Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests. Libraries Unlimited: ABC-CLIO. 2013. (Genreflecting Advisory). 622p. ed. by Cynthia Orr. index. ISBN 9781598848403. $75. pap.
The sheer volume of newly available books can overwhelm library patrons who don’t know where to turn once they’ve read everything by their favorite authors. This series aims to contextualize readers’ advisory (RA) and hone the specific skills of readers’ advisors in libraries, providing librarians with the resources and terminology to conduct successful RA conversations. Parts one and two, by editor Orr (formerly, collection manager, Cleveland P.L.) set RA in context and position RA librarians at the intersection between literature and readers, both of whom they must understand. Next, ten genres of popular fiction are separately covered by contributors who provide annotated lists, followed by a chapter for nonfiction and one on “other popular reading interests”: Christian fiction, urban fiction, and graphic novels, newly added to this series. There are name, subject, and title indexes. While the genre descriptions borrow heavily from previous editions, the title lists are updated, featuring material from the past five years. There are comprehensive lists of websites that readers can consult for more RA information, but today’s library school students would have appreciated an updatable companion website. VERDICT Current library workers in RA as well as today’s library students will benefit from all that this book provides.
The Whole Library Handbook 5: Current Data, Professional Advice, and Curiosa About Libraries and Library Services. ALA. 2013. 528p. ed. by George M. Eberhart. index. ISBN 9780838910900. pap. $50; ebk. ISBN 9780838996485. PRO MEDIA
This title is a jewel of a ready-reference guide for busy librarians, i.e., all of us. First published in 1991, this digest of many articles and essays on a librarian’s world of subjects is here revised and updated, building solidly on the earlier editions while keeping the flavor and usefulness of the previous incarnations. Seekers now can also find here brief introductions and starting points for trends and new developments. The major sections are about libraries as institutions (included here is statistical information), the people of the library, e.g., staff, trustees, and supporters; the library profession; library materials; operations; library users; advocacy; technology; hot-button issues; and trivia. Sources are cited for each article, essay, and list. While the focus is primarily on the latest and greatest, acknowledgment of historical libraries and legacy library services is not forgotten. VERDICT With a wide variety of contributors, the results are mixed, but overall the content is balanced between practical and whimsical. Despite some statistical currency issues, this is highly recommended as a quick starting point and pathfinder to more information for library- and librarian-related subjects. For both the newly minted and the well-experienced librarian.