Welcome to Check Your Shelf! This is your guide to help librarians like you up your game when it comes to doing your job (& rocking it).
“Check Your Shelf” is sponsored by The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee.
By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby.
I’m going to preemptively apologize because this newsletter is full of stories about people doing and saying bad things. Hopefully we’ll have a more uplifting newsletter next week.
Libraries & Librarians
- (TW) An armed white man attempted to disrupt Drag Queen Story Hour at a Houston Library, and was detained by police for violating a no-trespassing order from the library.
- (TW) In December 2018, an inmate held a prison librarian hostage in Arizona, and video footage of the incident has been released. Please be warned that the video is intense.
- Drag Queen Story Hours at the Lansdale (PA) Public Library and the Lafayette (LA) Public Library spark protest. In other news, the federal lawsuit against Drag Queen Story Hour has been dismissed.
- Resources for addressing hate speech for librarians.
- Markham Intermediate School in Staten Island removed the manga series Assassination Classroom after a parent complained that the series contained references to school violence.
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel was removed without review in a New Jersey high school library.
- Another day, another conflict surrounding library eBooks.
- Budget cuts have long-term effects on libraries. (In other news, water is wet.)
- How Midwestern libraries coped with the polar vortex.
- An extremely rare bird from Asia has made a temporary home outside the UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, drawing birdwatchers from across the nation to Los Angeles.
- The most extreme libraries in the world.
ALA Midwinter Controversy
- (TW for racism) Librarian April Hathcock was verbally accosted by a fellow ALA councilor during a Council Forum meeting. She writes about the experience on her blog, including the lack of a response from other council members, and the request from a member of ALA’s legal council the next day to not publicly post anything about the incident.
- ALA’s Executive Board issued a statement about the incident.
- Several professional organizations, including REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking), the Black Caucus of ALA, and the Association of College and Research Libraries have issued statements in support of April.
- Inside Higher Ed wrote a post about ALA’s history of racism.
- Becky Spratford at RA for All posted a call to action for equity, diversity, and inclusion after reading about April’s experience.
Book Adaptations in the News
- CBS has ordered a drama pilot for Frankenstein, where Frankenstein is actually a homicide detective brought back to life. (Seriously.)
- Hulu releases a trailer for the six-episode comedy series based on Lindy West’s memoir Shrill.
- CBS picked up a TV adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand.
- Javier Bardem joins the cast of Dune.
- Netflix released a teaser trailer for The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, and ordered an adaptation of Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter.
- No surprises here – there’s an adaptation in the works for On the Come Up.
- 4 shudder-inducing teaser trailers for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
- Check out the trailer for The Sun is Also a Star.
Books & Authors in the News
- The New Yorker published an EXTREMELY unsettling piece about Daniel Mallory, aka A.J. Finn (author of The Woman in the Window), who seems to be a real-life Tom Ripley.
- In light of this piece, the Washington Post asks if we can know this information and still enjoy The Woman in the Window.
- (TW: xenophobia) Barbara Ehrenreich posts (then deletes and non-apologizes for) a xenophobic tweet about Marie Kondo.
- (TW: sexual harassment) Vulture writes about the ongoing Jay Asher defamation suit.
- Okay, happier book news! Reese Witherspoon picks The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory as her next book club pick.
- JD Salinger’s unseen material will be published over the course of the next 10 years ago, according to his family.
- In new book news, Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, Sady Doyle, and Jami Attenberg all have new books coming out.
By the Numbers
- An anonymous group donated £25,000 to indie publisher Jacaranda to assist their initiative of publishing 20 black British writers in 2020.
- Asylum seeker wins Australia’s richest literary prize, which he wrote entirely on Whatsapp.
- Sandra Cisneros to receive PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature!
- The 2019 Amelia Bloomer List announced, which lists the top 10 feminist books for young readers from 2018.
- 2019 longlist for the Dylan Thomas Prize announced.
- Check out these trailers for season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale, Jordan Peele’s adaptation of The Twilight Zone, and Us.
All Things Comics
- Y: The Last Man is getting the TV treatment from FX.
- Barnes & Noble pick the best graphic novels and manga for February 2019.
- Entertainment Weekly also picks 5 comics to read in February.
- Reading suggestions for the Read Harder manga challenge.
- The Audie Award finalists were recently released.
Upcoming Books in 2019
- Publisher’s Weekly picks upcoming debut novels and children’s and YA novels for Spring 2019.
- For anyone who’s really looking ahead: sneak previews of Fall 2019 children’s books.
- 50 must-read debut novels released between January & June of this year.
- Shondaland: Best YA novels of 2019.
- Paste: Most anticipated essay collections.
- February book picks from Amazon, Chicago Review of Books, CrimeReads, Entertainment Weekly, Lambda Literary, LitHub, The Millions, New York Times, and PopSugar.
- SFF picks for February from Barnes & Noble and io9.
- Tor.com picks genre-bending books and YA SFF novels for February.
Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists
- Rebecca Kaufman selects 10 of the best musical novels.
- R.O. Kwon picks 5 must-read titles written by women.
- 8 workplace thrillers.
- Locus releases its 2018 Recommended Reading List.
- Celebrate the Lunar New Year with 14 books by Asian American writers.
- Books like Bird Box that will “creep you the eff out.”
- 20 books about arranged marriage.
- 50 baking books.
- Underrated YA books.
- 9 dark YA fantasy novels.
- 50 must-read YA nonfiction titles.
- Diverse YA historical fiction for 2019.
- 24 children’s stories that still give us the creeps.
- 17 kid’s books for Black History Month.
- 20 children’s books about divorce.
- 25 books about adoption for kids.
Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous
- How 10 women of color actually feel about working in book publishing.
- A Maine lawmaker makes changes to a proposed bill that could require educators to get permission from students and parents in order to assign a particular book
- No surprises – the history of women in science fiction is largely inaccurate.
- What happens when autism becomes a literary device.
- Another look at the Afrofuturism subgenre.
- Four words: Harry Potter Beer Festival.
Level Up (Library Reads)
Do you take part in LibraryReads, the monthly list of best books selected by librarians only? We’ve made it easy for you to find eligible diverse titles to nominate. Kelly Jensen created a database of upcoming diverse books that anyone can edit, and Nora Rawlins of Early Word is doing the same, as well as including information about series, vendors, and publisher buzz.
Thanks for hanging out and I’ll see you again next week!