Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In search of books teens actually want

I have a guilty little secret...I hate Booklist. And SLJ. And all the rest. Can't help it. After 10 minutes skimming reviews (trust me, I'm a world class skimmer) I hit a wall. Every review sounds the same, all the books sound dull dull dull and I take my ADD little self for a mental stroll around the block.

How do librarians get through all this [fill in your own scatalogical noun] to determine what teens want? It's not Booklist! Many of us rely on material from organizations like the American Booksellers Association and daily newsletters like Book Sense. I also take a careful look at book reviews in People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and Seventeen. I hang out at Barnes and Noble to check out new displays. I read pop culture blogs like Whitney Matheson's Pop Candy to catch this old lady up on what's new and wonderful. I won't say traditional review sources are dead, exactly. But Grandma surely is sitting on the roof!

And what prompted this mini-rant? I was looking at Carlie Webber's blog (Librarilly Blonde) and here's what she said: Professional journals are indispensable when doing collection development, but buzz, pop culture attention, and advertising are extremely powerful things and those, not professional journals, are what make a lot of people walk into our libraries and request books. The power of sparkly vampires is not to be underestimated.

I'm off in search of the next sparkly vampire....

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