Selecting books for the library book discussions is always something I wrestle with. I make diagrams and charts - list pros and cons - scratch things out and change my mind a billion times. It can be tough! The book needs to be amusing but also discussable, a balance that can be tough to strike. And most important, I have to read it too, so I always try to pick something I either haven't read yet, or that I wouldn't mind re-reading.
I run two clubs at the Northbrook Public Library, and for specifics on each group, you can check out the recaps here. But I wanted to go over my process for book selection, minus my poorly drawn diagrams and charts of course, because when it comes to book discussions, success and failure can be a basic as the book choice. It is very important.
First, I consider my audience. I think about what books have worked in the past, and what haven't. Since both of my book clubs are new, this is a little tough. So I try to draw on my experiences running book clubs at other libraries, like LitLounge, for example.
Then I check Goodreads. Throughout the year, I add books to a shelves specifically for each book club: one for Books on Tap, and another for Suspicious Minds. This is anything I can think of that might fit well with the group - not necessarily what I will be picking, but I nice, big list to start narrowing down from.
After that, I start writing out a short list, and then I start placing holds and checking out all the books on the short list. No, I don't read every single one. But I do read the first few paragraphs, check reviews, see if there are any book clubs that have read the book already (hint: google "book club" and the title of the book).
And if none of that helps me narrow my choices, I head to my social networks for some good, old-fashioned crowdsourcing because nothing beats the power of your internet peers. Maybe someone you follow on Twitter lead a discussion on the book you're considering already. You never know unless you ask.
Book selection is so important - even if you let your book club members vote on what they want to read. So take your time, consider your options, and learn from your mistakes.
First, thank you to everyone who submitted a chapter proposal for the Library Innovation Cookbook. We will be contacting people throughout December. Both Dr. Molaro and I truly appreciate all the time, thought, and work put into every single submission. I wish we could take them all!
Also I had such a blast presenting at the Wauconda Area Library's staff day this past Friday. It was my first time in both the city and the library, and I have to say, it is such a lovely area. The downtown is beautiful with lots of little shops and restaurants, and of course, the library itself is gorgeous! Their patrons must be very proud. And to top it off, the staff at WAL was enthusiastic and hilarious. They were a wonderful crowd.
My presentation was on the intersection between the personal and professional on social media for both library workers and institutions. It is called Libraries, Librarians, and Social Media. You can view it on slideshare here:
If you are interested in having me present on this, or any other topic, at your library, just click on the "Contact Me" link on the left hand side of the page.
Again, thank you to all the librarians who submitted to the book, and have a wonderful holiday!