an obligation to speak up about it. Ms. Dev shared much of her personal story, but she used this recent article in the New York Times as the framework for her talk: In Love With Romance Novels, But Not Their Lack of Diversity.

Ms. Dev is quoted in this article and she did tell us some of the same stories you can see there-- with more detail. Please click through, these are points you don’t want to miss

As for the quick mention, in that article, of the fact that she had 50 rejections for her first book, Ms. Dev elaborated for us that while that is very common for first time, never published authors, she is pretty sure others were not told in their rejection letters that their books contained "some of the most beautiful writing we have ever read," but unfortunately, no one will read a story of two Indians falling in love. 

She also talked about tokenism and how having 1 author of color in your stable as a publisher is not enough. She actually got her first novel published because of tokenism when an Indian romance author retired from Kensington and she took her place. But that does not make it right. 

She also talked about how the word multicultural is awful. For example, she said her books used to be categorized as “multicultural” but as far as she could see they were singular-cultutral as they were only about Indians.

She also gets frustrated with the fact that there can only be 1 narrative for each group. She used the example of three upcoming books by Indian women to show how different an “Indian” story can be. The titles she mentioned were, Love Hate and Other Filters by Samira AhmedMy Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari, and her own upcoming book A Distant Heart. Please click on the titles for more information about these books.

Finally, as an immigrant with American born children, she also talked about how hard it was for her, as a mother, to find titles for her children to read, titles they could see themselves reflected in. The American titles were not perfect, but clearly neither were the Indian titles.

Then Todd Stocke, spoke on behalf of Sourcebooks to give the publishers perspective. He talked about how demographics are changing and that today’s kids are 51% POC, but that those making the decisions about what gets published are overwhelmingly white. There is a slide in the presentation which he used to show this very clearly. He talked about how Sourcebooks always fished outside of the small pond where the Big 5 found books [hint: it is mostly from white agents], but as they grew and became one of the big publishers they had to stay committed to seeking those diverse voices out.

He highlighted some of their titles, but he also talked about The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, a book they lost the bidding war to publish. He was glad to see all of the accolades and attention this fantastic book is getting, but, he also was concerned. He is surprised he is not seeing an onslaught of “copy cat” titles being pitched to him like he did after Hunger Games was huge and every other title crossing his desk was dystopian. This is usually par for the course in publishing. Why not now? Are white agents not comfortable finding more of these voices to promote? He doesn’t know why they aren’t getting to him yet, but he is concerned enough that he is trying to find some for himself because publishing those different voices is how Sourcebooks is making their money and they don’t plan to stop anytime soon. 

He reminded the audience multiple times that librarians are gatekeepers. Publishers know we get books in people’s hands. They want to make money, so if we advocate loudly that we want more diverse titles, publishers will listen. We have to stand up and be heard. It is up to all sides of the publishing equation to make this overdue and necessary change.

Finally, Annabelle Mortensen gave us an update on the work Skokie is doing to be consciously inclusive. Her slides are included here, and the slides also have a link to the first part of this discussion hosted by ARRT back in June, You can also see my notes from Day 2 when Kathy and Ally presented in more detail on some of the Skokie initiatives to be consciously diverse.

When Annabelle first presented, they had a plan, but now she has some initial results. For example, they looked at their increase in trying to suggest more diverse books through their BookMatch program- which was over 70% books by white women before they started-- and saw it only went up 6%. But, as she said, this is just the beginning. There is a learning curve for the staff, but more importantly, the publishers need to give them books that can fill the unique requests of patrons. With BookMatch, patrons want a specific type of book, and sometimes, no matter how hard the staff look, those books don’t exist.

She gave an example [which I cannot remember the specifics of now but it was clearly a “diverse” book request] and when she looked through her library’s collection, there were no books to fit that request. When she looked through traditional reference sources, also nothing. But when she looked on Goodreads, there were tons-- all self published or micro presses. That is where the readers go to talk about the books they love. Goodreads doesn’t care how they got the books, they care about the conversation about the books. 

