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 Story Monsters Ink.
The award-winning literary resource for the latest news on popular and debut books, celebrity and indie author profiles, book reviews, reading lists, monthly columns by bestselling author James Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs president Judy Newman, and more!
I have a couple news items that I want to talk about before I jump into the rest of the newsletter.
(TW racism) First, if you haven’t already read Sofia Leung’s blog post on whiteness as collections, please do, because it talks about how the items we choose to purchase and preserve say a lot about our personal and institutional values, and not surprisingly, libraries value white perspectives. Also not surprisingly, there’s been a lot of racist pushback on Twitter to this idea, not only from trolls, but from fellow librarians, and to that I say NO. Librarians need to do better, and one of the ways to do better is for the white librarians to zip their lip and listen to people like Sofia. Becky Spratford and guest blogger Karen Toonen express this sentiment very directly, and I suggest you read their posts as well, because this is not acceptable. At all.
(TW library violence) Secondly, American Libraries posted an article by Kelly Clark, partner of Amber Clark who was allegedly murdered by a banned patron in December 2018. The article makes an impassioned case for not only increased library security measures, but for library managers and administrators to listen to their employees about safety issues. The fact is that libraries are not always safe, and working in libraries can take an extreme psychological toll on employees, but so many administrators turn a blind eye to the reality of what front line staff have to deal with. If you are a library manager, administrator, or are in any way positioned to affect change at your library, please do so, and please listen to your staff.
Libraries & Librarians
- LGBTQ community members spoke out at a recent Anne Arundel County Library meeting, saying that they want to be normal, not controversial, and that LGBTQ-themed programs could save lives, which OH MY GOD WHY DO SOME PEOPLE STILL NEED TO BE CONVINCED OF THIS?? I give all the kudos in the world to the people who were willing to come forward and talk about this in front of the board.
- Yale students push back against the undergraduate library’s plan to massively weed their physical collection, which was undertaken in response to declining circ numbers and the need for increased work and seating space.
Cool Library Ideas
- A collaborative effort to develop a national digital eBooks platform for libraries.
- St. Joseph County Public Library (IN) showcases its 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
- An honor system checkout policy allows library patrons (especially teens) more freedom to borrow topic-sensitive books.
- This Anchorage library takes unconventional checkouts to the next level by lending out taxidermy specimens.
- A look at libraries and their social media practices.
- The Cullman County (AL) Public Library offers goat yoga!
- The fire at Notre Dame is a brutal reminder to protect our libraries, museums, and archives.
- Looking at library leadership through an intersectional feminist lens – this is a very interesting read.
- What are the biggest challenges in teen library services?
- Working as a librarian gave this writer post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
- The funniest & weirdest stories of damaged library books. Two words: Bacon. Bookmarks.
- How to get a Library of Congress Reader’s Card.
- How to clean a computer keyboard. (Don’t lie. You know your keyboard needs this.)
Book Adaptations in the News
- New adaptations coming for Sleeping Beauties (Stephen King, Owen King; AMC), The Last Mrs. Parrish (Liv Constantine; Amazon), Barkskins (Annie Proulx; National Geographic), The Bone Season (Samantha Shannon; Lunar Park), and “Rest Stop” (Stephen King; Legendary).
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a producer on Killing Eve, has been asked to punch up the new James Bond screenplay.
- Letitia Wright of Black Panther fame is starring in Death on the Nile.
- Reverse adaptation news: breakout queer Broadway play The Prom is getting adapted as a YA novel.
- Kirkus: 9 books that would make the best movies.
Collection Development Corner
- Simon & Schuster forms a new nonfiction imprint and partners with Law & Crime for a new true crime publishing unit.
- Skyhorse forms Arcade CrimeWise imprint.
- Pushing diversity forward in publishing.
New & Upcoming Titles
- Mueller Report updates: publishers are rushing to release the Mueller Report, which has now become a best-seller even though its classification as a government document means it’s free to read for anyone. Slate even gives the report its own book review.
- Publisher’s Weekly releases their list of the Best Books of Summer 2019.
- Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed are collaborating on a new YA novel called Yes, No, Maybe So.
- Carly Simon is writing a memoir about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
- Prince’s posthumously published memoir finally has a release date.
- Henry Winkler signed a 3 book deal about an “an alien who somehow lands in Hollywood and becomes a teen sensation.”
