Archive for the ‘Ideas to Steal’ Category

NYPL Debuts Staff Picks Tool

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.03.54 AMThe New York Public Library is offering a new take on staff picks, a browse tool that combines the readers’ advisory features of appeal with the sort features of NPR’s Book Concierge.

Every month the NYPL staff posts 100 picks for adults, YAs, and children.

Those selections are tagged so that users can decide if they want a book driven by the appeal elements story or character, for example, and then select from a list of themes, such as “creepy,” “nail-biters,” or “tales of courage.” Order is not prescribed (themes can be picked first) and there is no limit to the number of tags a reader can choose.

Titles appear as a grid of jacket covers or a list of titles and neatly rearrange themselves on the screen as each tag is chosen.

Once happy with their selections, users can click on a cover image (or title) and read a short, signed annotation. Links to both the print and ebook records are on this same page.

News of the new interface made Bustle and GalleyChat.

Well done, NYPL.


Bingo! for Seattle Public Library

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 3.41.43 PMRemember when Summer Reading at the library meant you got to move your die-cut hot air balloon up the wall towards the craft paper clouds?

Things have changed.

This summer The Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Arts & Lectures are hosting a citywide game of book bingo.

The bingo card challenges people to read a book in 25 different categories, such as a banned book, one published the year you were born, with a free space that urges players to “PASSIONATELY recommend a book to a friend.” ( download a copy here). The library supports the game through posts on their blog, Shelf Talk, suggesting titles for the categories.

Linda Johns, a librarian at SPL, writing for The Huffington Post, reports Seattle is abuzz, “people around the city are talking about what they’re reading. We’re hearing about it in our libraries, seeing people share what they’re reading for each square on Twitter and Instagram (#BookBingoNW), and listening in while readers offer each other suggestions to get to bingo.”

The idea of book bingo, writes Johns, is not just hot in the Pacific Northwest, it has been adopted in France and has been a feature on the Books on the Nightstand blog for some time.

Oprah — Audios Better Than Books

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

If you’re searching for ideas for your library blogs, here’s one to steal from, a feature on seven “Audiobooks That Sound Better Than the Printed Versions.” Among the narrators spotlighted are Edoardo Ballerini (Beautiful Ruins, HarperAudio; listen to Ballerini here), Dean Robertson (The Poisonwood Bible, Brilliance; sample here), and, of course, Jim Dale (the Harry Potter series, Listening Library; samples here).

Not much needs to be said about narrator of Graham Greene’s The End of The Affair. The story simply states, “I’m only going to say this once: Colin Firth’s speaking softly, directly into your ear—and he’s talking about love.”

Unfortunately that one is not available to libraries; it’s only on, but we couldn’t resist showing this behind-the-scenes video of Firth in the recording studio:


Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Those clever young ‘uns, Bill Barnes and Gene Ambum, over at the library-based comic, Unshelved have started something that may catch on — @bookblrb, tweet-sized blurbs for some of their favorite books. They even have a Facebook page.

As Bill puts it,

Writing very concise copy like this is surprisingly hard, and we think we are the right people to do it. After all, cartooning is basically the art of trimming away every unnecessary word (and every possible drop of ink) to let the joke come through. We have been doing this for a while with our comic strip book reviews, all we’ve done here is crank up the volume to 11, and the number of characters down to 117.

RA Flow Chart

Friday, June 29th, 2012 has created a clever “Summer Reading Flow Chart” to encourage high school students to read this summer. The choices may be a bit didactic (that word “Should” in the headline is telling), but the presentation is fun (via USA Today).

Kansas City’s “Publitzer Prize”

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Kansas City librarians used the lack of a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as an opportunity to create the “Publitzer Prize for Fiction” (the play on the name indicates that the public chooses this prize).

Library Director Crosby Kemper III explains:

The three nominees were announced yesterday. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

Take that, Pulitzer Board!

What has your library done to combat the mistaken impression that this was a lousy year for fiction? Let us know in the comments section.

Sampling the Hugo Nominees

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Here’s an idea to steal for your library Web site. GalleyCat has created a “mixtape” of the Hugo Award Nominees, such as the story Amaryllis, available in full on the Lightspeed site.

It’s a great way to give readers access to nominees in the novella, short story and novelette categories, many of which have not appeared in book form.


