Recently, I discovered a post on Book Riot (if you don’t know about Book Riot yet – you’re welcome), titled A Call to Action for Librarians, written by Shauntee Burns-Simpson, NYPL librarian and President of the New York Black Librarians’ Caucus. In it, she challenges librarians – and library staff – to critically examine our readers’ advisory philosophies. Are you exposing your users to the full range of authors and literature out there? She asks.
Are we? Am I?
I think it’s really easy to fall into the routine of recommending the same authors over and over again. Like Jeffrey Archer? You’ll love Vince Flynn. James Patterson? Michael Connelly. In exchange for a quick fix answer to our readers’ advisory questions, I think we’ve inadvertently sacrificed a chance to promote more diverse books.
In the article, Burns-Simpson lays out a few questions for us to ask ourselves:
- Do you always pick the same genre of books for your book discussion?
- What type of book displays do you create to showcase diverse literature?
- What authors do you invite to your library?
- Is it always well-known authors, or do you invite not-so established authors to have platform to talk about their books?
When we bear these questions in mind, we open up conversation surrounding the need for heterogeneity in the book trade, and we have an opportunity – one that I feel is unique to our profession – to foster change in our communities, and to take it upon ourselves to promote diversity in literature. Because now, more than ever, #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Fraser Valley Regional Library