If 1 more boy asks me for a read-alike to Alex Rider…

…I’ll read the series.

Okay, that’s a lie. I am not going to read the series. When I read books for professional purposes only (as opposed to books I want to read personally that just to happen to support my professional need), I do it to understand the story or the author. There is no reason for me to gain a better understanding of Alex Rider (no offense to Anthony Horowitz) because most of the teen boys in my library already read the books. What I need to read/research are books that are similar to Alex Rider so that I can do more than direct teen boys to the next one in the series…I can book talk similar titles and hopefully interest them in reading more. This is similar to the Twilight series circa 2007-2009. This got teen girls back into reading for fun, and by golly librarians were not going to let an opportunity like that slip through their fingers.

So here I am, having just recommended Michael Vey: the prisoner of cell 25, Higson’s Young Bond series, and James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series for the upteenth (yes, that’s a real number) time today. But having recommended each of them so often in the past week that school has been out, they are gone and the hold list for each is growing! 

I need more read-alikes! I need ideas!

My coworker (who is getting a master’s degree in public policy but should seriously reconsider majoring in social media prowess) is developing an Excel spreadsheet for the Teen Center librarians to use in cases like this. The tabs along the bottom of the spreadsheet will be genres, and next to the titles will be descriptions of the books and color-coded boxes to denote sex, violence, appropriate age-levels (9-12 is a whole lot different than 14-19). I cannot wait for her to put this project on our shared drive so we can begin collaborating. There are fantastic reader’s advisory (RA) resources out there in the wild Internet, but sometimes a nice in-house program is even better. It’s titles we know, that we recommend, that we have read (or at least one of us has), and that we can share with others.

I’ve been wanting to start a teen-generated book review binder in the Teen Center for teen readers to sift through at their leisure, to see what their peers are reading. But alas, I haven’t yet. Perhaps it’s a lack of desk space to keep said binder. Perhaps it’s my fear of it totally failing.

No, I’ll do it.

Tomorrow.

Someone check on me tomorrow to make sure I’ve started it.

Meanwhile, I have just taken on a new annual Performance Objective that reads “Compose four lists of materials to give to Collection Management Services”. That means that I will be recommending to our purchasing librarians which titles I think they should purchase. “The newest John Green” and “you know, that one by Libba Bray” won’t do. I should be able to support my suggestion on it’s appropriateness for our collection. Meaning, I must do my research. In my first library job (2007-2009) I read review journals and recommended books for purchase, but it was only when my branch manager asked, which wasn’t too often. So I have never done this kind of thing religiously. I guess now is as good a time as any to begin! Bring it on, Library Journal, VOYA, and Booklist!

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