Big budgets and wide distribution aren’t enough on their own to sustain a magazine. Witness the demise of Holmes: The Magazine To Make It Right after less than two years of publication. Occasionally, it’s the low-budget, kitchen table–produced new periodicals that end up showing the most resiliency. An example of a past “best magazine of the year” published on a shoestring is hand-sewn Vintage, which against this reviewer’s expectations has published three issues and continues to thrive.
9 young adult books about South Asian main characters:
(book descriptions are from WorldCat; links go to Barnes & Noble)
Sita’s Ramayana by Samhita Arni and Moyna Chitrakar (Groundwood Books, 2011)
This version of the The Ramayana is told from the perspective of Sita, the queen. It is an allegorical story that contains important Hindu teachings, and it has had great influence on Indian life and culture over the centuries.
Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda (Disney Hyperion, 2009)
Fifteen-year-old Billi SanGreal has grown up knowing that being a member of the Knights Templar puts her in danger, but if she is to save London from catastrophe she must make sacrifices greater than she imagined.
Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009)
Nina Khan is not just the only Asian or Muslim student in her small-town high school in upstate New York, she is also faces the legacy of her “Supernerd” older sister, body hair, and the pain of having a crush when her parents forbid her to date.
What I Meant by Marie Lamba (Random House Children’s Books, 2007)
Having to share her home with her demanding and devious aunt from India makes it all the more difficult for fifteen-year-old Sang to deal with such things as her parents thinking she is too young to date, getting less than perfect grades, and being shut out by her long-time best friend.
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009)
In the days and weeks following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Samar, who is of Punjabi heritage but has been raised with no knowledge of her past by her single mother, wants to learn about her family’s history and to get in touch with the grandparents her mother shuns.
Karma by Cathy Ostlere (Razorbill, 2011)
In 1984, following her mother’s suicide, 15-year-old Maya and her Sikh father travel to New Delhi from Canada to place her mother’s ashes in their final resting place. On the night of their arrival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated, Maya and her father are separated when the city erupts in chaos, and Maya must rely on Sandeep, a boy she has just met, for survival.
Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera (Albert Whitman, 2011)
Six months after the events of September 11, 2001, Khalid, a Muslim fifteen-year-old boy from England is kidnapped during a family trip to Pakistan and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is held for two years suffering interrogations, water-boarding, isolation, and more for reasons unknown to him.
First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins (Dutton Children’s Books, 2008)
Once sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton’s father is elected president of the United States, the adopted Pakistani-American girl moves into the White House and makes some decisions about how she is going to live her life in the spotlight.
Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion, 2006)
Growing up with her family in Mumbai, India, sixteen-year-old Jeeta disagrees with much of her mother’s traditional advice about how to live her life and tries to be more modern and independent.
The House of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)
An unexpected death brings Shabanu’s daughter, Mumtaz, and nephew, Jameel, both aged fifteen, to the forefront of an attempt to modernize Pakistan, but the teens must both sacrifice their own dreams if they are to meet family and tribal expectations.
For our Popular Literature Collection, I try to advertise the great books we have by posting the New York Times Best Seller List each week and highlighting the books we have in the collection. I really enjoy designing the flyers in Publisher each week and choosing different color schemes.
These are, of course, appeal factors, the means by which readers’ advisory librarians try to figure out why a book appeals to a reader. More proof that this esteemed profession invented discovery. Who else would take the time to create an art/science to further a reader’s storyverse?
(Yes, this post is for Scott Turow.)
Now many public libraries want to lend e-books, not simply to patrons who come in to download, but to anybody with a reading device, a library card and an Internet connection. In this new reality, the only incentive to buy, rather than borrow, an e-book is the fact that the lent copy vanishes after a couple of weeks. As a result, many publishers currently refuse to sell e-books to public libraries.
Authors Guild president Scott Turow in his New York Times editorial last Sunday, which many in the publishing world have criticized for its negativity and defensiveness.
He claims to be looking out for the financial and creative interests of new and midlist authors, and yet, as I myself have pointed out, he fails to acknowledge how invested the American public library system is in launching writing careers. (First novels are always a draw for collection development librarians, and I market them aggressively.)
Turow is, how do you say, desperately out of touch with the opportunities of the digital age. Sad.
Wildly out of touch—and out of touch with the opportunities of the analog age? What does he think libraries have been up to all this time?
This morning via Sarah Weinman, I found out about Thin Reads, a free site devoted to tracking e-singles, which founder Howard Polskin defines as “a work of fiction nonfiction between 5,000 and 25,000 words, generally priced between $0.99 and $2.99,” per Laura Hazard Owen’s reporting at paidContent.
This could potentially be a great tool for conducting collection development, though I am surprised at the higher ratio of nonfiction to fiction. I had the sense that romance was hot on the heels of short-form journalism.
Would your library do deeper ebook collection development if there was one universal usage-based model?
A fine point raised at my lunch today with Workman Publishing.
Good question! Any answers?