Current Noteworthy Book Lists
- Bookmarks: Best reviewed books of the week.
- CrimeReads: Best debut thrillers & crime novels of April 2019.
- USA Today: Books of the week.
- Entertainment Weekly: authors pick their top books of the spring.
- Paste: Best YA novels of April.
- The Verge: Science fiction & fantasy books of late April.
- Book Riot: 10 new and upcoming political YA books to add to your TBR.
RA & Genre Resources
- A free toolkit on building & maintaining LGBTQ+ picture book collections.
- What do we really mean by women’s fiction?
- Go back through your reading history to find a gold mine of backlist books ready to suggest to patrons.
- Why we need to set a better example of nonjudgmental RA service.
- Genre columns in the news: New York Times covers romance and crime, Washington Post looks at science fiction and fantasy, and NPR looks at romance as well.
Books & Authors in the News
- Ian McEwan recently made some really absurd statements about why his new book is NOT science fiction, and then went on to speculate about what science fiction could be if it actually considered issues of humanity and AI and sentience, as if his book was the first to pose these questions. The whole thing is absurd, and The Guardian looks at the history of science fiction’s lack of respectability in the literary world. Also, I just wanted to send a bunch of Ex Machina gifs to Ian McEwan but I imagine they would go right over his head.
- Gillian Flynn is writing for Amazon TV with Utopia.
- Some parents are upset after learning that an elementary school teacher read the book Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag to her class.
- Nnedi Okorafor is creating a TV series company for Africanfuturist stories.
- Time released its list of the 100 Most Influential People, and there are multiple authors and book-related people included.
- Winners for the Kitschies, Reading the West Awards, Chicago Public Library Literary Awards, and the British Science Fiction Awards.
- Shortlists for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.
- Lambda Literary presents Alexander Chee, Masha Gessen, and Barbara Smith with special honors.
- RWA plans to hire an outside Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Consultant.
- Everyone’s talking about Beyoncé’s surprise Netflix documentary/concert film, Homecoming, and Lemonade is finally streaming on Spotify & Apple Music. So if your patrons are looking for ever more Beyoncé, you can hand them this list of books to read after they finish Homecoming.
- Podcast news!
- If you enjoy cookbooks, you may want to check out Cookery By the Book, which may be the first podcast of its kind.
- Michael Lewis is starting a podcast called Against the Rules, which looks at issues of authority.
- An update on Hear to Slay with Roxane Gay & Tressie McMillan Cottom.
- Podcasts for poetry lovers.
All Things Comics
- A look at 2018 graphic novel sales and trends.
- Cartoonists Studio Prize winners announced.
- Cartoonist MariNaomi shines a light on diverse cartoonists by creating databases featuring queer cartoonists and cartoonists of color.
- A new Kate Bishop Hawkeye series is in the works at Disney+.
- Using graphic novels as a teachable format in the classroom.
- We’re going to get a Grateful Dead origins comic.
- How to find kick-ass lady comics as a total noob.
- 12 comics about trans and genderqueer people.
- Environmental comics to celebrate Earth Day.
- 5 Instagram comics to follow.
Book Lists, Book Lists, Book Lists
- 5 recent novels that blend science fiction and horror.
- Top 10 bilingual books.
- Do crime like a Victorian with these 11 nonfiction reads.
- Top 100 crime novels of all time.
- 8 cold-case stories.
- 10 books to understand the measles epidemic and 5 books about plagues & pandemics.
- 6 romance novels that should come with snacks.
- Baseball books for 2019.
- 30 books by writers of color redefining the term “all-American.”
- 7 books for Ariana Grande fans.
- Goodreads: 40 of the most popular translated books and 24 top poetry titles.
- 15 cosmic horror titles to get you started.
- 365 books to start your climate change library. Related: 50 fictional eco-disasters.
Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous
- A powerful read: “Turns Out I’m Trans: How Romance Helped Me Find Myself.”
- A mourning ring with Charlotte Bronte’s hair has been discovered.
- We may get a look at some unpublished Franz Kafka works after an extremely lengthy legal battle with his literary estate.
- How a decor-loving English professor displays her book collection.
- London commuters will be getting short story dispensing vending machines, where they can choose 1, 3, or 5 minute stories, with the first story written by Anthony Horowitz.
- In praise of re-reading.
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!