This week’s guest blogger is Isabel from the Reader Development Team at The Mitchell
Let me tell you a bit about my work in Reader Development. I’ll start with our book groups.
They are many and varied and have a voracious appetite for reading. Requests for books they would like are often emailed to me by staff of the local library where they meet. The sets of multiple copies, called Books To Go For Book Groups are kept in our department. The book groups can access this collection online at or from the yellow Book Group Folder in the library. Selecting from these 350 titles of mainly contemporary fiction means sets are readily available and can be sent out directly to the group’s local library for their meeting.
Emails also come in from facilitators of book groups, asking about availability of titles. Some groups read a particular type or genre e.g. Scottish authors, or need a large print or audio book in their set of copies. More notice to collect these is needed, so some groups will submit a list for several months’ titles in advance.
Librarians who lead book groups select from the Books To Go collection themselves, fortunately for me, but I lead Riddrie Book Group so am always on the look out for titles for them. Many of my group prefer crime fiction, but I try to pick a wide variety. As these are often books they admit they would never have chosen off the shelf, it leads to some interesting opinions, both negative and positive, of the book.
By the way, Attention group leaders–I am always happy to get feedback on books read, so if leaders include that in their email all the better!
Just in case you are wondering about the latest bestsellers – the Top Ten selling books are bought for local libraries in the HOT OFF THE PRESS promotion so individuals rather than groups can borrow these for two week loans due to the high demand. Eventually some of these titles will go into the book group sets.
As in most libraries, requests from book groups multiply when the film of the book is coming out or when it has been shown on TV. The last time was for Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. It was fine as we had plenty of copies, but they were all hardbacks of 400 pages and the weight of carrying15 copies at a time was not to be recommended.
Another enjoyable part of the job is spending money – orders are made online, gone are the visits to bookshops, but I still look forward to the book delivery.
I’m keeping my blog short, so that I won’t bore you and I may be asked again.
So, keep reading.