Friday, August 26, 2016

Year Two in Review: The Best of the Best Posts

Happy two years, 5 Minute Librarian readers!

What an adventure these two years have been! It has been our pleasure to write for you and we learned so much along the way. Our greatest achievement this year was the spin-off blog, Spoilers, Sweetie, which we couldn't have done without so many librarians volunteering their time! But that isn't all that we covered. We are excited to share below a list of our top posts since last August!

10 Insider Secrets Librarians Only Tell Their Friends

Our most popular post yet with over 18,000 views! Who knew that librarians were holding so much back from their patrons? ;-)

31 Days of Instagram Challenge

Our most exciting post with over 200 libraries participating on Instagram. Just check out the #5minlibchallenge in Instagram to see what everyone did! We can't wait to reveal our next 31 Days Challenge next month! (To see some of our favorite IG images, check out this post:

What You Can Do to Combat Librarian Burnout

Burnout is very real, folks, most especially in this profession. Kat shares some tips that helps her keep burnout at bay.

Top Ways to Advertise Your Library Programs - Part 1

You have an awesome program, now how to do you get the word out to your patrons?

Canva for Work - Free for Libraries!

We love Canva! We love free! If you make flyers/promotional materials for your library, you need to check out this post.

8 Simple Photography Tricks Every Librarian Should Know

Jess shares some tips from a real photographer that'll up your photography game in little time!

Top 15 IFTTT Recipes to Save You Time

Because we all could use more time in the day!

Disruptive Teen Patrons: 7 Strategies to Regain Order, Authority, and Your Sanity

Tips that should be useful when working with teens, or any disruptive patron!

The Ultimate Book Awards Calendar

More awards than you ever knew about, divided by age (Adult, Teen, and Children) as well as by month. Handy!

Copyright in Social Media: Guidelines for a Messy Virtual World

Is it okay to repost that comic on Facebook? Kat dives in deep in the world of copyright for social media.

Introducing Spoilers, Sweetie!

Our proudest moment! We started a spin-off blog to help you "read" more award winning books, especially the ones you aren't interested in but should know about.

Patrons Under the Influence of Drugs: What Libraries Can Do About It

There's a big opioid epidemic here in the United States. Be educated and prepared, in case anything happens in your library. With 78 people dying from overdoses every day, the question isn't "if" but "when".

Spotlight on Diversity: Are Your Library Shelves White-Washed?

A list of ways to make sure your collection is diverse.

Ready to Go Book Display: LGBT Pride Month

Allie created a stellar list of LGBT titles for your displays!

Ready to Go Book Display: Star Wars Reads Day

Star Wars Day is an annual event. Be ready for next year's display with these great titles!

Ready to Go Display: We Need Diverse Books

Are you looking for great books to bring diversity to your shelves? Check out this list of titles!

Thank you for following us, commenting, and sharing our content. If there is anything you'd love us to write more about, please let us know in the comments or on Twitter @5minlib.  Here's to another great year!

-Jess, Kat, and Allie

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ready to Go Display: Serial Killers

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group (Adults, Teens, and Children) that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. August is my birthday month us I'm going to focus on a topic I find interesting to read - Serial Killers.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin (Aug 2015)
Rendered famous as the only survivor of a serial killer 20 years earlier, Tessa discovers clues that the wrong person was convicted and that the true killer is preparing to finish what he started.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (July 2004)
Hiding a secret life as an assassin while working as a murder analyst for the Miami police, Dexter Morgan is intrigued by the work of a new serial killer whose style mimics his own and who Morgan realizes is inviting him into a deadly competition.

The Serial Killer Whisperer by Pete Earley (Jan 2012)
Author Pete Earley tells the true story of a young man who suffers a traumatic brain injury that renders him incapable of judging or feeling repulsion, and subsequently becomes the most trusted confidant of numerous imprisoned serial killers.

Green River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Nov 2015)
This graphic novel presents the ultimate insider's account of America's most prolific serial killer - the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women.

Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope (Jun 2016)
Working for the FBI as a tracker who uses his unique form of synesthesia to trail suspects, Magnus "Steps" Craig recognizes common hallmarks from two murder scenes at the same time he is targets by a kill he has been pursuing for more than a decade.

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule (20th Anniversary Ed. - Sept 2000)
From the perspective of the former policewoman, crime writer, and unknowing personal friend, tells the story of Ted Bundy, a brilliant law student executed for killing three women, who confessed to killing thirty-five others.

Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross (Mar 2015)
Two sisters, one living in the Shadow Lands - the realm of the dead - and one in the land of the living, are called upon to try and save a boy and his friends who have been marked for death by a long-dead serial killer.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Apr 2012)
Jazz learned all about being a serial killer from his father, but believes he has a conscience that will help fight his own urges and right some of his father's wrongs, so he helps the police apprehend the town's newest murderer.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Nov 2013)
Seventeen-year-old Cassie, who has a natural ability to read people, joins an elite group of criminal profilers at the FBI in order to help solve cold cases.

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell (Apr 2014)
Kit, a seventeen-year-old moral nihilist serial killer, chooses who to kill based on anonymous letters left in a secret mailbox, while simultaneously maintaining a close relationship with the young detective in charge of the murder cases.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (Sept 2011)
Rory, of Benouville, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation.

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (Apr 2016)
Consumed by questions about a fateful, ghostly night that resulted in a cousin's demise, a death-row conviction and her move to a distant town, Tessa reunites with childhood friend Callie to confront the demons of their shared past and uncover a haunting truth.

Female Serial Killers by Don Rauf (Jan 2016)
Presents an in-depth approach to evaluating the life and crimes of some of the world's most vicious women, including Lady Elizabeth Bathory, Bell Gunness, and Aileen Wuornos. Other titles in the Psychology of Serial Killers series include: Historical Serial Killers, Cannibal Serial Killers, Medical Serial Killers, and Modern-Day Serial Killers.
Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina (Mar 2016)
During the summer of 1977 when New York City is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, seventeen-year-old Nora must also face her family's financial woes, her father's absence, and her brother's growing violence.

The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison (Jul 2016)
A girl's unsettling connection with a serial killer leads her on a potentially deadly manhunt.

Friday, August 12, 2016

50+ Popular Programming for Adults

So, you're planning programming for the adults in your library and you're looking to change it up? From time to time, this question is posed on the awesome Programming Librarian Interest Group and librarians respond with lots of great possibilities. I thought I'd compile a list and share. Perhaps some of these ideas might work for your library?


1. Local History Talks/Presentations
2. Local History Walk
3. Genealogy

DIY Crafts

1. Paper Making
2. Stab Binding Books
3. Christmas Ornaments
4. Shibori Scarves
5. Water Color Scarves
6. Soy Candles 
7. Glycerin Soap 
8. Beading
9. Altered Books


1. Digital Photography Classes
2. How to Use Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram/Snapchat, etc. 
3. iPhoneography (taking and editing pics with iPhone)
4. Intro to Windows 10


1. Cookbook Club
2. Cooking Classes
3. Soup Night / Pie Night (patrons bring in food to share)
4. Rose Hip Jelly Making
5. Downton Abbey Tea
6. Wine Tasting
7. Edible Book Contest


1. Paranormal/Haunted Presentations
2. Pet Psychic
3. Professional Headshots for Facebook Profiles
4. Discovering New England Stone Walls
5. Falconry
6. Beekeeping and Honey Tasting
7. Yoga
8. Meditation
9. Veteran Author Talks
10. Living History Performances and Re-enacting


1. Car Seat Safety Program
2. Business Networking/Speed Networking
3. Job Prep (Resume writing, Mock interviews)
4. DIY Home Repair
5. Pearl Harbor (75th anniversary in December)
6. Show Great Courses Lectures 
7. Interior Design
8. Travel on a Budget
9. Identity Theft
10. Etsy/eBay
11. DIY Bike Repair


1. Gardening Presentations
2. Plant Swap
3. DIY Terrarium


1. Publishing Your Writing
2. Writing Memoirs
3. Open Mic Nights

Fun / Entertainment

1. Family Movie Nights
2. Star Trek Program (50th Anniversary is coming soon)
3. Introduction to Drones 
4. Bridge
5. Collectibles & Antiques
6. Plan the Perfect Staycation
7. Mah Jongg
8. Couponning
9. Coloring Books
10. Chinese New Year

Places for Partnerships

If you are looking to increase your attendance numbers, partnerships are a great way to do so:

  • America Red Cross (for blood drives hosted at libraries)
  • Local Senior Center
  • Local Historical Society
  • Local University (The outreach office may have someone willing to do social media programs)
  • Local Stores (Drones, DIY Home Repairs/Renovations)

Additional Reading

Want more ideas? Check out:

List Source

The list above was pulled from these discussions: Discussion #1 and Discussion #2. You need to be a member of the Programming Facebook Group to be able to read them. Thanks to all of the librarians who shared their wisdom!

Friday, August 5, 2016

SLJ's FREE Virtual Teen Conference - Aug 10th

If you are a Teen/Youth Librarian or are interested in Teen Literature, School Library Journal's virtual conference (coming up August 10th) is perfect for you!

It is one of my favorite conferences to attend each year. You can't beat the price (free!) or the location (online). The way they designed it, you really feel like you're in a different location. They recreated a conference hall, where you can move to the different rooms or move from vendor to vendor.

You don't have to stay all day, so you can easily jump in to view the panels you want to see and then log out. If you aren't available that day (it is in the middle of most summer reading programs), still register! You can access recordings of each discussion later. If you can squeeze in some time to visit the vendors' hall, definitely do it. Some of them will give you free ebooks (yay!), you can chat with authors and publishers, and download other goodies.


This year's keynote speakers are Maggie Stiefvater (author of The Raven Cycle) and Meg Medina (author of Burn Baby Burn). And there are many other authors participating on panels throughout the day:

Nyrae Dawn, author, Turn the World Upside Down (Harmony Ink)
Stephanie Kuehn, author, The Smaller Evil (Penguin)
Jennifer Niven, author, Holding Up the Universe (Penguin)
Teresea Toten, author, Beware that Girl (Penguin)
Susan Vaught, author, Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy (Simon & Schuster)
Sarah Rees Brennan, author, Tell the Wind and Fire (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Traci Chee, author, The Reader (Penguin)
Kate Elliott, author, Poisoned Blade (Little, Brown)
Rachel Lou, author, The Bridge (Harmony Ink)
Amanda Sun, author, Heir to the Sky (Harlequin Teen)
Neal Bascomb, author, Sabotage (Scholastic)
Bridget Heos, author, Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA (Harper Collins)
Robert Hoge, author, Ugly (Penguin)
Reyna Grande, author, The Distance Between Us (Simon & Schuster)
Leonard S. Marcus, author, Comics Confidential (Candlewick Press)
Sarah Miller, author, The Borden Murders (Penguin Random House)
Eileen Cook, author, With Malice (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Ryan Graudin, author, Blood for Blood (Little, Brown)
Leo Hunt, Eight Rivers of Shadow (Candlewick)
Lorie Langdon, author, Gilt Hollow (Blink)
Mindy McGinnis, author, Female of the Species (HarperCollins)

The author panels will focus on mental health in YA literature, genre-bending SFF, compelling nonfiction, and suspense & horror. Each panel has a Q&A at the end, so you can ask the authors your burning questions.

Teen Service Panels

In the afternoon, there will be teen service panels, where librarians will discuss topics like serving the underserved (teen parents, incarcerated teens, and homeless teens), college and career readiness, working with Instagram and Snapchat, and innovative programming.

Full Schedule

For the full schedule of programs and times, check out their website:

Show a Panel to Your Teens!

Think your teens may want to watch some of the panels? SLJ gives you permission to show the panels to your teens.

Register for this year's conference

This is an annual conference, so look for it every August! We highly recommend registering and checking it out. This year's conference is next Wednesday (August 10th), so don't delay! If you are unable to attend, register so you can access the archives online. You can't visit the vendors, but you can watch all of the panels.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Entice a Pokémon Go Player to become a Library User with these 5 Conversation Starters!

Since Pokémon Go's launch on July 6th, many "trainers" have been flocking to the library to capture Pokémon or collect Pokeballs. We've been seeing lots of great ideas of how to encourage these players to become library users (just check out the Facebook page, Library Pokémon Go Support). Today, we thought we'd come up a list of ways you can explain to them how the library works, in terms of Pokémon Go, for potential new library users!

