Ghosts in the Shelf

Voodoo Hoodoo SpellbookAs librarians, we love it when our patrons get excited about the materials we purchase for them. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a title we’ve ordered fly off the shelf and accumulate holds; it’s a good sign that we’re on the right track to knowing what our readers want. Occasionally there’s a downside to success: when we can’t keep a title on the shelf because people don’t want to return it. When titles go unreturned we charge the guilty party and replace the books right away, either with copies of the same book, or with something more updated. We often order multiple copies of replacement books to accommodate the obviously high level of interest. Over time, the librarians who buy books in different areas of our collection have come to notice specific titles and topics that go A.W.O.L. more frequently than others. Some may not be too shocking to some, while others may be a bit of a surprise. Here’s what our book selectors have to say about what some readers just can’t get enough of at the EPL:

Essential Bicycle Maintainance & RepairAccording to Richard, bicycle repair manuals often ride off into the sunset, and sex instruction books frequently go undercover.

Pat reports that books on growing and cultivating marijuana go up in smoke.

Alan frequently has to reorder rock star memoirs on addiction recovery.

Game of ThronesAndrea says that in the young adults section, books by Ellen Hopkins are frequent offenders. One disappearing nonfiction title that gave her a chuckle had something to do with being an ethical hacker.

In Zac’s area, he has to replace a lot of graphic novels. Some eternally-popular titles include Sin City Vol. 1, The Eye of the World, The Game of Thrones, Y: The Last Man, The Lucifer series, and Batman:The City of Owls.

Cover image from Numerology for your FamilyFor my part, books in the occult and new age areas (reading crystals, casting spells, astrology, etc.) can be an issue. Bibles, bible study books, and devotionals are often not returned. My favorite not returned title was a self-help book on impulse control. My guess is that the borrower really needed it.

Other problem areas include automotive repair, true crime, diet and medical advice, gardening and homesteading, herbalism, foraging, computers and technology how-tos, cookbooks, tattoo design, crafting, test prep, and home projects.

For the most part it seems like the materials that most frequently go unreturned at the EPL are items that people might need at their side for quick reference. There are a lot of manuals (hands-on or spiritual) for getting through day-to-day problems, or self-improvement. Occasionally these books make their way back to our shelves after long absences. One can only hope that this means the borrowers finally fixed whatever issues were plaguing them.

While we may find some humor in the variety of materials that our patrons can become overly-attached to, missing items can be a serious problem if left unchecked. Library staff constantly work at following up on long-overdue items to make sure that materials are where they need to be when our readers want to check them out. So to our loyal readers, if you happen to be sitting on a cache of late materials, be kind and get them back a.s.a.p so that someone else can enjoy them.

Why a YA Mystery?

I do love a good mystery. A good mystery. Which eliminates roughly … all of them. Of course I’m exaggerating for comedic effect. As my divinity mentor was fond of saying, “You are nothing if not a clown. And don’t touch that divinity, I just finished cooking it!”

But seriously mystery fans, sometimes it seems that any object affected by gravity thinks it can pen a mystery novel. This, of course, makes for a lot of poorly written mysteries. On the other hand, a spiffing good conundrum offers rewards beyond even the wildest dreams of Melvin.

Mysteriously, today’s blog about mysteries began as something of a mystery itself. You see, I undertook a search (much as a dime-novel detective) of the catalog without a particular destination in mind, and soon found myself (surprisingly) delivered to the sub-genre of YA mysteries, uncharted waters for this reader.

Deadly CoolThrough some arcane process comprehensible only to a Floridian vote counter, I arrived at the title Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday. This book is a fairly standard take on the mystery genre, with young adult characters setting it apart as reading aimed at, wait for it, young adults. Here we find Hartley, a high school junior suspicious of her boyfriend’s fidelity. Rushing to his house for a confrontation she discovers the body of the girl he was allegedly dallying about with. The book does a most excellent job of creating a realistic teen culture and dulling the bite of a potentially disturbing topic with abundant humor. Incidentally, this is the first in a series of books featuring our protagonist Hartley Featherstone.

