A Special Day for Librarians | RWA 2017

A highlight of the annual Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference is Librarians Day, offering a full complement of panels and discussions about romance and how librarians can more effectively market the genre to their patrons. This year’s event, held Saturday, July 29, in Orlando, FL, kicked off with librarian stalwarts Amy Alessio, Robin Bradford, and Susan Gibberman presenting their top trends in romance. Among the popular subgenres are Kinktemporary (ménage), Beyond Regencies, Sweet Treats & Sweet Reads, Western Expansion, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Hamilton (go figure!).

Booksellers (l.–r.) Bea and Leah Koch

“Engaging the Romance Reader in Your Community” was led by RWA Booksellers of the Year Bea and Leah Koch, owners of the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, CA, which sells almost exclusively romance titles. Their programming is inventive and could translate to libraries as well. A networking event followed, at which librarians and bloggers mingled with publishers and authors.

Attendees were overcome by the heartfelt speech of luncheon speaker Brenda Jackson, author of more than 120 books. She thanked librarians for their work and noted how research in her local library provided her family with valuable information relating to the unconscionable Tuskegee Study. In place from 1932 to 1972, the project injected unsuspecting black men, including Jackson’s great-grandfather, with syphilis and left them untreated for decades.

The day ended with the “Readers for Life” author signing, with hundreds (yes, hundreds) of authors meeting and greeting readers and signing and selling books, with proceeds going to ProLiteracy Worldwide. As well, RWA garnered the ProLiteracy Worldwide 2017 President’s Award for its commitment to literacy and its accumulated donations since 1991 of more than $1 million.

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Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"

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