So, she put in a plug again for library workers to look outside of the traditional publishers for books to add to their collections because readers want these books. People are writing them. Readers are loving them. Go out and find them. She referred to Robin Bradford’s ALA talk [linked in the slides] where she calls for this too.

That’s the gist of what we discussed. I did have feedback immediately that the next voice we should hear from is the distributors-- the ones who get the books from the publishers to the libraries. So as ARRT, and all of you, continue this conversation we will be looking to that side of the story next.

I attended a third program, but I am going to hold off on a report on that one because I am working with the presenter to give the topic an entire post at a later date.  [Ooh, teasers.]

On a final note, thanks to all my readers not from IL hanging in there with me this past week. I have heard from many of my IL colleagues that my notes have been extremely helpful, but I really think those of you reading from other places can learn from these posts too. I made the choice to blog, rather than live Tweet because I could add links and a lot more detail to these three days of notes and reports. 

I am confident that there is much there for everyone and anyone who works with leisure readers.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Library Reads: November 2017

I am still at the ILA Conference and will have Day 3’s report up later tonight [or maybe tomorrow], but I wanted to take a moment to remind you that it is Library Reads Announcement Day. And, as you can see below, I have been trying to get us all to do better for the last few months.

AND, I am happy to report, that this month’s list seems to show that you have been listening to me. I am so glad. I also secretly hope that you loved City of Brass so much because I alerted you to it back in June at ALA. 

We cannot rest on our laurels. We are better, but not perfect. [For example, I love Lee Child too, but does he really need the extra push?] So here we go again......


This is your monthly Library Reads announcement.

I usually just cut and paste the same intro each month, but for the next few months I am amending it with this long introduction. I want to address the fact that Library Reads has been called out for their lists being too "white." While this is a fair criticism, blaming Library Reads is not fair because Library Reads and their Steering Committee are only the ones running the website, coordinating the eArc process, and counting the votes, the voters who pick the books are ALL OF YOU!!!! [Seriously, Steering Committee members votes do not come into play. I looked into it.]

So that means all of you-- all of us-- are falling down on the job of nominating more diverse titles-- both in terms of the ethnicity and race of the author and the genres represented. So I think the problem requires action in a two pronged strategy.

First, we need more of you to participate, especially those of you who read more diversely and widely. Basically Library Reads needs new blood. Library reads is SUPER EASY to participate in, yet despite that, as I travel the country meeting all of you, many of you do not participate and surprisingly, a lot of you don't even now how to begin. So, we are going to fix that. Here's the recording of a LibraryReads webinar on how to participate.

But one fallacy about Library Reads is that you have to write a full annotation in order for your vote to be counted. That is not true. You just need to read [or honestly skim] the eARC and then rate the book and submit your vote to Library Reads. But the webinar will explain it all.

I know many of you have not gotten involved because you thought that it was too difficult. I am here to tell you it is not. So let's get some new people submitting votes. It only takes a few new people to make a big difference. I am calling on you, my readers [and there are close to a thousand of you a day] to step up and make your voices heard.

[On a side note, while Library Reads will not release how many votes it takes for a book to make the list, a publishing rep [not a big 5] told me confidentially that she has gone back and crunched the numbers that she has seen for her titles and she estimates that about 40-45 votes gets you on the list. But to be number one, she has no idea because one of her books hasn't ever been number one.]

Second, stop voting for the obvious books. I know you like the big name authors. We all do, but seriously people, voting for big name, huge bestselling authors over and over again is helping no one. Looking at the list below for August 2017, WHY is Louise Penny taking a spot from a less well known author. Look don't get me wrong. I LOVE Louise Penny [proof here]. For goodness sake, if you go on NoveList and see the author appeal statement for her-- I WROTE THAT. So I am not dissing her. I adore her novels. But seriously is there a library worker in America who hasn't hear of Louise Penny AND who doesn't have this author on automatic hold already? NO!