So, you’ve ordered the books, and they’re on the shelves! And you weed them occasionally. Maybe you even weed them on a set schedule, instead of when the shelves are overflowing and the pages start pleading with you to do something about them! Aside from weeding, here are some steps I recommend doing as frequently as possible to make sure that your collection looks presentable and is represented accurately in the catalog. As always, I recommend approaching your collection in manageable chunks, which for this exercise should be 1,000 items or less.
If you’re low on time, run a list of the items in one part of the collection that have “trouble” or out of the ordinary statuses:
Go through (or send a minion, if you are lucky enough to have minions) and look for these trouble items. You’d be surprised how many of these items are actually sitting on the shelf where they’re supposed to be. While you’re browsing for these items, pull anything off the shelf that looks like it’s in serious need of repair, and also anything that is incorrectly shelved. Before reshelving them in the right place, make sure to check those items in, following one of my favorite rules of thumb:If you’re touching it anyway, you might as well check it in to make sure all is well.This rule applies to picking books up off of tables (internal use), books coming off displays and going back to the shelves, books that you found shoved at an awkward angle on top of other books in a back corner of the library…If you have more time, or are focusing on a relatively small part of the collection, I recommend checking in every book. I know! This sounds like a lot of work, especially if you have to haul the books back and forth between the shelf and the scanner. I’ll give you my example, and then you can tell me that I’m crazy.I’m about to do one of my twice-yearly graphic novel orders for the adult collection. I order 30-40 items at a time, and the collection currently includes about 700 items (including some Spanish-language items). Over the course of three to four hours (some off-desk and some on), I put them all in order, checked them all in, and shifted them to make room for new items. I touched all the books. I got a good idea of what series I needed to check on for new titles, I repaired several items, and I checked the circulation of a few I had been tentative about to see whether they were going out (they weren’t). Handling the books jogged my memory in a few cases, and I made some notes on what to order (and what not to order again).In addition to the items I repaired, I also found:
- lost or lost and paid
- claims returned
- in process
- in transit
Now, tidying the status of 34+ items may not seem that exciting, but that’s almost 5% of my collection, and now I don’t have to think about repurchasing those not-really-missing items when I place my order. It took some time, but I believe it will be worthwhile in the long run, and for once the section is actually in order (until the library opens).What do you think?
- Four items marked “lost” or “lost/paid”
- One item marked “claims returned”
- Four items with holds on them
- Twenty-one items marked “missing”
- Three Spanish language graphic novels without “Español” stickers
- One item missing a digit in its record, causing it to come up as “mis-cataloged”
- Several items that needed to be reclassified or relabeled
Librarians are seeing this acceptance with requests for more material “like Fifty Shades.” Kristi Chadwick, director of the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton, MA, has noticed an increase in holds for erotic materials. “I don’t think we have seen our copies of E.L. James’s or Sylvia Day’s titles on our shelf more than once since we acquired them last year!”
As erotic fiction is classified within general fiction, specific circulation statistics are not available, but Robin Bradford, collection development librarian with the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, says that public service librarians at her system have reported high patron demand, and she receives a large number of patron-generated purchase requests.
If your library doesn’t already collect erotic literature, where should you start? How do you mine your collection for titles you may already have? How do you help patrons navigate the world of erotic literature and assist them in finding something they want to read?
Library Journal’s February 15 issue mailed yesterday and the office is abuzz with anticipation. It’s a great issue and a (clearly) striking cover, illustrated by John Jay Cabuay. Keep an eye out for Katie Dunneback’s fantastic feature article on erotica as well as (my personal favorite) LJ Reviews’ Editors’ Spring Picks.
Libraries have long debated what makes a good collection. “Give ’em what they want” was the mantra that came from Baltimore County Public Library in the 1970s, a strategy that emphasized accessible, bookstore-like environments, offered a wealth of popular materials and service that was “user-friendly” and “customer-focused” years before anyone started using those terms. On the flip side were libraries that emphasized broad, well-rounded collections to meet the needs of any reader, any time. Lists of core collections were published to help librarians invest in well-reviewed backlist titles, creating miniwarehouses of books just in case. Need a biography of Simon Bolivar? Hey, here’s two. Heading to Montenegro? We’ve got the authoritative travel guide. Oh, you want Mary Higgins Clark’s latest? Get on the waiting list. For years, many libraries tried to do both. But with so many quality resources freely available on the Internet, that’s no longer necessary—or feasible.
For my own reading, I am most excited about Keeping the Castle, Fever Crumb, The Crown of Embers and A Brief History of Montmaray.
For the collection and my teen patrons, I’m hoping they dig our expanded manga collection, and someone profits from me systematically working on series completion.
Ordering the materials was super fun, but I dread the day, a year from now, when I start discovering my mistakes…
Woop! Tumblarians go!
Library Journal book review editors don’t have all the fun (though we do have a lot of fun), so this year we asked some of our esteemed colleagues to dish on their favorite books this past year.
You can see the LJ Book Review’s picks on December 20th, when we unveil our Top Ten list, as well as our More of the Best list of runners up. Each editor wrote and signed the annotation for the books they nominated, so you get a better look at the titles that each of us get excited about. Of course, LJ print subscribers can see all of this lists right now in our December issue.