Friday, August 18, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Spooky Reads for Halloween

Ready to Go Book Display: Spooky Reads for Halloween

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go! Book Display." Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. Grab your pumpkin latte and let's look at books for Halloween.

Recommendations for Adults:

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (Jul 2017)
The surviving members of a forgotten teen detective club and their dog reunite as broken adults on an effort to solve a terrifying cold case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison.
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan (Apr 2016)
Supernatural mysteries and suburban drama collide in the early hours after the Halloween of 1988 for four twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls, in the first installment of this graphic novel series.
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix (Jan 2014)
After strange things start happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, three employees volunteer to work an overnight shift to investigate, but what they discover is more horrifying than they could have imagined.
Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry (Oct 2011)
Injected by a prison doctor with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake after death, a condemned serial killer experiences unforeseen, contagious side effects and emerges from his grave to begin a murderous rampage that is combated by two small-town cops.
The Feast of All Souls by Simon Bestwick (Dec 2016)
378 Collarmill Road looks like an ordinary house. But sometimes, the world outside the windows isn't the one you expect to see. And sometimes you'll turn around and find you're not alone.
The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson (Oct 2017)
Every time she bleeds a murderer is born.

Recommendations for Teens:

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle (Aug 2015)
Every October Cara and her family become mysteriously and dangerously accident-prone, but this year is when Cara will begin to unravel the accident season's dark origins.
Demon Derby by Carrie Harris (Jul 2014)
Once a true daredevil, South Carolina high school junior Casey is in remission from cancer when a terrifying encounter at a Halloween party leads her to become a demon-fighting roller derby girl.
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics (Sep 2015)
When Amanda Verner's family moves from their small mountain cabin to a cabin in the prairies it becomes obvious to Amanda that something is very wrong with her new home.
13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt (Aug 2015)
When Luke Manchett's estranged father dies suddenly, he leaves his son a dark inheritance: a Host of eight unique, powerful, and restless spirits. Unfortunately, Luke has no clue to how to manage them, which the ghosts figure out pretty quickly.
Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward (Feb 2016)
Wishing she could just spend time with her new girlfriend, Lea struggles with the decline in humanity as an environmental disaster strikes.
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux (May 2017)
Escaping from her harsh school before finding work as a maid in an English boarding house, Louisa realizes that her mysterious employer and his staff execute cruel judgments on the guests.

Recommendations for Kids:

EEK! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton (Aug 2016)
The chickens are nervous. Witches, wizards, robots, and an alarmingly enormous mouse are prowling around town tonight, and it's up to the chickens to get to the bottom of it!
Herbert's First Halloween by Cynthia Rylant (Aug 2017)
Herbert and his father prepare for his first Halloween by making a tiger costume and practicing a big roar.
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt (Aug 2013)
Scaredy Squirrel has put together a collection of helpful safety tips and step-by-step instructions to guide you through common Halloween obstacles.
Pug & Pig Trick-or-Treat by Sue Lowell Gallion (Jul 2017)
Pig is excited about Halloween but Pug loses his holiday spirit because of his uncomfortable costume.
Bad Kitty, Scaredy-Cat by Nick Bruel (Aug 2016)
Bad Kitty is frightened by the creatures on Halloween, but when she sees all the holiday treats she decides to be a very bad kitty and chases the scary creatures away.
The Scariest Book Ever by Bob Shea (Jul 2017)
A young ghost lives by a dark forest, but he's afraid of monsters and too scared to go there, inviting young readers to turn the pages and explore it on their own.
A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting by Joe Ballarini (Jun 2017)
When Kelly loses a little boy to monsters who live under his bed during her first babysitting job, she learns about a secret society of babysitters who fight monsters.
Monsterland by James Crowley (Aug 2017)
Chased into the woods by neighborhood bullies who are after his Halloween candy, fifth grader Charlie quickly gets lost and finds his way into Vampyreishtat - or Monsterland, an uncharted land where werewolves, mummies, and vampires live freely - and with the help of the Monster of all Monsters, Charlie hopes he will find his cousin who disappeared a year ago.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Program Planning: Walk-In, Registration, or 1 Hour Early Tickets?

