Have you ever thought to yourself “Diverse books don’t circulate in my library because my community isn’t actually diverse”? While you may feel your community is not diverse, a lack of diversity may not be the reason why diverse titles aren’t circulating. It may be that you as the librarian need to make your patrons aware of these titles and promote why your patrons might enjoy them. Have you ever chosen not to purchase books because you think they are too “diverse” to circulate in your library? They definitely won’t circulate if they are not on the shelves! Remember that books don’t have to be about diversity, they can simply be diverse.
Once you’ve purchased them, what can you do in your library to help get books circulating?
- You probably already do book displays, but do they highlight diversity in your collection? Try using an infographic to help people select a good match. There’s no need to make the display only about diversity, simply incorporate diversity into displays you already have planned.
- If you do a program such as Blind Date with a Book, be sure to include some diverse choices. The whole idea of a Blind Date program is to get patrons to try something new that they might not usually read.
- We Need Diverse Books has a handy cheat sheet for selling diversity. It shows you how to “refocus” how you are promoting books and provides examples. Instead of highlighting the diversity of the book, emphasize the aspects to which everyone can relate.
- Diversity in YA, a blog which highlights “young adult books about all kinds of diversity,” has a guide for how to encourage diversity in your collection. One of the suggestions is “recommend diversity.” What’s one primary reason books are often popular? Because people are talking about them! Kids in particular want to read what everyone else is reading, so talking about books will go a long way toward getting them to circulate. Even adult patrons come in asking for books they heard about on TV or the radio. Once you have the momentum of word of mouth, you will see increased circulation. What are some ways to talk about books?
- Mention titles in your weekly article in the newspaper
- Mention titles on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
- Mention titles at book club meetings
- Work with the school librarian to cross-promote
- If you’ve never tried book trailers, try featuring them on your library website or Facebook page. Not all books have them, but you can find them on YouTube, or you can try the website of the author or the publisher.
- You can’t read everything, so familiarize yourself with websites that can help you advise readers on what books they might like. Also, the State Library offers access to NoveList (under Books & Literature), another great resource for connecting readers and books.
- If you don’t usually do book talks, read up on how to do a book talk and try it with some titles you’ve enjoyed.