Over the last few years of tussling of e-books, librarians have constantly reminded publishers of the role they play in the discovery of books and authors. And now, with the launch of a new partnership, librarians and publishers will be pulling in the same directions: LibraryReads, a new recommendation program, will highlight public librarians’ favorite new books. Set to launch in fall 2013, the venture is open to all public library staff, and will serve as a national “library staff picks list.”
To start, LibraryReads will feature 10 adult titles each month that library staff “have read, have loved, and cannot wait to share” with their patrons. “There are 16,000 public library buildings in the United States,” says Robin Nesbitt, Collection Management Director, Columbus Metropolitan Library, “and every day, thousands of people who work in libraries recommend books in all categories and genres to the communities they serve. LibraryReads will harness their passion and deep book knowledge, and create a new way to connect readers and authors, using the incredible collective outreach of library systems, big and small, across the country.”
The launch of LibraryReads is being led by a steering committee of various public librarians and library advocates, with feedback from allied organizations, including the American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers. The American Booksellers Association, which developed the Indie Next List, is lending their expertise and back-office support. Oren Teicher, CEO of ABA called the venture “a wonderful initiative to spread the word about books and to harness the vast knowledge of librarians in putting books in reader's hands.”
Librarians say LibraryReads grew out of informal conversations at a library conference in the summer of 2011. Over the next year and half, librarians and library advocates met to discuss how to build a volunteer program that would showcase the collective impact of public libraries on the national reading culture. Conversations with publishers began at meetings of the Association of American Publishers Trade Libraries Committee.
The cost of creating the Web site libraryreads.org, as well as the cost of producing marketing materials, is being underwritten by the book publishing community. Initial publisher partners include HarperCollins, Macmillan, Other Press, Penguin Group (USA), Quercus Publishing, Random House, and Workman Publishing.