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Director Baz Luhrmann has been studying up for his adaptation of The Great Gatsby and is inviting the public to be part of the process. Earlier this month, he told Entertainment Weekly,

Having spent at least two years full-time on [Gatsby], I probably have read [most every] book. But maybe not… I think engagement with an audience is great. I am fascinated about genuine audience participation because I grew up in the theater…I think to myself, well look, this [list] is what we’ve read. Go read that, and help me. If you want to have a point of view, get informed, then be helpful. Let’s try and make the best interpretation [for today].

Luhrmann’s research material is listed on the director’s Web site, with discussion on his Facebook page.

It was confirmed recently that Carey Mulligan will play Daisy, joining Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby. Release is planned for some time in 2012; plenty of time to organize “Reading with Baz” book groups.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

We wish we had gotten it together to create a fun holiday greeting. We didn’t, so we’ll just steal this one from those creative folks at Chronicle Books (love the use of the company logo and the dancing CEO).

Happy holidays to all our wonderful EarlyWord readers (try to imagine the EarlyWord bird swooping into the scene).

Starring the Chronicle staff, in order of appearance:

Laura Bagnato, Marketing Designer
Alex Sheehan, Special Sales Manager
Nion McEvoy, Chairman & CEO
Ben Laramie, Industrial Designer
Dean Burell, Managing Editorial Director
Anna Carollo, Marketing Design Coordinator
Jack Jensen, President
Emily Craig, Marketing Designer
Kelly Abeln, Marketing Design Fellow

If you want to find out more about the creation of this stop motion video, check Chronicle’s behind the scenes blog post.

No, But I Read the Book

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The entertainment news site BuzzSugar just posted a Winter Reading List: 15 Books to Read Before They’re on the Big Screen slideshow, useful for real and virtual book displays.

One caution, however, many of the movies have no cast or directors yet, so it’s anyone’s guess whether they will actually see the light of the big screen and one is opening today (True Grit, which is getting fantastic reviews and bringing new attention to the book; see our coverage, as well as yesterday’s NYT review).

You might prefer to use two of our Movies Based on Books lists (in links, at the right and continuously updated), Upcoming — with Tie-ins and In Production. If you want to go way out on the edge, check our Film Rights Acquired listing.

The BuzzSugar list leads with Jennifer Egan’s The Keep (the author’s A Visit from the Goon Squad has emerged as the top fiction pick on the Best Books ’10 lists).

It was optioned back in October, with Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish-language Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, signed to direct, but no news since.

Guilty Pleasures

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Here’s an idea for a book display — “Guilty Pleasures.” NPR beat us to it, with their “My Guilty Pleasure” series, in which writers talk about “the books they love but are embarrassed to be seen reading.”

Last night, Lionel Shriver (author of National Book Award finalist, So Much for That) said her guilty pleasure is an erotic historical novel, As Meat Loves Salt, by Maria McCann, sending the book to #62 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

As Meat Loves Salt (Harvest Original)
Maria McCann
Retail Price: $30.95
Paperback: 565 pages
Publisher: Harvest Books – (2003-01-07)
ISBN / EAN: 015601226X / 9780156012263

What’s Being Bought Where

Friday, July 30th, 2010

This is a little scary — the UK-based online bookstore, features a live map on their site of orders being placed (thanks, to today’s Shelf Awareness for pointing out the story in The Guardian). It’s curiously fascinating; ooh, look, someone in Belgium bought The Librarian’s Book of Quotes, published by ALA.

It was created using Google Maps. Are there interesting library applications that wouldn’t violate privacy? “What’s Being Placed on Hold” or “What’s Just Been Returned To Which Branch “?

No More Lame Library Videos

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

You may have seen the Old Spice Guy video. Now, he has competition, from a library promo video.

Earlier, the Old Spice Guy tried his hand at promoting libraries. Nice try, but we’d rather look at the New Guy.

The New Spice Guy video appears on Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library web site, as well as on YouTube, where it’s received over 1.3 million hits since it was posted last week. It was made by the library’s multimedia production crew (here’s hoping they don’t get hired away). You can see more HBLL Productions on their YouTube channel,  A BYU’s news release says that the New Spice Guy is Stephen Jones, a senior studying psychology and president of BYU’s stand-up comedy club.

Here’s hoping The New Spice Guy signals the end of lame library videos

Now, let’s work on ending lame book trailers.