Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2005-06-12

You Read About It Where?

"I just read about this great book in Kirkus and was wondering if you have it?"

When was the last time a patron asked that question? Probably the same time someone asked about for the Editor's Choice from Booklist.

Professional review journals are great and are a wonderful source of information for books, whether you are the one selecting for your library or doing reader's advisory. But your patrons don't read them.

Back in the day, in my prior life as a lawyer, I had never heard of Booklist or Publisher's Weekly or the other journals used in the profession. Vanity Fair was my source for finding out about cool books, both from their Fanfair : Hot Type section and from author interviews. It's how I discovered The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

This month's Fanfair highlights The Geneticist Who Played Hoops with My DNA by David Ewing; it "turns a scarily bright light on the exploding frontiers of biotechnology and genetic engineering, from stem-cell research to cloning to finding cures for deadly diseases." Vanity Fair also highlights fiction: "After packing her two kids off to summer camp, the heroine of Lisa Grunwald's Whatever Makes You Happy embarks on a quest to discover joy."

Vanity Fair also has author interviews and book excerpts. This month's excerpt is from the fascinating new book from Michael Finkel, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, about how just as Finkel was fired from the New York Times for fabricating part of a story, a suspected murderer was using Finkel's name and life story to escape detection in Mexico. After the suspect's arrest, Finkel began to correspond with the suspect.

Entertainment Weekly is about all entertainment, including books. Make Love* The Bruce Campbell Way by Bruce Campbell is fiction, with Campbell casting himself in a a movie starring Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger. Any one who knows Campbell's work on films like Evil Dead and series like Xena knows they are in for a trip like no other; I was laughing out loud reading the description, and I'm hoping both Gere and Zellweger have a sense of humor and say "we must make this into a movie!"

Magazines like these are not only helpful for purchasing; they are also valuable for displays and Reader's Advisory. Why not make a display, "As Seen In Entertainment Weekly" Or Vanity Fair or any other popular magazine that reviews books? It's not like you have to read the whole issue -- just the section reviewing books, or CDs, or DVDS. When a patron walks through the door and says, "I was just reading about something in a magazine, it's about Byron's daughter but set in the present day," you can say, Lord Byron's Novel by John Crowley.

And for the record, it looks like my library doesn't own either Lord Byron's Novel or Make Love; tomorrow I'll be filling out a couple Requests for Material slips.

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