We are Library Reads. We need to do better. Library Reads needs to be more proactive in helping library workers identify the great books we wouldn't know about without this resource. Don't squander the opportunity to read a great under the radar title- early and for free- and to then pass it on to others. Read Louise Penny early for yourself, but spend your time voting for the titles that will not find an audience without your expert help.

If we keep voting for the mainstream titles, the publishers will keep spending money signing similar authors, but if we use our power to vote for more diverse and less mainstream works that we know our patrons would love, titles that no one would know about without us raising our voice to be heard, we can make great change. We can force the publishers to sign more diverse authors and we can get some great reads into more library collections, and we can have a backlist archive of great titles for all readers.

I am not going to tell you what to vote for though. I want you-- all of you-- to decide for yourselves. Me telling you would be as bad as the publishers forcing titles on us [which they already do]. The more voices we can gather who each independently choose the books that they are passionate about, the better the list will be. It will be more diverse by default when more of us use this two pronged approach that I have outlined today.

Remember, Library Reads is not a nebulous group of librarians lording over us-- it is you, me, your co-workers. It is up to us to do the right thing here because goodness knows, the publishers aren't going to do it unless we force them to.

Let's work together to make Library Reads more diverse and reflective of the full range of great books that are coming down the pike, then when we go to use these lists as a backlist tool we have an ever better resource at our fingertips.

[Now back to your regular Library Reads message.]

Library Reads day means 3 things here on RA for All.

  1. I post the list and tag it “Library Reads” so that you can easily pull up every single list with one click.
  2. I can remind you that even though the newest list is always fun to see, it is the older lists where you can find AWESOME, sure bet suggestions for patrons that will be on your shelf to actually hand to them right now. The best thing about Library Reads is the compound interest it is earning. We now have hundreds and hundreds of titles worth suggesting right at our fingertips.
  3. You have no excuse not to hand sell any Library Reads titles because there is a book talk right there in the list in the form of the annotation one of your colleagues wrote for you. All you have to say to your patron is, “such and such library worker in blank state thought this was a great read,” and then you read what he or she said.

So get out there and suggest a good read to someone today. I don’t care what list or resource you use to find the suggestion, just start suggesting books. 

November 2017 LibraryReads

Artemis: A Novel

by Andy Weir

Published:11/14/2017 by Crown
ISBN: 9780553448122
“Weir’s second book does not disappoint! The setting is Artemis, a city on the moon where a young woman named Jazz is a smuggler and a courier trying to eke out a living. Adventure unfolds as Jazz is asked to do a different sort of job by her millionaire employer. He asks her to sabotage the mining operation that provides the city’s entire oxygen requirements. She works out a plan, but several calamities befall and all is not what it seems. Jazz must risk her life to save the city that is her home. A fast paced adventure from start to nail-biting finish!”
Cynde Suite, Bartow County Library, Cartersville, GA

The City of Brass: A Novel

by S. A. Chakraborty

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper Voyager
ISBN: 9780062678102
“A wonderful fantasy debut set in an 18th century Cairo and featuring a young woman, Nahri, who has no relatives and who lives by her wits as a con artist. Her odd supernatural healing talents and ability to understand and speak languages come in handy as she struggles to survive day by day while trying to save up money for medical training. Unfortunately, during one job, she accidentally calls up inimical ifrits and a wily, handsome djinn that turn her life upside down. Action packed, with interesting folklore and an evocative setting.”
Ann-Marie Anderson, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, OR

The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel

by Elizabeth Berg

Published: 11/21/2017 by Random House
ISBN: 9781400069903
“Arthur meets Maddy when he’s visiting his dead wife in the cemetery; he eats lunch there every day. Maddy is a high school senior who’s got a hopeless crush on a jerk. Warm-hearted Arthur reaches out to Maddy in a totally open way, as Maddy’s parents seem uninvolved at best. The Story of Arthur Truluv is one of those rare coming-of-age novels that is just as much about the end of life as it is about growing up.”
Michelle Beckes, Tulsa City County Library, Tulsa, OK 