So, you have planned this fantastic program. Maybe you are running it yourself, maybe you hired someone highly recommended... Either way, you think that it could be a hit and you are dreaming of a full house.

But what to do next? Should you require registration or just allow walk-ins? Should you hand out tickets an hour before the event? We look at all three of these options and give you the low down on the pros and cons, as well as share a fourth technique you don't hear about often. (This post was inspired from the YA-YAAC listserv, which we highly recommend to youth and teen librarians!)


The easiest way to handle program attendees. You advertise the event and anyone is allowed to attend. No sign-up necessary.


  1. Patrons don't need to register ahead of time.
  2. No need to keep track of who is signing up and who is wait listed.
  3. You don't get no-shows!
  4. People who couldn't commit to the date early won't be discouraged from coming the day of.


  1. You have no idea how many people to expect to come.
  2. Hard to plan material needs. Might have bought too much or too little, wasting funds or requiring rushed trips to the store during the program.


Many libraries require registration for their programs. Patrons need to sign-up ahead of time (either by contacting the library who has a paper sign-up form or online via a program like Eventkeeper) until space runs out. 


  1. You will know how many people to expect at the program. If not enough register, it is easy to make the call to cancel the program. You will also be able to spend the appropriate amount of money on supplies.
  2. You don't have to open the registration right away. Some libraries prefer to wait either two weeks before the event or the Friday before and then open registration.
  3. You can easily  keep track of the no-shows. If certain patrons keep registering but not attending, you can mentally count them out or make it a policy that three no-shows means they can't register anymore.


  1. Some communities refuse to register but still come for the program. If you find that program attendance is higher for non-register programs, you might want to go that route.
  2. No-shows. Not everyone who signs up will actually come. A few ways you can remedy this: 
    1. Opening registration really close to the program date (2 weeks before or the Friday before) can help decrease the odds of no-shows.
    2. Or, if you see a pattern, you could register 20% over capacity, knowing that you'll never be 100% full.
    3. Another option is to require a $5 deposit when people register to dissuade anyone who isn't willing to commit from signing up. At the program, you can return their $5.
  3. What to do about late patrons? Should they be allowed in after 30 minutes? Should they lose their spot after 10 minutes? Make sure this is written in your advertisement.

The Big Question for Registration: Wait List or No Wait List?

When registration space is filled, some libraries allow patrons to sign-up onto a Wait List. When people cancel, the librarian will contact those on the list and offer them the coveted spot.


  1. It allows you to not have to officially turn anyone away. A spot may open up!
  2. If you see many names on the Wait List, you could make a second session and offer it to them.


  1. It is labor intensive. If someone cancels and you call the first person on the Wait List, what do you do if they don't answer the phone? Keep calling people or leave a message? What if the cancellation is a few minutes before the event, do you make phone calls then? Is it worth your time to do that?
  2. It also complicates things when it comes to those who came to the event but did not register. They are willing to wait for openings, but should they be given the opportunity if they didn't join the Wait List?

1 Hour Early Tickets

Instead of requiring people to register, you can tell them to come to the library an hour early to get a ticket. Once tickets run out, they are out of luck.


  1. Everyone who gets a ticket will hang around, so you will not have any no-shows.
  2. Because they have to come early, this gives them an opportunity to walk around your library, hopefully check out a few items or see how cool the Children's Area is!


  1. It'll be a bit crazy the hour before the program as everyone comes for a ticket at the same time. This can be managed, though, with careful planning. Maybe you'll want someone at the door to hand out tickets instead of letting a line form in front of the check-out desk? 
  2. You'll have an influx of people hanging out at the library, which may not be ideal if your library doesn't have the space for people to wait. If you do have the space, maybe plan a few passive activities to keep the kids entertained?

Targeted Registration 

This is something I had done at my previous library that worked well. I used a Google Form for Summer Reading Registration, and after all of the usual questions, I listed all of the programs and asked them to mark which ones they might be interested in. Then, a week before the program, we emailed only the patrons who had shown interest to tell them that registration is now open. 


  1. Find out people's interest in your programs right away. We found the responses were a good guide for how popular the program would be... And if there weren't a lot of interest in a program, it was best to cancel it.
  2. Allows you to target your advertising to only those interested so you don't become "noise" to the patrons and they start ignoring your emails.
  3. People are more likely to follow through with attending when they register close to the date.


  1. Can be time intensive. We had weekly programs, so we had to send out specific emails every week.
  2. Harder to buy materials ahead of time since you open registration close to the program (though you could open registration two weeks early to prevent that).
  3. We had to create our own form on Google Forms since none of the big Summer Reading programs offered this option for listing programs. It was easy to make, though, and easy for us to later group emails together by interest.
  4. It may not work for Summer Reading, if you want them to use an official Summer Reading program like Wandoo Reader. (Who would sign up twice?) It worked for us because we used our homemade Scratch Tickets program.

Do you have any other suggestions on this topic? We'd love to hear them in the comments! Unfortunately, there is no one right answer. Try them all out and see what works best for your community. It might be a combination. The good news: you have options!

Friday, August 4, 2017

7 Tips for the Newbie Library Director

Congratulations, you have landed the coveted role as a Library Director! But what to do now? This was a question posted on ALATT Facebook Group, and there were so many great responses, we thought we'd record them below so they would not be lost in the black hole of the internet.

1. Find Mentors

Reach out to other directors in the area. They will make a great sounding board and resource.

2. Interact with All Staff

Don't hide in your office. Meet with all staff members, not just your supervisors. Work with staff on the desk and out in the stacks. Find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. Give them opportunities to shine and ask for feedback. Help them re-tailor their jobs so they can love it as much as they can. Make sure to establish clear boundaries between boss and friends (No Facebook!).

3. Support Staff

Attend staff programs so they know you care and patrons can also interact with you, too. Ask questions about their workflow. Every library does things differently and there's usually something that can be improved. Ask them what their biggest challenges are and find ways to help them through them.

4. Reach Out to the Community

Create community contacts (PTO/PTA,Chamber of Commerce, Women in Business, United Way, Lion's Club, EDC, etc.) for possible donations, supporters, etc. Attend all meetings so they can become familiar with the library and you get to learn more about your community. This will help with knowing who's who in your community and for collection development and program planning.

5. Read, Read, Read

Read the minutes from previous board meetings. Read the Trustee manual, internal procedures, State and Federal laws, flowcharts, who's who in the internal and external environment, history of your library/library system, human resources files: the resum├ęs of your people, if you have a person covered by ADA in your staff and so on. Learn the HR rules in your state.

6. Remember:

  • There is very little that you can do which cannot be fixed. It might take time and money, but they can be remedied. So, don't worry about mistakes!
  • Treat your first year as your learning year. Listen, watch, assess, then take action.
  • Morale is your number one asset. Treasure it, nurture it, do not let an individual destroy a team. 
  • You don't have to fake it to make it. Just act as what you think a dynamic holder of the position would look and plan to grow into that full role.

7. Visit the Library Directors' website

Lastly, you can connect with a broader group of library directors through the Join the listserv, check out their long list of resources, and more! If you are active on Facebook, you can also join the Library Management Group.

Do you have any tips for new directors? Please share below.

Like this article? Check out:

Management 101: What to Be & What to Do
Management 101: A Manager Should Not, A Manager Should Know, A Manager Should Remember

Friday, July 28, 2017

18 Excellent Podcasts for Librarians

Podcasts are the perfect companion to the busy librarian! They are useful for anyone who has a commute, many chores to do around the house, walk dogs, or engage in exercise, which we are assuming covers most of our readers. Podcasts are like talk shows or stories, that appear consistently (weekly to monthly) on your phone. (I use Podcast Addict and have them automatically downloaded as they are released so I don't use wifi while away from home. They autodelete after I listen to them.) Then, when you are out and about, you can easily play an episode and enjoy life a little bit more.

