One of the buzzwords among publishing folks is “discoverability,” which refers to the way in which consumers find books to read. The way in which books are bought, sold and found is rapidly changing, due in part to the closing of some bookstores, and the redesign of other bookstores to feature more toys and electronics than actual books. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced both of these scenarios.

Read the last Smart Bitches, Trashy Books about glomming.

I do a lot of book shopping online, but when I shop online, I usually know exactly what I’m looking for—either a specific and narrow price range, or a specific book title. Online shopping experiences, for me at least, still have not replicated the surprise book discovery born of being surrounded by actual books. While I am curious about the online recommendations based on what other people bought, I am much more interested in the recommendations of people whose opinion I trust, such as my friends who have the same reading taste as I do.

Recommending a book is a very intimate thing to do. I’m always worried when I suggest a book for someone because I’m recommending that someone spend a great deal of time and mental energy. The chance that they might not enjoy it as much as I did is always troublesome when someone asks me for advice. When someone undertakes that risk on my behalf, I am more than merely appreciative. I think of the few people who recommend books for me as almost “magic” friends, whose book-referral power is not to be abused.

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The romance-friendly librarians that I have met—by which I mean the librarians who are familiar with the romance genre and go out of their way to be kind to and curious about the romance readers among their branch patrons—are like these “magic” friends of mine, and they take their book recommending as seriously as I do. You might be shaking your head at the idea that a librarian might not be friendly toward romance reading patrons, but trust me, there’s a basketful of horror stories about librarians who have sneered or dismissed romance readers.

In my recent trip to the American Library Association’s latest conference in New Orleans (which, for the record, was the largest convention gathering I’ve ever seen, and was held at a convention center that was absolutely without question 18 miles long) I learned a lot about librarians who recommend romance. Often they have that same fear, that the titles they suggest won’t meet reader expectations, or that a recommendation will turn the reader off the genre altogether. But they know so much about the genre, their recommendations are worth more than I can measure.

So today I wanted to say thanks to all the excellent librarians who work so hard to recommend romances to their patrons. It is a tough and nervous job responsibility, recommending reading to near-strangers, but it’s the most powerful thing librarians do. I met so many romance-savvy librarians in the last month, and I wish more of them were at my local branch. Thank you, awesome librarians, for doing what you do to support the romance genre.

What, you need some recommendations, too? OK! Have a few that might rock your world this summer:

silk A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan (Contemporary, Harlequin, 2011)

Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (Regency Historical, Sourcebooks, 2010)

And One Last Thing by Molly Harper (Contemporary, Gallery, 2010) 

On Folly Beach by Karen White (Contemporary/Historical, NAL, 2010) 

 Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase (Historical, Avon, 2011)

Sarah Wendell is the co-creator, editor and mastermind of the popular romance blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.