The Library at the Edge of the World:
A Novel

by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper Perennial
ISBN: 9780062663726
“Much like a cup of tea and a cozy afghan, The Library at The Edge of the World is the perfect book to hunker down with. Prepare to be transported to coastal Ireland with Hannah Casey as she moves back to her hometown after a wrenching divorce and becomes the local librarian. Hannah’s daily challenges include dealing with an abrasive mother, an infuriating building contractor, and noise in the library. A series of events leads Hannah to help rally the community to come together, changing the town, the library, and Hannah. Hayes-McCoy does a fine job capturing the characters and the setting. I look forward to reading more in this series.”
Elizabeth Angelastro, Manilus Library, Manilus, NY

Someone to Wed

by Mary Balogh

Published: 11/7/2017 by Berkley/Jove
ISBN: 9780399586064
Someone to Wed is the third in Balogh’s Regency era Wescott series. Wren has lived her life hiding from society due to a prominent birthmark. Alexander inherits a title and a pile of debts. Wren and Alexander decide to embark on a marriage of convenience as a way to resolve their issues. This is a charming story of two people falling in love and finding their happily ever after, while resolving emotional issues along the way.  A well written story with glimpses of characters from previous books in the series.”
Shayera Tangri, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel

by Lee Child

Published: 11/7/2017 by Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780399593482
“Jack Reacher is an honorably discharged U.S. Army major who has a strong sense of justice.  After the end of a romance, Reacher’s response is to get on a bus and ride it to wherever it is going.  At a rest stop along the way, he spots a small West Point class ring in the window of a pawnshop.  His gut tells him the soldier who worked hard to achieve it wouldn’t give it up easily. In search of answers, he discovers a drug ring, a disfigured woman, and a couple of murders in a desolate area of Wyoming.  Like the other installments in the Reacher series, this is another page turner!”  
Valerie Osborne, Bangor Public Library, Bangor, ME

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel

by Louise Erdrich

Published: 11/14/2017 by Harper
ISBN: 9780062694058
Future Home of the Living God explores the possibility of evolution reversing and is told from the perspective of a pregnant woman who is writing a journal to her unborn child. Along the way we meet her adoptive parents, her birth mother, and she reports on society unraveling and detaining pregnant women. Erdrich provides compelling characters and a strong storyline about a near future in this piece of innovative dystopian fiction.”
Ian Stade, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, MN 

Heather, the Totality

by Matthew Weiner
Published: 11/7/2017 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 9780316435314

“Mark and Karen start a seemingly charmed life that becomes even more so with the birth of their gifted daughter Heather.Things take an alarming turn when renovations begin in their building. They have always known how special their daughter is, but will Heather see that there is danger lurking outside the world they have created for her when others become captivated by her gifts? Weiner has an insight into human nature that most of us would rather not admit exists and he takes you down a dark road that you don’t want to travel, but somehow can’t turn back.”  
Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, Lake, MS 

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

by Caroline Fraser

Published: 11/21/2017 by Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9781627792769
“This book, written by the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House books, is a thoroughly researched biography of not only Laura Ingalls Wilder, but of her daughter, Rose. Using unpublished manuscripts, letters, financial records, and more, Fraser gives fresh insight into the life of a woman beloved to many. Intensively researched, this is definitely a fascinating read, and one that I plan on reading again — maybe the next time I re-read the Little House series.”
Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO 

The Shadow District: A Thriller

by Arnaldur Indridason

Published: 11/7/2017 by Minotaur Books
ISBN: 9781250124029
“Indridason introduces a new crime series featuring a retired detective. The Shadow District skillfully weaves two mysteries together. In present time, an elderly man’s death, first thought to be due to natural causes, is later revealed as a murder. While unofficially investigating, Konrad discovers a link to a cold case involving the strangulation of a young woman and a surprising connection to Konrad’s own childhood. With nicely tense pacing and a vivid portrayal of life in modern and wartime Iceland, fans of atmospheric investigations will undoubtedly welcome Indridason’s latest offering.”
Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY