Saturday, November 30, 2013

Best Books of 2013

It's that time of year again!  Best book lists are being released across the literary spectrum.  I will admit that I am a big fan of best book lists.  I think of them like a collection development report card.  Did I get my ordering right this year?  They also give me a second chance to pick up a title that I may have missed.  

As I go through the titles on the "best" lists, I put them into a spreadsheet.  I like to do this because it shows me which titles are getting the most press.  There is a big difference between the Amazon list and the School Library Journal list, as they speak to different audiences (sales vs. school libraries).  Neither is wrong.  A good collection needs popular books, such as those that will appear on the Amazon or Publisher's Weekly lists.  On the other hand, you need ones that are thought-provoking and cover nonfiction topics, such as those from School Library Journal.  My favorite lists include:
Other than collection development, what can you do with these lists?  Here are some of the things that I do:
  • hoard titles that are on multiple lists the week before ALA's Youth Media Awards.  I like to add shiny labels to them right away and create a special display.
  • create a "Best of 2013" display.  Customers love anything that says "best of".  Plus, if they are good titles, we want them to circ so they don't end up weeded.
  • have your tech person run the top 10 titles that your library has circulated over the past year.  This type of list is fun to put out on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  Then, you can compare your list to the experts.  It is never a surprise for me when Diary of a Wimpy Kid ends up in our top 10.
These are just a few of my ideas.  What do you do?


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