For many school librarians, work-life balance is an issue. Most book list curation, lesson planning, website maintenance, collection development, professional reading (well, almost everything except face-to-face readers advisory or teaching) happens at home. So when I started organizing my annual summer reading list this spring, I had to stop myself. Why was I spending so much time creating something that I knew had already been created one hundred twelve times over-and well at that?
Then I had an idea: What if instead of creating a traditional summer book list for my community, I curated a list of my favorite recommended book lists? So that is what I did.
I knew that my community would need more, but I was still committed to doing something different. Instead of listing recommended titles from all time, I decided to use the rest of the new Pinterest account to focus on 2014 spring and summer releases. In focusing on new releases, families will be more likely to find these books on the shelves at bookshops, and I’ll have a good reminder when I do collection development in the fall about which titles I considered must-haves for the community. Using Pinterest saved even more time than I initially thought, because I didn’t write annotations. Each pin linked to each publisher’s page, complete with book blurbs, illustration previews, and in many cases, book trailers.
I hope to continue posting my top picks for students by format and release date. (You’ll notice that I never organize anything by grade or age-level. This is very intentional.) In time, we’ll have an archive that families can go back to if they’re looking to discover new reads. Just to keep things simple, I will continue to keep my topical book lists on a separate board. Usually the students using those lists are doing so with a more direct purpose, whereas the new LS Librarians account is more for browsing.
How do you all share books with families? Do you organize your lists by grade, by release date, by topic, or by something different? I’d love to hear from you and learn what is working well for your communities.