The search continued. In our newly-improved catalog, one can easily find suggestions of additional books that might be of interest to the searcher. Deadly Cool yielded the following:

RecommendationsReformed vampireNever one to turn down a name like The Reformed Vampire Support Group, I clicked on this title and discovered a promising description of vampires who are, “anemic, whiny, unattractive, they feed on guinea pigs…” I was sold at anemic. This book stands above the insurmountable glut of vampire books that have hit local bookselling establishments in recent years, offering a fresh take on vampire culture while throwing in some tip top murder and mystery to boot.


Etiquette
Another title that turned up in my search was Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger. In a steampunk version of 1851 we find Sophronia Temminnick, an unusual 14-year-old girl who is more interested in machinery and shenanigans than in curtseying and obtaining a husband. These activities so aggravate her mother that the girl is unexpectedly whisked away to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. However, unbeknownst to Sophronia’s mum, the school is actually an academy specializing in espionage and assassination. And this suits Sophronia just fine. Adventures, paranormal creatures and mystery abound in this amusing and exciting debut in the Finishing School series.

Other exciting YA mysteries recommended by the catalogue:

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams.
Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin
The Girl is Murder (1st in a series) by Kathryn Miller Haines
I So Don’t Do Mysteries (1st in a series) by Barrie Summy

Mysteries1

 I’d Tell You I Love You, but then I’d Have to Kill You (series) by Ally Carter
Ruby Redfort Look into my Eyes by Lauren Child
Ripper by Stefan Petrucha
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Mysteries2

Today’s lesson is this: One can find a young adult mystery that is suitable for an adult reader. And, just as in anything else, there are gems and there are maggots, but rooting out the maggots, as Hercule Poirot might have said with an outrageous accent, is at least one-third of the fun. So expand your horizons, take advantage of the cool features of the catalog, and most importantly, be careful out there.

Ron

 

How to Check Out an eBook

In my last post, I highlighted all the great eBooks the library owns. I know. You’re saying, “Ron, Everett Public Library has a fine collection of eBooks, but I don’t know the first thing about checking out no stinking eBooks. I’m apprehensive!” Well, apprehend no more. Read on and assuage your baseless fears.

Start with the Everett Public Library home page. In the middle-top area of the page you will see this picture.
Ebooks on epls webpage 
Click on it to start your eBook journey.

One of the regions on the next page is dedicated to OverDrive, a website that allows you to check out eBooks with your Everett Public Library card.
Overdrive on epls
If you have any questions, don’t know what kind of format your reader requires or how to download a book, click on the HELP button.

Overdrive help
Each link here takes you to a helpful topic. Because it’s HELP.

If you want to dig right in and look at titles, skip the HELP button and click on Go to the library’s OverDrive Collection.
Go to the librarys overdrive collection

Here you will see headings such as May We Recommend with pictures of selected titles.

May we recommend

Click on a book to find out more about it.

Overdrive first page book display

This eBook entry is similar to any entry you’d see in the EPL catalog, with one important difference being Format Information. If you are unsure what format you need, go back to the HELP button for … help. Once a format is ascertained, if you want to check out this item then click on add to cart. At this point you can check out the single item or continue to add more items to your cart before checking out. It’s the library equivalent of on-line shopping. For now, let’s add this book to our shopping cart.

My cart
The shopping cart shows what items are in it and allows you to remove an item, continue browsing to add more items, or proceed to checkout to finish.

But before checking out you have to sign in.

Log in to check out

Signing in takes you to the Check Out page.

Checkout

At the Check Out page you can choose how long you want to check an item out (7, 14 or 21 days), remove an item from your cart, and finally check out.  You also are told how many more eBooks you can check out to your account. To complete the process, click on Confirm Check Out. The next step to take varies depending on which format you’ve chosen. Refer to HELP if you have questions.

There are many more details to learn about eBooks and their checkout, but the best way to learn is to give it a try and ask questions. Our staff is happy to answer you in person, by phone, or by email. Also, don’t forget about the hands on Getting Started with eBooks program happening this Saturday, January 12th.

So dig in and enjoy. You may not like this manner of reading, but then again it might turn out to be the best thing since sliced motherboard.