There are a million great podcasts out there (just check out the responses to this one Facebook post!) but we decided to highlight the podcasts which talk about library news and books. Maybe you'll find a new favorite!

Adventures in YA

Kristin and Sara talk about YA books in this fun and informative young adult literature podcast.

Better Library Leaders

Better Library Leaders is a podcast, blog, and Facebook community designed to explore the elements of great libraries and great library leaders. Sarah provides helpful tips, insightful interviews, and other resources that will help you make your career and your library the best they can be.

Beyond the Stacks

A podcast exploring interesting and unexpected career paths for librarians and information professionals.

Book Club for Masochists

Library staff discussing books they read that they hate. Every month, they randomly select a genre and choose a book to read and share on the podcast.

Book Riot - the Podcast

A weekly news and talk show about what's new, cool, and worth talking about in the world of books and reading, brought to you by the editors of Book Riot.

You may also want to check out their "All the Books" which is a weekly show of recommendations and discussions on new book releases and "Get Booked" which is a weekly show of custom book recommendations.

Circulating Ideas

Circulating Ideas facilitates conversations about the innovative people & ideas allowing libraries to thrive in the 21st century.

CYA Podcast

The CYA Podcast Blog is a review site for librarians by librarians who serve youth by librarians. Books are chosen by the reviewers and will be discussed on the podcast.

Cyberpunk Librarian

Daniel Messer, the Cyberpunk Librarian, talks about ideas, trends, and cool stuff for technologically minded librarians who are high tech and low budget,

Dewey Decibel

Dewey Decibel is a new podcast series from American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association. Each month, your host and American Libraries Associate Editor Phil Morehart will be your guide to conversations with librarians, authors, thinkers, and scholars about topics from the library world and beyond.

FYI: the Public Libraries Podcast

Public Library Association's Manager of Publications, Kathleen Hughes, interviews different people in public libraries on a specific topic like bed bugs, unprogramming, and special library initiatives.

Ladies Who Library

Lady librarians who talk about their experiences in the library and the books they read.

The Librarian is In

The New York Public Library’s podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.


Michael Schofield and Amanda L. Goodman talk design, development, and the user experience in libraries and higher-ed web.

Professional Book Nerds

We're not just book nerds: we're professional book nerds and the staff librarians who work at OverDrive, the leading app for eBooks and audiobooks available through public libraries and schools. Hear about the best books we've read, get personalized recommendations, and learn about the hottest books coming out that we can't wait to dive into.

Reading Envy

A podcast where Jenny talks about the books she's been reading and brings in other readers to do the same.

Smart Podcast, Trashy Books

Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books interviews romance authors and guests from the romance community, and discusses serious issues that appear in romance lit in a fun way. Lots of book recommendations are included, too, mostly romance and suspense but other genres are periodically mentioned.


Two boring librarians making libraries less boring.

The Worst Bestsellers

Worst Bestsellers is a podcast where Kait, Renata, and a guest talk about popular books of questionable quality. It’s kind of like How Did This Get Made? or Mystery Science Theater 3000, but for books. Their fabulous tag line is: We read stuff so you don't have to.

Do you know of any other library or book podcasts? Please share them in the comments below!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Coming Fall 2017

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. This month I wanted to share with you titles that I personally am looking forward to that are coming out this fall. Need a display for your library? Feature one or more staff member's favorite reads! You can also showcase older titles in a series that have new books coming out this fall.