5 Conversation Starters

  • You know how the Pokémon Go app is freely available for download to everyone? Our library is open to everyone, too, and we have a free app you can download on your phone as well. [If your library doesn't, one of your vendors might: OverDrive, Freegal, etc...]
  • Like collecting different kinds of Pokémon? We also offer lots of different kinds of items for you to check out: DVDs, CDs, Videogames, Newspapers, Magazines and more! Just like there are more Pokémon than Pikachu, we're more than books.
  • Did you know libraries are like PokeStops? They are open for anyone to visit them and if the library is on the same network as yours, your library card will work there, too.
  • Enjoy meeting new people and competing in Gyms? You can find lots of free events for any age group here at the library.
  • Like earning badges? Many libraries have competitive summer reading challenges. Find out the different ways you could win.
We're so excited to hear that many libraries are PokeStops and Gyms. One library posted online that, due to the game, 15 new people visited their library one Saturday and seven of them made a library card while they were there. So, Pokémon Go could really be beneficial to libraries, let's harness that!

If you haven't played the game before, here is a great post to help you learn about it, Everything Librarians Need to Know About Pokemon Go.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Programming Librarian (Website Review)

Today, we're going to talk about a newish website by ALA, The Programming Librarian. They're just a little over a year old and we adore their mission. If you don't know about it yet, today is your lucky day!

Isn't this mini-notebook adorable? You can order it through the ALA store!

Browse Ideas

This website is a resource of great programs! You can search by:

  • Cost (free to $5,000+)
  • Library Type (Public, Academic, School and Special)
  • Topic 
  • Program Type
  • Age Group
Click to enlarge

Once you select a program, you'll get access to all the important details, from the marketing and planning to execution. They may even share files that you can download. You'll know exactly how much the program costs and how much time you'll need to put into it. Perfect for the busy librarian!

Share Your Own!

There is an online form you can fill out to submit your own programs. I love that they are crowding sourcing this because we all have fun ideas and great programs. The only way this website can be really successful is if we all use it and submit, so please consider doing both!

Follow Their Blogs

They have many people blogging on the website about innovative programs, which you can filter by library type, topic, and age group. Learn what other people are doing in your field!

Attend a Webinar

They also hold webinars about different types of programming. See what is coming up or check out their archives to see what you have missed.

The 5minlib Challenge

So, today we have a challenge for you. Within the next seven days, what if we all submitted our best program? Just one program, any program, that you think might be successful at other libraries, too. If now is too crazy with Summer Reading, then put it on your calendar for the first week in September. It would so amazing if we all did it.

Since, as they say:
Because all those 
author talks,
computer classes,
community dialogues,
book clubs,
art exhibitions,
and ESL courses
don't plan 

Ain't that the truth?
(By the way, we love that quote, too!)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ready to Go Book Display: Pokémon

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month, we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group (Adults, Teens and Children) that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month we are celebrating Pokémon Go! Don't forget to include your Pokémon games in your display!

Pokémon Black and White (2011-2015)
20 Volumes
Black, an eager young Pokémon trainer, sets off on a journey to explore the Unova region, where he meets White, a Pokémon trainer who runs a talent agency for performing Pokémon.

Hareta, raised in the wild by Pokémon, decides to become a Pokémon trainer. Along with his first Pokémon Piplip and his new friend Mitsumi, he sets off in search of the legendary Pokémon Dialga, but Team Galactic is hunting for Dialga too.
Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure Platinum (2014)
11 Volumes
Pokémon trainers Pearl and Diamond have a lifelong dream to star in a Pokémon comedy act, but somehow end up as bodyguards to a pampered rich girl on a quest to reach the peak of Mount Coronet.

Pokémon XY (Dec 2014-ongoing)
As the new champion of the Pokemon Battle Junior Tournament in the Kalos region, X is hailed as a child prodigy. But when the media attention proves to be too much for him, he holes up in his room to hide from everyone - including his best friends.

Shares facts on over seven hundred Pokémon and includes information on the new Kalos characters and the Mega Evolved Pokémon.

Official Guide to Legendary and Mythical Pokémon by Simcha Whitehill (Aug 2016)
Discover facts and stats about over 50 of the most amazing, intriguing Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, from Arceus to Zygarde.

How to Draw Pokémon by Tracey West (June 2003)
Get ready to draw the coolest, most action-packed Pokémon art ever. Catch step-by-step secret tips on drawing your favorite Pokémon.

Pokémon Origami (June 2015)
Offers instructions on creating ten Pokémon using origami, including Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Snivy.

A completely updated coverage of key characters, battles, and locations, including the Unova region.


For those of you who are interested in Pokémon programming and advertising, there's a new Facebook Group for librarians you'll want to join: