Library Reads

LibraryReads List

October 2015

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books available in October that librarians across the country love. You can request the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley!

Additional LibraryReads titles, not currently available on NetGalley:

Welcome to Night Vale by Jeffrey Cranor
ISBN 9780062351425

Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA
by Roberta Kaplan with Lisa Dickey
ISBN 9780393248678

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Librarian_spotlight

 

 

We’d like to welcome Alicia Vandenbroek as our featured librarian from Shackelford Library at Shackelford Junior High School. Alicia is a long-time NetGalley member, a tech-savvy librarian, an author, and reviewer who shares how she incorporates technology in her library, which upcoming titles she’s looking forward to, and tips for considering which books to read and review for your audience.  

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A nice place to start is with your librarian origin story – how did you become a junior high school librarian?

I’ve had a passion for books for as long as I can remember. Even at a young age, my mom always made sure I had access to books from the library. I found out in high school that being a writer might be harder than I thought, so I began to investigate jobs that would allow me to write and also explore other passions (like working with kids). I soon fell in love with teaching. After six years, I started to look for ways I could still teach, but reach a larger audience. The library was the perfect fit! It is an ideal place for collaboration, the geeky tech stuff I enjoy, books, and kids… lots of kids! Add a makerspace into the mix, and it is literally my dream job. Right now it is such a joy to see students experience things that they never thought possible and challenge themselves to do more.

As a self-proclaimed “tech nerd,” how is technology incorporated into your library, for your students but also for yourself and your staff? Do you have any goals for incorporating further technology into your library?

Yes, I’m a nerd. That used to bother me, but I embraced my inner geek a long time ago. I even rock a Haven and a Firefly shirt from time to time (only nerds will get that). What I love most about tech is that it isIMG_0009 continually evolving. Life is a journey and you can never be complacent. Technology forces us to keep growing and expanding. I started learning code last year. I stink, but I know enough Scratch to stay one step ahead of my makers and we learn together. In the library technology is a huge part of my makerspace and my lessons. Last year we got a grant for a 3D printer and 3D Doodler pens, so I’m very excited to incorporate those into curriculum this year. We’ve added some life skill tech in the form of sewing machines and a button maker too. The plan is to do some cool wearable art this year.  In lessons we use tech to enrich the curriculum through activities like online research, speedbooking, and student lead projects. I try to lead by example and then I also offer classes at both a local and regional level.

In addition to being a librarian, you also run a blog, Poetry of Words – can you describe the focus of your blog and the types of titles you review there? 

Initially, it was going to be a book blog only, but occasionally I also blog about some of the cool things happening at school like our STEAM festival. I mostly review YA books because that is largely what I read, but I review other books also like professional, nonfiction, and some christian fiction. The blog gives a summary of the book, what I thought of the book, and then some other tips like grade level, genre, etc. Continue reading “Librarian Spotlight – Alicia Vandenbroek”

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Review Tips, From the Librarian Perspective

We’re happy to welcome Amanda Buschmann, a Middle School Librarian and reviewer for School Library Journal. Amanda has provided tips for writing reviews, which were also included in our live-webcast (which you can watch here). Read on for her tip 5 tips!

Organize
Briefly sketch out an outline before you begin. A helpful review is one that is organized; begin with an eye-catching introduction that entices and intrigues. A quote, a statement of the narrative situation, and your “thesis” lead the way.

Share
Summarize the plot, sure, but spend most of the review discussing your personal commentary. What did you like/dislike, and why? What makes this book different than others of its ilk?

Insert
Quotes are helpful and give the potential reader an idea of the verbiage–something you found interesting, something that confused you, a cool line that makes you pause.

Entice
Identify a theme/key idea and introduce it to entice the reader. Does the book touch on whether or not it’s morally acceptable to terraform another planet, or covet your friend’s promotion, or so on? Discuss it without spoiling the “answer”!

Recommend
Include “If you like this, then you’d like…” recommendations, as well as recommendations on age group (if applicable) and applications.

Click here to watch the full webcast, where Amanda is joined by other review experts & read our other informational Recipes for Success articles!

To connect with Amanda, follow @thegoodread on twitter. 

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Library Reads

LibraryReads List

September 2015

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books available in September that librarians across the country love. You can request the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley!

Additional LibraryReads titles, not currently available on NetGalley:

The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo
ISBN 9780062390547

The Scribe by Matthew Guinn
ISBN 9780393239294

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Library Reads

LibraryReads List

August 2015

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books available in August that librarians across the country love. You can request the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley!

Additional LibraryReads titles, not currently available on NetGalley:

Best Boy: A Novel by Eli Gottlieb
ISBN 9781631490477

The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
by Louise Penny
ISBN 9781250022080

Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books
by Michael Dirda
ISBN 9781605988443

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Library Reads

LibraryReads List

July 2015

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books available in July that librarians across the country love. You can request the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley!

