Thank you all for the comments on my post about the relationship between bloggers and librarians. I thought I'd share some of the comments and my thoughts-I'm really enjoying this discussion!
I am sad to see that many people have mentioned that while they love the library, the library staff isn't friendly or they don't know about YA. I wish I had a magic library wand to make everyone love YA and make everyone love their job, but that's going to happen no matter how hard I try. I have to stand up for YA lit all the time and I work with book lovers! So to you bloggers-keep pushing YA! Stand up for teens (even if you're not a teen anymore) and seek out that person who will listen to you. Talk to librarians-ask for suggestions, give your own suggestions. Start a dialog with them. Even if your librarians seem mean and not friendly-I have to hope that you can find one person to connect with.
The biggest suggestion I have to people looking at blogs is to find a blog that you enjoy reading-don't just read it because it's a blog. Find a blog that reviews the types of books you're interested in. If they recommend a book, read it and see if you agree with their review. If you like what they recommend and like the voice and style of the blog, then keep with it. Don't feel bad about not reading a blog because you don't like the types of books or the reviews that they post. Everyone is different and every blog is different and not every blog will fit everyone's personal tastes.
Now on to your comments:
Steph Su Asked:
My college town library is quite small, but a nearby town has a FANTASTIC YA selection: I swear that whenever I request a book, it almost always comes from that library. That being said, I do want to help my local library with their book selections, but am afraid of sounding too petulant that I know what they should be spending their VERY limited budget on. If you were a librarian working in a small library with a limited budget and YA section, how would you deal with someone like me? How should I go about letting them know that I'd like to help expand their YA selection?
-Find out who does the ordering and let them know you run a blog. At my library system (and I am at a mid-sized system) we have centralized ordering, meaning there is one department that orders everything. (This may be different at your library) But the person who is in charge of ordering YA also does adult items too, so there's no way she can catch every book that comes out. I will give her my suggestions and she always appreciates hearing feedback-one person alone can not know about every book, no matter how hard they may try. We also listen to our patron suggestions and allow patrons to suggest items to order-and a lot of the times we do order the items! It's great to have additional feedback. I would stop in your library, ask you does the ordering for YA and try to talk to them in person and let them know your love for YA. Let them know you blog and write reviews and that you love the collection that they have, but you'd love to help them find out about new books. Start off small-don't give them a laundry list of books to order-but suggest one or two titles you think would be a great addition or that they should be aware of. If something is getting a lot of buzz, we need to know about to make sure we have copies on our shelves before the demand starts.
Susie Sharp Librarian also responded to Steph Su's questions:
I am a librarian in a small town library, my predecessor started the YA section and I have continued to add to it so much so that my YA circulation is only about 100 books less than my adult fiction.I rely on the blogs because I sure can't afford Library Journal. Steph Su I would welcome your input I'll take anyones recommendation at my library. I am a new blogger also on my blog are reviews from my Teen Advisory Board.
Ms. I says: As a YA librarian and a blogger I love both words :) I've learned about books that I have missed in VOYA or other mags. I also find it interesting to read teen blogs to see what they like.
-This is what I love about blogs! I find so many more books to add to my reading lists and booklists for work. Plus, it's great to get ideas from teens that are outside of your library-my library council is only a small selection of the teens that actually use my collection.
Katie has some great suggestions for both librarians and bloggers:
1. Ask their teens how they find out about books. Blogs are valuable to teens, to our patrons. (Which means we need to understand and support our teens reading blogs!)
2. Read up on blogging. Poke around the blog community. Lurk! And then, if you don't like it, leave it be. If you do like it, join on in. But at least know about blogging.
3. Be more open-minded. Bloggers aren't trying to replace librarians. They are just book lovers, trying to get more people to read and love books.
1. Know your local librarian. This will help you if you want to suggest titles. (I take suggestions from patrons I know use the library more seriously than patrons just passing through.) It can also help in getting a heads-up about new books coming to the library, or ways for collaboration. 2. Learn a little bit about how librarians operate. Join YALSA. Someone mentioned above that it's for everyone interested in YA books and teens. Look around YALSA's website if you can't handle paying the dues. http://www.ala.org/yalsa
3. Be more open-minded. Not all librarians dislike you -- I was thrilled to see bloggers at ALA. We're also just book lovers, trying to get teens hooked on books.
I also liked what Tasha had to say about library staff not being friendly and also understanding why some libraries might not order what you request:
I'm both a blogger and a library director. As a director, I would want to know if my staff was being unresponsive, my collection was lacking, etc. Of course, if your libraries are being reduced to 4 days a week, they may not have the funding to get the books you think they should have. But attitude is free. There is no reason that they can't be positive and professional about your requests. Just understand that libraries are under intense budget pressures this year and may agree that they want to have the books you are asking for but just don't have the funds to make that happen.