Recommendations for Adults:

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich (Nov 2017)

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is back! Whether it's the love triangle with Ranger and Morriell, her car blowing up, or the kooky cast of characters I can't wait for more! If you're looking for a great audiobook series I highly recommend this one. This is the 24th book in the Stephanie Plum series.
Origin by Dan Brown (Oct 2017)
Combing art, religion, mystery and a thrilling adventure the Robert Langdon series, starting a Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology is back in his fifth novel. 
A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly (Sept 2017)
Set in Minnesota, Kathleen Paulson is a librarian who helps solve murders with the help of her cats Owen and Hercules. But these aren't ordinary cats - they have special abilities.... This is the 9th book in the Magical Cats mystery series.
Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton (Sept 2017)
I started reading this series in high school and I still look forward to new titles in the Kinsey Millhone series, which follows a private investigator in California in the 1980s.
Cat Got Your Secrets by Julie Chase (Sept 2017)
In case you haven't picked up on it yet I love mysteries with cats. This series set in New Orleans follows the owner of a pet boutique shop who keeps coming across murders. Plus, this is only the third book in the series so it won't take as long as the others to catch up.
Random Illustrated Facts by Mike Lowery (Oct 2017)
I love books with interesting trivia and I'm excited to read this one with illustrated facts. If you can't wait, I also highly recommend Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker. 

Recommendations for Teens:

Building Amazing Creations by Sean Kenney (Oct 2017)
Kenney has written a bunch of LEGO building books for kids. His over 800 of his LEGO creations are featured in this book.
I grew up with the Harry Potter series and eagerly await any new books relating to this series. I'm excited for this book in particular because I've always love how the wands seem to pair nicely with their owners' style and personality.
The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud (Sept 2017)
Ghosts are everyone and causing everyone harm in this series' world. But the only people who can see the ghosts are children and teens. The series follow the adventures of three teens who are members of the ghost-busting organization of Lockwood & Co.

Treat! by Christian Vieler (Sept 2017)
If you have ever seen the photographs in Underwater Dogs and Shake, you know how amazing photographers are when they get that perfect shot of animal. Can a dog be happier than when he's getting a treat?
Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki (Oct 2017)
I love the Lumberjanes graphic novels so this novel format featuring new adventures should be a hit.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Oct 2017)
In case you've been living under a rock, let me catch you up: John Green, author of amazing YA books such as The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, is releasing his first book in 5 years. Order it, read it, and be in the know because everyone will want to read this book.

Recommendations for Children:

Dawn and the Impossible Three: Graphic Novel by Ann M. Martin (Sept 2017)
My favorite book series as a child was the Baby-Sitters Club. I devoured every book. There's even a school picture of me somewhere holding a copy of The Complete Guide to the Baby-Sitters Club. The graphic novel series illustrated by Raina Telgemeier and now Gale Galligan, really bring this series to a whole new generation of readers.
Flora and the Ostrich: An Opposites Book by Molly Idle (Sept 2017)
I love Molly Idle and her illustrations. You may remember her and her Caldecott Honor book Flora and the Flamingo. Now even younger readers can enjoy her work with her newest board book.

Greg Heffley and is family are back in #12 as they set off to a tropical island for the holidays.
If you ask any of my coworkers or regular teen patrons they will tell you that I am obsessed with Grumpy Cat. Now she has her own Christmas book! Should you skip this book? NO.
I Am Gandhi and I Am Scagawea by Brad Meltzer (Oct 2017)
This is my favorite picture book biography series. The art is adorable and the information makes it easy for children to relate.
The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris (Nov 2017)
When ALA was recently held in Atlanta Neil Patrick Harris was the closing speaker and he talked about this new series he's writing. Not only does this sound like a great middle grade novel about non-Harry Potter-esque magic but the book itself is filled with secrets, ciphers, codes, and tricks to learn.
Mr. Lemoncello's Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein (Oct 2017)
If Mr. Lemoncello's library was hiring I would move. Does your library have "an IMAZ theater, an electronic learning center, instructional holograms, interactive dioramas and electromagnetic hover ladders that float patrons up to the books they want"? If so, let me know and I will send you my resume. I can't get enough of this series and look forward to reading book three.
Weird But True 9 (Nov 2017)
The Weird But True series is one of my favorites. National Geographic pairs interest facts with great pictures and word art for this educational, flip-through book. It may say kids on the cover but the facts are great for everyone.

What books are you looking forward to this fall?