Additional LibraryReads titles, not currently available on NetGalley:

Crooked Heart: A Novel by Lissa Evans
ISBN 9780062364838

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Library Reads

LibraryReads List

June 2015

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books published this month that librarians across the country love. You can request the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley!

Additional LibraryReads titles, not currently available on NetGalley:

The Invasion of the Tearling: A Novel by Erika Johansen
ISBN 9780062290397

 

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Reader Spotlight

Blog name: Stacy Alesi’s BookBitch.com
Blog URL: http://stacyalesi.com
Your name: Stacy Alesi

Can you explain the different features of BookBitch.com and what genres you primarily focus on?

There are two primary features; reviews and giveaways. I personally review mostly crime fiction, romance, books that appeal to book clubs, and cookbooks. I also cover food writing, occasional memoirs, sci-fi, fantasy, and graphic novels. I have other reviewers who contribute reviews of dystopian fiction, Young Adult, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, horror and pretty much anything else that they want.

Each month I do a giveaway of autographed thrillers in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. One lucky winner gets anywhere from 8-12 books or so, all signed by the authors, and what’s even more special about this giveaway is that it is open to anyone over the age of 18 anywhere in the world. I’ve had winners from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and of course North America. I also do other giveaways sporadically throughout the month, and occasionally feature guest bloggers.

How long have you been blogging about books and why did you start?

I am one of the original book bloggers, I’ve been online since 1998! I originally started the site as a way to keep track of books I had read, way before LibraryThing or Goodreads, and it just sort of grew from there. About a year after I started, I was contacted by a publisher (who has since been swallowed up by ever bigger publishers) and asked if I would give away their books on my website and the rest, as they say, is history. I wish I would have kept better track of how many books I’ve given away over the years, but it is easily in the thousands.

Since you’ve been blogging for such a substantial amount of time, how has the book blogging landscape changed over the last 15 years?

The biggest change is how many people are blogging about books now. When I started I had never even heard of a book blog, and truth be told, the closest thing to a “blog” was probably called a “weblog” back then. According to dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, the first known use of the word “blog” appeared in 1999 (that’s my inner geek librarian peeking out.) My first website was a free site on Geocities.

Now there are what seems like hundreds of book blogs. There are blogs for every type of reader, every genre, for ebooks, for librarians, booksellers and well, anything and everything to do with books. A lot of blogs are very commercial, with tons of ads, and that’s something I’ve kept away from. I never wanted to feel beholden to anyone or any company for a review, much less a positive review, so I just keep my head down and do what I do without any interference. I’ve also mentored some book bloggers – Lesa Holstine started out reviewing for my site and now has a very successful blog of her own, and Becky LeJeune still submits reviews for my site, but her own blog is growing as well.

For other book bloggers who have contributors, or are thinking of adding contributors, can you offer some insight into how you manage multiple Reviewers and how books are assigned?

For the most part, my reviewers read whatever they want and submit their reviews as they can. I do receive many review requests every day, and when something looks like it may appeal to one of my reviewers, I will ask if they are interested. It is their decision, even after receiving a book, whether or not they want to review it. It took me many, many years to finally be able to put a book down without finishing it (and I never review a book I haven’t read completely) so I don’t impart a different standard on my reviewers. Ideally, I would like enough content to post something new every day, so having contributing reviewers helps meet that goal.

Which review that you recently submitted via NetGalley is your favorite?

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah was a terrific surprise, it was very different from her previous books. I have enjoyed all of her books, but this one was truly special. In a lighter vein, I also really enjoyed The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, and will be submitting a review shortly.

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Read Stacy’s Review!

What title on NetGalley are you excited to read next?

I just requested Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay, he’s one of my favorite thriller writers. I have a couple on my immediate to-be-read list though, Memory Man by David Baldacci and The President’s Shadow by Brad Meltzer, and they are already on my Kindle. I’ve even been reading on my iPhone – I never mind having to wait in line anywhere!

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How has being a NetGalley member and having access to digital galleys impacted your blogging and reviewing?

It just makes it so much more convenient! Publishers can email me a widget for a book they’d like reviewed and a couple of clicks later, I’m reading. Plus it saves time; I can hear about a book, find it on NetGalley, read it and review it all in the same day. It’s immediate gratification that I have come to take for granted.

How do you feel your additional librarian and bookseller experience has helped shape your blog and your reviews?

I’ve been working with the reading public for almost twenty years now, and reviewing professionally for about 15 years. I reviewed for Library Journal for over ten years, and for Booklist for the past several years, and all those book are assigned. So for my blog, I try to read and review titles that I feel my readers and my library patrons will want to know about. Recently that happened with The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It was wonderful to hear about a book that was garnering so much buzz, find it on NetGalley, download it and read it. I was ready for my patrons when it hit the NY Times bestseller list. On the other end of the spectrum, I love finding those books that may be under the radar, like The Organ Broker by Stu Strumwasser or Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge, both debut novels that I can recommend to those ravenous readers that constantly need to find new authors.

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If you were going on a long journey and could bring no books or devices, but you had time to commit just one book to memory, which would it be?

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, because frankly, that was the point of that book and I thought Ray Bradbury was a genius. I much prefer being asked which one book I would bring to a desert island, and that would be À La Recherche du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust, in the original French. I studied French all through school and have forgotten most of it, but I think if I had nothing to do but read Proust, I would eventually be able to get through it. It would keep me busy for sure!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our members?

I have been an avid reader all my life, and to be able to share books that I love with readers is a dream come true. It’s also an honor and a responsibility that I take very seriously. Nothing makes me happier than when someone reads a book on my recommendation and then shoots me an email to tell me how much they enjoyed it. I even cherish those comments from readers who hate a book I recommended – at least they are reading! Anyone who is passionate about what they read, even if they don’t agree with me, is a person I would be honored to know, and my blog is a great vehicle for meeting new readers.

Thanks so much for spending some time with us and answering our questions Stacy!

Please make sure to check out Stacy Alesi’s BookBitch.com and stay tuned for our next Blogger Spotlight.

Would you like to nominate your blog, or a blog you admire, to be featured in our Blogger Spotlight series?
Fill out this form.

*Interviewed by Tarah Theoret

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Library Reads

LibraryReads List

May 2015 list

LibraryReads has announced the top ten books published this month that librarians across the country love. You can request the featured titles below on NetGalley right now, and view more information on the LibraryReads site

If you are a librarian, you can nominate titles for the LibraryReads list via NetGalley!

Additional LibraryReads titles, not currently available on NetGalley:

Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson
ISBN 9780062190376

 

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Librarian_spotlight

 

 

Welcome Mandy Peterson, Media Specialist at Schuyler Community Schools in Schuyler, Nebraska, as our guest. Mandy is a long-time NetGalley member, a plugged-in librarian and has been generous enough to answer our questions about the role of technology in her library. Keep reading to discover how Mandy became a librarian, what a 1:1 school is, and what she’s reading via NetGalley!

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A great place to start is your librarian origin story – how did you become a school librarian?

In my fifth year of teaching, I realized that the library was my favorite place to go. When my students were at lunch or in specials, I frequently could be found browsing or volunteering to reshelve books. During these visits, the librarian and I developed a nice comradery and I began bouncing ideas around for what grad program I should begin. Originally, I was thinking math or science. She suggested the library program at University of Nebraska at Omaha. The head of the Library program drove 2 hours to come visit me at my house. After that meeting with Dr. Rebecca Pasco, I was not only “sold”, but I was also confident that library was the right direction for me. I continued teaching while taking graduate courses to become a librarian. When the high school librarian in my district retired, I was fortunate enough to snag the position. We are currently taking the library from a traditional library to a 21st century library (as well as changing the role of librarian). I love working with the students, parents, teachers, staff, and community at Schuyler Community Schools!

How has having access to digital galleys impacted how you recommend titles for purchase but also to your students?

Through digital galleys, I know what’s coming up. As I read, I may not personally love the book but I can usually think of the student who will. So I talk to them, “Hey, I’m reading this book you might like. Here’s what it’s about…” Then I allow students to help me decide what to purchase. If they seem interested, I’m all over it. Digital galleys have also encouraged me to go outside of my personal preference zone. I am usually decidedly dystopian and sci fi young adult lit. Through NetGalley, I’ve discovered paranormal/horror, contemporary, and historical fiction that I really enjoyed. These purchases have been incredibly easy to make because I’ve seen the quality of the material. Purchasing on blind faith with tax payer money is rough. I am able to feel more secure when I’ve already previewed the material. I’ve actually recommended NetGalley books to family members, other library buddies, and community organizations. Since I also post my reviews to our blog, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, and Goodreads, strangers are using my recommendations to decide what they should read – which is a very flattering notion!

Do you have a certain strategy for finding new titles, particularly on NetGalley?

I immediately head to Young Adult/Teen books. Not only is it what is mostly in the SCHS Library, but it is also what I enjoy reading personally. Don’t tell anyone but I am a bit of a total cover snob. The cover is what first attracts me. I am more apt to read the galley of an author I have never read before. Publisher summaries are a big deal. I find that a well-written summary can move a book from “meh, I’ll read it when I get time” to “I MUST READ THIS IMMEDIATELY!”.

What upcoming book on NetGalley are you the most excited about sharing with your students?

WOW! Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran hands down. I hadn’t read any of her books before and historical lit wasn’t really my interest. This book blew me away. I have my dystopian kids who are devouring the Shatter Me series (by Tahareh Mafi) and historical fiction fans reading The Walled City (by Ryan Graudin) – all are eagerly awaiting the release of Rebel Queen.

Click to view on NetGalley
Click to view on NetGalley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Librarian Spotlight”

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