Libraries, Tell Me So I Can Tell Them

Mar 17, 2010 | TV, Movies, & Good Reads

I’m off to PLA next week—The Public Library Association if you don’t like acronyms)—and since I will have the ear of a room full of librarians, what would you like me to tell them about why, or even why not, you use your local public library? Time to sound off and I’ll compile your thoughts and share them with librarians from all over the country.

Just to get you started:

1) Do you use your local library for your romance reading habit and why? What do you love, what do you wish librarians would do to make their collections better?

2) If you don’t, why? What keeps you from using those free shelves? What might entice you into a library—programs, events, you tell me?

3) Have you gone to programs/events at your local library? What have you loved? Hated? Want more of?

4) Would you read a blog from your local library or follow them on Facebook?

5) Anything else you want me to share with them?

I now turn the soapbox over to all of you.


  1. Jim

    Love my locals, they are well orgainzed and have happily a separate stack for romance. I would like to see more e-books and audios but I think that will come. I tend to find backlist books, so although I borrow alot I also get needs to go buy later releases. So I still tend to buy quite a few books.

    Please tell we love them.

  2. Keira

    Yes and no to using the library romance collection. I wish librarians would make a shelf of their fav romances because sometimes it’s hard to pick on back alone. I want the shelves divided by contemporary and historical romance so I can gravitate toward what fits my mood rather than scan all the romance shelves for something. Some of the book titles should be displayed forward like in a bookstore to encourage more checkouts.

    I’d love a library blog so I could squeeze it into my google reader and see any updates the moment they’re posted about what’s going on for FoL sales and new acquisitions. Not so much a facebook page, I’m on fb but not enough to make this a worthwhile service. I think the blog should also have posts by librarians of recent reads that they finished and loved. That would be cool.

    I have been to one library event – it’s the only one that’s been well advertised. I signed up to hear about another one and as far as I know it never happened… 🙁 I really liked mystery theater presented through the librarians. Clues were in the library for a month and you could find them by solving a clue and moving forward. Then on the last Sat in the month they got together and acted it out. Winners got to pick a book from the FoL offerings and some signed copies of mystery books. Can we do a romance version??? That’d be awesome.

  3. SonomaLass

    Our library shelves category romance (which it does not catalog or organize) separately, and adult paperbacks (roughly alphabetized). Hardcover romance is in with fiction, although other genres (mystery and sci-fi) have their own sections. I wish our library would celebrate romance fiction more, including having more trade and mass-market paperbacks in the collection and shelving them together. Events would be nice, too!

  4. Jayne

    As I live in the UK not sure if this means me but I will comment. My library has minimal regency romance and only one or two of series, usually the middle two which is very annoying. i cannot get any American authors or anyone whose books are not published here in Uk.Very annoying

    • Elizabeth

      Do they have interlibrary loan? Where you can ask them to get the books from another library? That saves me a lot of trouble of having to hunt down books.

  5. Joan

    I use two branches in my library system. One categorizes their paperbacks in very specific terms (ie historical romance, paranormal romance, western’s) the other has all of the genre’s together. If I’m looking for a new author then I find it easier to have them seperated by specific category so I can find what I’m looking for more easily (that’s how I found you) however, my other library is more likely to have more recently published books so I use it more often.
    The worse thing about my entire library system is that they don’t buy an entire series, so you might find book 2,4 and 6 but not the others. The best thing is that they let you search the entire network for the books you are looking for and will get it for you in 2 days if they do have it at another branch.

    • Elizabeth

      I think the specific category is the way to go with shelving books. Readers know the genre they like, so serve it up to them. When they don’t do it that way, I think the reasoning on the library side is two-fold–space issues; and librarians live to get us all reading from all over the shelves. 🙂

  6. Duchess of Denim

    My library is my main source of Romance novels. Being that I devour about a book a day and am on a strict budget… I utilize my library’s online server and put books on hold (I usually have Amazon open too for recommendations) … the following week they are waiting for me at the desk at my local branch. The problem is… that more often than not they are missing books from a series and them I’m off to E-bay to try to find an affordable copy. I usually donate it when I’m done so that other fans can read the whole series.
    The nice thing about this method is that I often get ‘lots’ of books on ebay and end up reading authors I wouldn’t have chosen on my own.

  7. Duchess of Denim

    p.s. Perfect example is you! My library has “Confessions of a little black gown” and “How I met my countess” but not “Red Dress”!

    • Elizabeth

      Yikes! Ask them to order it! You would be amazed at how many books end up on shelves because patrons ask.

  8. Sarah

    I don’t use my library. I am not sure if it is because I am in California and my library system was affected by budget cuts from 20 years ago and has never really recovered or if it is because of the way paperbacks are organized. Most of the books are just shelved in these rotating shelf things, most aren’t organized in the catalog system (or at least the last time I checked, they were still in the catalog as a generic adult paperback rather than by title, so I couldn’t locate them in the system.) The hardcovers and other special new releases (all books) are in a special rental program that costs money and then you still need to wait your turn to rent the book. At which point, I would rather just go buy the book… Ugh, there are just so many little things that cause me not to go to my library. It is quite sad, as I love books and I loved going when I was younger.

    • Elizabeth

      Renting library books? Oh, goodness, I’ve never heard of such a thing!

  9. Jeri Hughes

    Yes, I use the local library to feed my romantic fiction habit. I can’t own everything I want to read, so I not only check out what’s there, but I use interlibrary loan all the time for recent releases that our local library doesn’t have.

    I attend some events at our local library. I like that also allow groups to use the meeting rooms for business meetings and even rehearsals for the local theatre groups which don’t actually have a permanent performance venue.

  10. Desiree

    While my local has a very big slection on many books it only has 10 romance novels and are all Mrs. Steel and Mrs.Roberts books. I am sad because they will not get any other books, the reason being that they do not have room for those types of books. I always go to my second hand book store to enjoy the books that I wish to read. I would really love it if my library would get a slection to choose from. It would save me time and gas to only have to drive 30 mins to a library versus an hour to the second hand book store. In the past at other libraries I have loved thier reading challenge programs for the summer. They are fun to give myself a goal to read 30 books before the end of summer. I would definatly follow a librarian on facebook, it is a great way to get informed on new arrvials and things like that. I just wish that some of these libraries would not be rude about having romance novels. I have come across two libraries that way.

    • Elizabeth

      I love summer goals like that! But it can be hard to find the right librarian! Always ask who reads romance and make that librarian your new best friend.

  11. A little too late...

    Ah I am jealous you got to go to PLA, I am only a lowly library assistant and thus, did not get that privilege.
    I feel very fortunate to live (hmm…freudian slip there), I mean work, at a place that has a lovely collection of romance paperbacks, fiction and even large print, and recently have come to love regency romance, and since everything is free (unless you are late on return), I easily can check out a book or a two a day to sate my appetite for wild and fun worlds to roam in.
    I can safely say I would have never ventured into the romance genre unless I came to the library. So yes! Hurray for wonderful collections and wonderful librarians who I am forever asking to order on our small budget my favorite romance authors. 🙂 (Another wonderful thing to most libraries, if they don’t have it, they most certainly will see if their collection commitee will purchase it.)
    So next library event you attend, please thank them so much for all they do for us!!!!
    Btw. I like that so many people commented on a display of romance favorites, maybe I will do just that for the next month’s display. 🙂



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