So after sitting in on a panel discussion on blogs and hearing some murmurs about bloggers at ALA, I've been thinking about librarians and bloggers. As someone who is a librarian and also a book blogger, I feel like I have a good sense of both worlds.
I was reading book blogs (and book review sites like TeensReadToo.com and TeenReads.com) before I started reviewing. But posting my reviews on a blog was an easy way to keep track of books I read throughout the year. This was amazingly helpful when I was trying to come up with great titles to booktalk for my summer reading school visits. But not all librarians blog, so how can bloggers embrace librarians and vise versa? How can we work together?
For Librarians-Reading book blogs and book review sites can be an incredible resource for reader's advisory and collection management. Yes, we have review journals like VOYA and School Library Journal, but VOYA comes out bimonthly, and there are so many people at my library who see SLJ before it even makes it way to my office, if it ever makes it at all. I love that with book blogs I can instantly see what people are wanting to read and what they've thought about it. If I see a book pop up on multiple blogs, I'm going to take notice and make a note to look into ordering it. I know through blogs when there's buzz happening about a book that's not just library buzz but reader buzz. Book blogs are run by book lovers of all ages-some are teens themselves. Yes, I have a group of teen library council members that keep me informed about books, but these teens also rely on me to keep them informed about new books to read. Reading about what other teens out there are reading and looking forward expands my local library council into a large group of book lovers and I know I'm going to be ordering books that will reach beyond my council members.
As much as I'd love to, I can't read every YA book that's published throughout the year. Thanks to book blogs I've found out about books I hadn't yet seen in my bookish wanderings. I'm able to give suggestions for read alikes or books teens might be interested in reading because I've read reviews on blogs. Because of book blogs, I was able to make sure our collection department ordered ten copies of The Hunger Games before we started getting requests for it because I knew it was going to be huge.
I don't think book blogs will replace professional journals and reviews, but they are a wonderful addition to those resources. I think some librarians feel like they should be the only ones recommending books or who know about books (I have this same difficulty when trying to break into school libraries as a public librarian sometimes) but book bloggers are not trying to take over for teen librarians. Book bloggers are book lovers just like you. Teen librarians will always be invaluable. But teens are getting information from books from all sorts of places and if they see a book online or visited an author's website and then come to the library asking for that book, as a teen librarian, it's our job to know what it is. And book blogs can help us be in the know.
For Bloggers: Yes, I know many of you get books in the mail to review. But don't forget about your local library. I hope you visit the library and make use of their resources. Does your local teen or children's librarian know you have a book blog? If not, make sure you let them know. There is nothing better than working at a library and meeting other people who enjoy reading yong adult literature and are eager to talk books. Librarians love talking books! (What do you think we did at ALA for four days?) Your librarian would love to give you suggestions and I'm sure is eager to hear yours. Read a great book that you think other YA readers would love? Don't just blog about it, tell your librarian about it. Make sure they order it for their collection if possible. Have connections with authors? Librarians would love to connect with authors and you can be that gateway. Have you hosted an online chat with other YA readers or authors? Tell your librarian about it-maybe it can become a teen program at your library where local teens can have an online chat with a new author. Maybe you can even help your library set up a blog. And what about all those review copies you now have and don't know what to do with? What about loaning them out to your teen librarian so they can read it and booktalk it?
Don't make blogging a solitary act. Get to know your local librarian and help each other out.
I think bloggers and librarians can work together in getting books out there and in the hands of readers. We all share a love of books and I think instead of working separately we can combine our resources and reach a larger audience.
What else should bloggers and librarians know about each other? What else can we do to help each other? I'm eager to hear your thoughts!!