Friday, December 30, 2016

Literary Holidays to Celebrate All Year Long

It's almost the new year, and you know what that means - planning for next year! I love planning almost as much as I love celebrating, so I've gone ahead and compiled a list of holidays to celebrate all year long, so I can get my 2017 calendar in order. If you have more literature-based or library-friendly holidays, please let me know and I will add them!

Please note that, while many of these holidays are officially sponsored by (and you can purchase posters and such from) the American Library Association, many of them are made up just for fun, and there is no official, cohesive, governing body. As such, you can celebrate them however you like. I have linked to official sources where I was able.


National Braille Literacy Month (Louis Braille was born 1/4/1809)
1/18 – Winnie the Pooh Day (A.A.Milne’s Birthday)
1/19 – Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday
1/29 – “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is first published


Love Your Library Month
2/4 – Take Your Child to the LibraryDay (first Saturday of February)


First full week – Return of Borrowed Books Week
3/2 - Read Across America (Dr. Seuss’s Birthday)
3/4 – National Grammar Day
3/5-11 (First full week of March) – Read an eBook Week
3/15 – The Ides of March (Julius Caesar is stabbed, 44 B.C.)
4/2 – International Children’s Book Day (Hans Christian Anderson’s Birthday)
4/13 (Thursday of National Library Week) – Celebrate Teen Literature Day
4/12 – D.E.A.R. Day (Beverly Cleary’s birthday)
4/18 – National Columnists Day (in memory of well-known columnist and 1944 Pulitzer Prize winner Ernie Pyle, who died in WWII)
4/21 – Poem in Your Pocket Day
4/23 – Shakespeare’s birthday
4/23 – World Book Day
4/27 – National Tell a Story Day


5/2 - Harry Potter Day (May 2 was the day of the Battle of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series; many also celebrate July 31, which is both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's birthdays)
5/4 – Intergalactic Star Wars Day ("May the Fourth be with you.")
5/6 – Free Comic Book Day (first Saturday in May)
5/9 – Peter Pan Day (James M. Barrie’s birthday)
5/25 – Towel Day (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Day)


LGBTBook Month, Audiobook Appreciation Month
6/12 – Anne Frank’s birthday (on which she received her diary)
6/19 – National Garfield the Cat Day (strip is first published, 1978)


Read an Almanac Month
7/16-21 (third week of July) – Hemingway Days takes place in the Florida Keys
7/30 – National Paperback Book Day
7/31 – Harry Potter Day (July 31is both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's; many also celebrate May 2, which was the day of the Battle of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series)


8/9 – Book Lovers’ Day


 Library Card Sign-Up Month, Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month
9/6 – Read a Book Day
9/22 – Hobbit Day
9/22 – Dear Diary Day
Last week of Sept. – Banned BooksWeek
Wednesday of Banned Books Week – Banned Websites Awareness Day


National Book Month (no longer sponsored by the National Book Foundation, but we can celebrate anyway)
10/6 – Mad Hatter Day (because his hat says 10/6)
10/9-15 (week of Columbus Day) – Teen Read Week
10/16 – Dictionary Day (Noah Webster’s Birthday)

11/6 – National Non-Fiction Day (it's "national" in England; let's spread it internationally!) 
11/14 – Astrid Lindgren’s birthday (author of Pippi Longstocking)
11/18 – High-Five a Librarian Day
Third Saturday of November – International Games Day


Read a New Book Month
12/1 – Sherlock Holmes Day (“A Study in Scarlet” was said to have been first published 12/1/1887 - this is actually in dispute, but we can still celebrate)
12/16 – Jane Austen’s birthday

Friday, December 23, 2016

3 Amazing Ways Libraries Have Helped Their Communities

Libraries are doing amazing work for their communities and we wanted to highlight a few today that makes us proud to be a librarian. Keep up the great work, everyone!

Mental Health First Aid Training for California Public Library Staff

Due to a mental health initiative by the state of California, librarians from across the state are being trained to on how to work effectively and compassionately with people living with mental health issues. This new initiative isn't intended to replace professionals, but designed to connect people to the help they need, either it is finding a book or finding a professional to speak to.

