April 16, 2019
In the Stacks with Librarians
by Christina Cerio
Last Thursday, The Book Industry Guild of New York (BIGNY) hosted an event titled “In the Stacks with Librarians,” which was a fantastic panel featuring:
Karen Ginman, Manager of Youth Collections at NYPL and BPL
Michelle Leo, VP Director of Education and Library Marketing at Simon and Schuster
Skip Dye, VP Library and Academic Sales at Penguin Random House
Melissa Jacobs, Director of Library Services for the NYC Department of Education
and moderator Rebecca Miller, Editorial Director of Library Journal and School Library Journal.
I am cursed with a horrible memory, so I usually bring my little notebook to scribble facts and powerful sentences from every speaking event I attend. I was horrified to realize I forgot my notebook for this one but was later relieved to learn that a board member from BIGNY live-tweeted the whole event.
The event was about 2 hours long and covered a lot of library-related information such as how librarians select books and differences between school and public libraries, and through those conversations, moderator Rebecca Miller compiled a list of trends that the panel members mentioned. Most panelists agreed on the following trends in libraries:
Audiobooks and books with built-in audio
Audiobooks are great for readers on the go, readers with disabilities, illiterate people, and visually impaired readers. We’ve all heard of audiobooks, even if some of us still refer to them as “books on tape.” This panel, however, discussed an audiobook form I hadn’t heard of yet: talking books for children and adults. I wasn’t able to find any examples online, but Karen Ginman described them as game-changing for adults and children that are learning how to read. She suggested reading along in the book while listening could help teach people how to read and the built in audio won’t exclude people that don’t have access to a smartphone or computer.
Large print for young adult books
The librarians agreed that they prefer large print YA books that do not advertise “large print” on the front. Large print is helpful to people with reading disabilities because there is more white space, which improves word recognition. It’s great to have large print exist as an option for YA books, but when advertised, librarians agreed that it deters some readers who don’t want their peers to know about their reading differences.
Diverse books written by diverse authors
The key part of this trend is “by diverse authors.” Librarians see a huge need for books, especially children and YA books, by and about people of color, LGBTQIA+ authors, immigrant authors, and more. The panel noted that even if a child or teen feels too shy to check out books on a certain experience they are having, they notice the books are still being read inside the library.
Overall, the panel was an important reminder of what an incredible resource libraries are and how amazing librarians are.
Christina Cerio is the Direct Sales Associate and Publishers Assistant at Melville House.