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Teen Readers’ Advisory: How to Create a Fandom Booklist

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Booklists are the bread and butter of readers’ advisory and can be a large part of staying up to date on the latest publications as well as raising circulation in your collections. They can also be an easy way to recommend books, on the fly, to a teen that tells you about a niche interest. Be prepared for those teens who absolutely love that fandom by making a booklist for it. 

Here are some tips on creating a great fandom booklist:

Stay Up To Date on Current Fandoms: Popular TV Shows, Viral Videos, Trending Topics – If your teens are talking about it or you hear a lot of buzz about it on social media and/or commercials, it may be worth a booklist.

Make Sure You Understand the Fandom: Watch the Show, Read the Book, View some of the Videos, Follow Threads, Read a Synopsis of the Video Game. Some dynamics about the fandom can be nuanced if you haven’t fully engulfed yourself. You may miss out on some gem titles if you yourself haven’t learned more about the fandom. Some fandoms can easily slide problematic, so even though they’ve gone viral, definitely do your research to see if it is worth your time and energy to make a list.

Make a List of Related Genres, Themes, and Topics: Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the fandom, come up with a list of genres, themes, and/or topics you’d want to explore with other titles that relate to the fandom you’re booklisting.

Use Your Research Skills to Find Titles: Find existing lists that match genre, themes, and topics are always helpful, but be sure to read a few synopsis of recommended titles that you yourself haven’t read/experienced. Search your own memory of titles you’ve read/heard of that match.

Write A Snippet for Each Title: Write out why each title matches the fandom you’re creating the booklist for. Regardless of where you’re putting the booklist, having these little reasons should be presented for credibility to those reviewing the list. It is a mini “book talk” for that title..whether it is a book or not.

Get a Fellow Fandom Follower to Proof Your List: This should preferably be another person who reads the genre/themes/topics you’re focusing on and has some familiarity with the fandom. This person may have more titles to recommend, help you rationalize why a title wouldn’t work, and also, proof-reading for grammar, etc.

Publish and Share! Can’t claim you made a list if no one can see it. Think about sharing on your library’s social media, make a blog post for the list, create a QR poster or flyer access point, and/or create a book display with the titles from your list. Here is a poster made to promote the Wednesday Addams book linked below.

Some additional notes:

  • Especially for YA fandom booklists, titles should never be more than 10 years old, unless they’re considered new and old school classics.
  • Make sure titles you put on your list have at least 3 physical copies for checkout. If not, and you think the book really needs some exposure, request or order more copies for your system.
  • Don’t shy away from eBooks as long as you note where the title can be accessed. Same with eAudiobooks, streaming, etc.
  • Feel free to mix in fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, comics, manga, movies, tv series, and, if the format isn’t too jarring, links to websites and other media.
  • Don’t feel your list has to be based off of just media fandoms, like movies, tv shows, or book releases. Think about events like concerts, big celebrations, celebrity birthdays, and local anniversaries.
  • Just because the list has been made before doesn’t mean you can’t make another list. Check book related websites for other readers’ advisory lists to make the best of the best based on your collection and availability.
  • Update Your Lists Regularly
    • A new season/movie/book is coming out? Add a few new titles, update the description, and determine that there are enough copies of each title listed. Meaning, that “Stranger Things” booklist you made should get an update every other year to keep up with season releases.
    • Regardless of how long the fandom lasts, at least once within a year of the lists creation, double check the titles to make sure there are still enough copies available for checkout, add any new titles, and remove older titles so the list stays an appropriate length. It may help to create a list updating schedule so that you can remind yourself to check on them.
    • Eventually consider if it is worth retiring the list. Will you archive it? Keep it but not promote it? Delete it outright?

Here are two example fandom lists created by San Jose Public Library Librarians:

Do you have a fandom booklist you’re particularly proud of? Share it in the comments or on our Facebook group page. Have any other suggestions on what to consider when making a book list? Add them to the comments below.

Happy List Making!

Written by Jessica Lundin of San Jose Public Library

Special thanks to my anonymous proof readers.

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