Ron

Don’t Panic!

Tick, tick, tick. That’s the sound of the holiday shopping clock running out. If you are among the millions of people who still have some holiday gifts to purchase, panic may be setting in at this point. You probably have the major players (spouse, parents, children) covered by now but those hard to gift folks (friends, co-workers, distant relations) may still be on your list. If you are still scrambling for gift ideas, let us show you a little library secret that might be of assistance.

The New Titles feature of our library catalog can be a great source for gift ideas. This menu allows you to browse the latest books, movies, and music recordings that are currently available. From the Everett Library webpage simply click on the library catalog and then check out the New Titles section on the right sidebar. In addition, several new title lists are displayed on the front page of the catalog itself.

Here are just a few of the new books listed:

Science of LoveTimeless MakeupUnfair TradeBruceKings and Queens of BritianBest Dog Ever

How about some new movies:

Dr. Who Series SevenDark Knight RisesOdd Life of Timothy GreenHope SpringsThunderstruckTed

And don’t forget the new CDs:

Tender TrapSwing to MagellanGreen Day

We hope this helps with your last-minute shopping. And remember to cut yourself some slack. It is the thought that counts after all.

The Most Popular Books @ EPL

Click on the categories below to see which adult books are currently most popular among Everett Public Library users. The links will run real-time searches in the library catalog, retrieving those titles that have been most frequently checked out or placed on hold over the past 120 days.

Adult Books

All Fiction collections combined
Fiction
Historical Fiction
Mystery  /  Thriller   or   Mystery & Thriller combined
SF  /  Fantasy   or   SF & Fantasy combined
Romance
Christian & Inspirational Fiction

All Non-Fiction
Art, Painting & Photography  /  Crafts
Biography & Memoir
Christianity   /  Other Religions & Spirituality
Cooking
Gardening
Graphic Novels
Health
History  /  Everett & Snohomish Co. History
Literature  /  Essays  /  Poetry
Personal Finance
Philosophy
Psychology  /  Parapsychology
Science & Nature   /   Mathematics
Social Sciences (society, politics, economics)
True Crime
Oversize collection
Career collection

Of course many high-demand titles are those that are just coming out.  Look to the right sidebar in the library catalog to see titles that are on order (to see them in order of popularity, change the “Sort by” box to Most Popular).

Favorite Author Alerts

Most avid readers eagerly await the release of new titles by their favorite authors. But did you know you can create saved searches in the library catalog and receive email messages automatically when new titles by your favorite authors have been ordered by the library?

Let’s say, for example, that you’re caught up in the wave of Scandinavian crime fiction that’s been sweeping our shores. And let’s say that you especially want to know when the library gets new books by Henning Mankell, Arnaldur Indridason, Karin Fossum or Jo Nesbø. Here’s one way you could set up a saved search:

From the library catalog, click on Advanced search:

Click on the boxes that say Any Field and choose Author, then type in the author names (be careful to avoid typos). Then be sure to change all the boxes that say And to Or – because we want to hear when Mankell or Indridason or Fossum or Nesbø releases a new book. All these changes are shown below:

Click the Go! button when you are ready. The search will run, letting you check it for accuracy; if you are satisfied, click on Save Search:

To save the search you will need to enter your library card number and PIN, then click the Log In button:

Give your search a name, enter your email address, choose monthly or weekly frequency, and indicate the number of times you want a search to run. You can leave the “Email if no results” box unchecked if you want to be notified only when the search has found a title by one of your authors. Click the Save Search button.

And you’re done.

After you have successfully saved your search, click Log Out at the top left of the screen to close your account. Now you can simply wait to get email notices telling you when new titles by your favorite authors have been ordered. At the time of notification you will still need to check the catalog for availability or to place a hold. 

You can create numerous saved searches: in addition to author alerts, you may have a subject interest you like to keep up with, or would like to identify new releases by your favorite audiobook narrators, etc. It’s easy to review or cancel your saved searches from the Patron Account tab, so have some fun with them. If you would like some help in creating saved searches please talk with a reference librarian.