What are some trends you were pleased with in 2014?
From where I sit, overseeing materials selection and circulation for a large public library system, I loved watching the publishing industry recognize that YA books are being read by people other than teens. I think there’s lots of marketing potential there, for instance, with different covers of a title for different markets.
It was also interesting to see e-book and print sales stabilizing, and to see the first research into what formats different age groups prefer.
Another high point was the explosion, and I think, acceptance, of the graphic format. Lots of graphic novels, and novels with graphic elements, were being published and now there’s content for all ages in that genre.
What are some trends you’ve noticed thus far in 2015?
Coloring books for adults is one. We’re trying to figure out how to make that trend work for a public library. One of our staff suggested using adult coloring books in a book club setting, which I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere, too. That would be intriguing.
James Patterson continues to be a huge influence. He’s one of our library’s most-read authors, and I applaud what he is doing for bookstores and literacy.
Another trend is greater acceptance of self-published titles. We are seeing more sources of reviews, which is extremely helpful for public library selectors.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I would like to see more genre fiction from diverse authors and featuring diversity. I see heavy and literary fiction featuring diversity much more than genre fiction.
I was pleased to see a title like The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan being published this fall. I’d love to see more in the mystery genre like this one, and also in romance and other genres.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I can’t think of anything that I would never want to see again. If our patrons want it, I’m thrilled if we can provide it.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
Preparing books for circulation. It’s always interesting when publishers play around with different bindings, covers, and inserts. Most things we can make work, but some things become a challenge. For instance, metallic covers really don’t play well with the radio-frequency identification technology we use in our materials to track them.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Public libraries are engines of discovery. We work really hard to get the best materials into our patrons’ hands and to respond to their requests. Our patrons are voracious readers, and it is endless fun to feed their interests and introduce them to their next reads.
Gail Mueller Schultz is the collection and technical services manager at Hennepin County Library, which is consistently recognized as one of the top public library systems in the nation. Its 41 libraries serve a diverse population of 1.2 million residents in Minneapolis and the surrounding area. In 2014, Hennepin County Library saw 15.8 million items checked out and nearly 1.5 million downloads of books, movies and music. Browse the Hennepin County Library collection at www.hclib.org.