Prisoners Video Chat With Relatives After Expansion of Library Program

Prison visits are in the midst of a big change. Instead of in-person visits, they are now installing technology for video chat visits. This is great for relatives who live far away but it comes with lots of costs, including the fees families have to pay to use the service and leaves out those who don't have the technology to connect online. To solve this problem, New York Public Library collaborated with the city's Department of Correction, putting the technology in every library where anyone can book an hour to talk with a loved one incarcerated at Rikers Island.

Assisting micro-enterprise businesses in success in Kings Mountain

Back in 2012, small businesses in Kings Mountain, NC were closing as fast as they were opening. The city investigated the problem and realized that new business owners weren't equipped with the knowledge and experience to run a successful business. So, Kings Mountain Library applied and won the LSTA grant, hired a Business Librarian who ran classes for these small businesses on topics like using door counters, having secret shoppers and learning from their experiences, having the police do a free safety and security audit (which they already do), technology access and education (especially all the great tools offered at the library), graphic designers to develop logos and helping them update their basic info on Google Maps. The program was a success!

Bonus Story:
Shelter dogs feel lonely and abandoned, so children practice reading books to them

Ok, this isn't a library story, but we think this is so cool and a great idea for libraries to adopt! In Missouri, children volunteer to read to shelter dogs. This encourages the dogs to hang out at the front of their kennel, which helps them to get adopted quicker. It also helps children improve their reading and public speaking skills.

Do you have any great library stories to share? We'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ready to Go Display: Read Dessert First

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. Here's some tasty books without the calories.

Recommendations for Adults:

Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay (Mar 2010)
In the first book of Cupcake Bakery mystery series, Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura, the proud owners of the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery, race against time to save their business and catch a killer who used their cupcakes to kill a famous fashion designer.
Éclair and Present Danger by Laura Bradford (June 2016)
When her elderly neighbor, a widower named Bart, is found dead, smothered by a pillow, bakery owner Winnie Johnson, while comforting her frightened and grieving neighbors with baked goods, decides to stir things up to catch a killer who preys on the helpless.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Oct 2010)
Discovering in childhood a supernatural ability to taste the emotions of others in their cooking, Rose Edelstein grows up to regard food as a curse when it reveals everyone's secret realities.
How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue (Mar 2012)
When childhood friends, Annie and Julia, reconnect as adults and decide to open a cupcakery, they must overcome old betrayals, first loves, and a dangerous threat.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke (Mar 2011)
Cookie-baking sleuth Hannah Swensen must protect her reputation when a popular delivery man is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's cookies scattered around him.
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman (June 2014)
Russian immigrant Malka arrives in 1913 Manhattan, where she struggles to survive and learns trade secrets from an Italian ices peddler before setting off across America in an ice cream truck with a handsome, illiterate radical to seek their fortunes.
The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig (June 2015)
A pastry chef with an uncanny ability returns to her hometown to make sense of her future while delving into the past.
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich (June 2012)
Dazzling her patrons with scrumptious cupcakes at her Salem, MA bakery, Elizabeth Tucker continues to fall for the irresistible Diesel, who protects her from a villain who is seeking mystical stones tied to the seven deadly sins.

Recommendations for Teens:
Dessert First by Dean Gloster (Sept 2016)
High school sophomore Kat struggles with her twelve-year-old brother's recurring leukemia and likely death while coping with mean girls at school and possible romance.
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler (Jan 2012)
Hudson Avery gave up a promising competitive ice skating career after her parents divorced when she was fourteen years old and now spends her time baking cupcakes and helping out in her mother's diner, but when she gets a chance at a scholarship and starts coaching the boys' hockey team, she realizes that she is not through with ice skating after all.
Cake Pop Crush by Suzanne Nelson (Feb 2016)
While working at her family's small bakery making her specialty cake pops, Alicia develops a secret crush on the son of the new coffee-shop owners from across the street who are threatening her family's business.
The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler (Sept 2009)
While longing to return to life in NYC, thirteen-year-old Penny helps her mother and grandmother run a cupcake bakery in Hog's Hollow, tries to avoid the beastly popular girls, to be a good friend to quirky Tally, and to catch the eye of enigmatic Marcus.
Close to Famous by Joan Bauer (Feb 2011)
Twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother escape from her mother's abusive boyfriend and end up in the small town of Culpepper, West Virginia, where they use their strengths and challenge themselves to build a new life, with the help of the friends they make there.

Recommendations for Kids:
The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat (Sept 2016)
There are only three cookies and four hungry friends to share them with. This is not good. This is not equal!
Katie and the Cupcake Cure by Coco Simon (May 2011)
Disappointed because she's been ostracized by the popular girls' club that has given entry to her best friend, Katie forms a new baking club with fellow outsiders Mia, Emma and Alexis.
A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins (Jan 2015)
This book follows families from England to California and from 1710 to 2010, preparing and enjoying the dessert called blackberry fool.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
A young and very accommodating boy discovers you can never tell where it will stop if you give a lively, but demanding, mouse a cookie.
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems (Apr 2012)
Pigeon is very angry when the duckling gets a cookie just by asking politely.
Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis (May 2015)
A little boy writes a letter to his grandfather about all the reading and studying he is doing this summer - but all his activities revolve around ice cream.
Save the Cupcake! by Lisa Papademetriou (May 2012)
Hayley's world is far from perfect: her parents have divorced, her mom has lost her job, and she and her sister Chloe are stuck sharing a bedroom in their grandmother's apartment. Luckily, Hayley has a knack for baking cupcakes - and cupcakes always make life just a little sweeter.
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass (Oct 2010)
When four twelve-year-olds, including Logan, who has grown up never leaving his parent's Life Is Sweet factory, compete in the Confectionary Association's annual contest, they unexpectedly become friends and uncover secrets about themselves during the process.

Friday, December 9, 2016

12 Tips to Make Facebook Events Successful for Your Library

Lisa Waite Bunker, the Social Media Librarian from Pima County Public Library, posted a great Facebook post about how Facebook Events have worked for her library. With her permission, we're sharing her post below. We hope her stats will convince you to use Facebook Events, and the tips at the end will help you get started!

Without further ado, here's Lisa's post:

I knew FB events were pretty successful, but now I have numbers!

Our stats in context:
  • no ads or boosts
  • almost 10,000 Likes on the primary page, 26 branch pages are much smaller

Over a sample period of 5 months, we entered 134 events on Facebook, and had 160,307 reach (awareness, or the number of individuals who saw the event in their newsfeed).

For example, events that were widely shared (by people, bloggers, other pages) the reach could go as high as 7,952 (a career day for teens, co-sponsored by the university). Some events have gone even higher.

Average event reach per month: 32,061. Extrapolated over 12 months that would be event reach of 384,736 people per year.

Events have always been possible on Facebook, but in late 2015* they became much more effective, more discoverable. As a result I’ve been encouraging staff to enter more events, and going in after to add the primary system page as a co-host, which vastly increased the exposure beyond the branch’s page. The rumor is that FB will add a new events app, in an attempt to compete with Eventbrite and Meetup.

If you go into your Insights, you can see your own stats on the “Events” tab.

I hope your takeaway is that you want to add more events!

Some other things to keep in mind

  • Facebook launched a brand new Events app that appears to be direct competition with If this is like other new additions they will incentivize event creation. 
Example of the new Facebook App from Pima County Public Library

Facebook's advertisement of the new Event App
  • Events can be saved as drafts, and scheduled.
  • Your following can subscribe to your page’s events. I notice that a lot of bloggers have done this.
  • Events can also be easily duplicated if they are a series.
  • You will need a good image for the banner.
  • Be sure you check the box for “free” and/or “family-friendly” when applicable.
  • If the event requires registration I highly recommend you add that in the event name. People assume that if they say they are going on FB that we know they’ll be there.
  • Once you create an event you can invite personal friends. (Don’t spam them tho!)
  • Everyone who is invited, or indicates interest, will get all event updates regardless of Facebook’s algorithm.
  • Facebook *automatically* sends an event reminder the day of the event.
  • If a programming partner creates a FB event for an event you are co-hosting you can easily add that event to the branch’s calendar without asking for access to their page.
  • I don’t recommend adding A WHOLE BUNCH of events, just the ones you really want to promote; also, it gets spammy.

Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your wisdom on the 5 Minute Librarian. We hear you are working on a chapter about social media for a book that'll be coming out soon. We look forward to it!

Friday, December 2, 2016

How GoodReads Makes Me a Better Librarian

I am not shy about talking up the things I love. Library pets, NoveList, zombie makeup - you all know me pretty well by now. You know what else I love? GoodReadsWe all know it, many of us use it for our own personal reading. But it's only recently that I really sat down and thought about how it makes me a better librarian.

