Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sunday January 18th, 2015 TBPL Off the Shelf

Have you ever come into the library looking for a book recommendation from staff?  While we have many options to help you find something new to read, nothing beats a personal book recommendation from someone you know.  Unfortunately, the staff member you rely on for recommendations may be unavailable and other people may be unable to help because they have different reading tastes.  But never fear - our blog, TBPL Off the Shelf, is here to help!

TBPL Off the Shelf was started in 2009 as a place for library staff to write about the books they are reading.  The blog was originally titled Best of the Backlist, with the aim of highlighting our favourite older books in the hopes that other people will discover these hidden gems.  Since that time, 20 staff members have published over 300 book reviews, talking about everything from fiction to graphic novels, poetry, and non-fiction.  In the spirit of highlighting titles, most of the reviews are positive, but there are a few negative ones (notably “Shauna Tears the Lid off Gore Vidal’s Duluth”).

A great feature of TBPL Off the Shelf is that you can search through the blog for a staff member you like, as long as they contribute to the blog.  All you have to do is find their most recent review and click on their hyperlinked name, then all of their book reviews will come up.  Our posts are also tagged and categorized, giving you many options to find a new book. 

April is National Poetry Month, and TBPL Off the Shelf makes sure to join in the celebration as well.  For the last two years, staff have shared their favourite poems on the blog.  Like the book reviews, favourite poems and poets are as varied as our staff, making every April a delightful discovery.  And of course, these favourites remain on the blog to read after the month of April.

TBPL Off the Shelf isn’t just a one-stop place to find reading recommendations.  Last February, we started interviewing authors on the blog as well.  Author interviews run once a month, appearing on the second Wednesday.  But between October and November, we ran weekly interviews leading up to the International Festival of Authors.  The interviews start by asking the authors several questions about their books, and end by asking about what inspired them to write.  There’s also a question about what they’re currently reading, which is always a lot of fun.  Since last February, we’ve interviewed science fiction and fantasy authors, children’s book authors, local authors, poets, podcasters, and screenwriters. 

Our blog also features links to other reading-related sites.  The links are split into two sections.  First is the blogroll, which will direct you to other blogs relating to the library and reading.  These include Girl Discovering Library, which was the blog of one of our summer students, terribleminds, the rantings (and fantastic writing advice) of author Chuck Wendig, TBPL @ Your Library, our blog that collects our Sunday newspaper column, and the blog of Joseph Nassise, the very first author we interviewed.  Under that are links to all things books, including Audible, Book Riot, Goodreads, Galley Cat, Shelfari, and What Should I Read Next?  Together, these links make TBPL Off the Shelf an excellent resource for finding news about the publishing world.

So remember, the next time you want to find a new book to read, peruse some poetry, or find out what’s going on in the publishing world, make TBPL Off the Shelf your first stop.

Shauna Kosoris

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