How Can it Work for Me? 

You can use GoodReads for so many things!

Reviews/Book Talks 

The #1 thing I use GoodReads for is to write reviews of books that I've read. When I've finished a book, I take a few minutes to write up a booktalk for that title. That way, when a year has gone by and somebody asks me about it, I can pull up my review and - BAM! Booktalk!

The big debate here is actually whether to give negative reviews or not. If it's a library account, I would say not to - someone is going to want this book, regardless of whether I personally enjoyed it - but if it's my personal account, I just go ahead and do it. As librarians, we can't read every book, and we rely on the reviews of others to help us out in collection development and recommendations. If people aren't upfront about it - at least with the number of stars they'd give - we don't know how good a book actually is. So, go ahead. Be honest.


When you go to a book's GoodReads page, you'll see other book covers over to the right side, with the label, "Readers Also Enjoyed." (Click on that to get a whole list.) You may know the recommended books, or you may not, but even looking at them will likely jog your memory. 

When you have read enough, GoodReads will recommend books based on your personal reading history. Since I log in with a personal page, this is nice for me personally, but not as much professionally. It does help in seeing books I hadn't known about that I can consider to add to my collection (or TBR pile), but unless you have a smaller group with similar views (say, a GoodReads account for your book club), it might not be as useful. 


There is a list for everything on here, from the very broad ("Best Books of the Year") to the very specific ("Lesbian Science Fiction"). Anyone can make a list, so you may or may not agree with the items that are chosen, but even looking at them can remind you of others. You can also vote on some lists, so they're a compilation of many viewpoints. (You can also discuss your choices in the comments.) I have heard complaints that nonfiction books are under-represented, but I find that it's a good resource for fiction books.

What Comes Next?

There are lots of places where you can find out what book comes next in a given series, but I've found that GoodReads is the easiest to use (though NoveList is also awesome). Find your book, click the name of the series, and it'll give you all the books in that series, in order, and their date of publication. (In fact, GoodReads is so on top of this that I have found out the name of the next book in a series there, when it doesn't seem to be listed anywhere else.)

Get Connected with Groups

If your book club is online, you can create a group for them. Make a bookshelf of books your club has already read, so you don't duplicate. Have online group discussions about books - the current selection, or not - and make the group seem more like a group of friends, and less like a bunch of people who get together for an hour once a month.

I am also a member of a group that does a Mock Newbery Award every year. I'm sorry to say that I'm not very active in the group, but I do go take a look at what others are thinking might be the best books of the year, so I can consider adding them to my collection (and my TBR pile). 

The GoodReads Blog

The GoodReads blog is great for keeping on top of new releases, and ideas for books to recommend to people. At the time of this writing, the blog is featuring some great holiday gift guides (yeah, what DO I get for coworkers?), but also has articles such as, "7 Great Titles Hitting the Shelves Today" and opinion pieces such as "10 Book Families You Wish You Could Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner." If you need ideas for displays or seasonal recommendations (in addition to Allie's great lists), you're covered.

News & Interviews

Check out the News and Interviews page (from the Browse menu at the top, click "News and Interviews") and see what's new on the site. Read author interviews, and check out a list of the titles people have been reading and rating as the best books of the month, and don't get surprised when you have seven people ask you for a book that you've never heard of.

GoodReads Choice Awards

How cool is this? Anyone and everyone can vote for the best books of the year, separated into various categories. These awards are actually voted on by readers like us, and our patrons. If the best book of the year is voted on by actual people who enjoy that genre, it's a fair bet that it's a pretty good one to consider adding to your collection - or, at least, to be aware of.

And also...

There's more. There's a lot more: Q&As with actual authors, ARC giveaways (you can set your preferences to alert you when an author you like, or books in a genre you like, have new giveaways - great for prizes!), discussion groups. There are even fan-made trivia games! If you have the Chrome Library Extension set up, it will tell you whether the book you're looking at is available in your library/consortium right there on the page. If you follow GoodReads on Twitter or Facebook, they also post some great content that you can share on your own social media.

I'm sure there are ways to use GoodReads professionally that I haven't even thought about. What do you use it for? Tell us here in the comments, on Twitter, or on Facebook