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New from BookNet Canada: Loan Stars and Loan Stars Jr – Tech Forum 2019


So, hello, welcome to my Tech Talk My name is Elizabeth Barker

I am the project manager of the Loan Stars project Very excited to be here, thank you for coming So, this year, we are focusing more on foretelling features Last year, our update focused more on crossing a major milestone, which was turning or becoming a toddler And oddly enough, the year was actually not terrible, it was kind of great, it was kind of goal affirming, and I want to touch base on what actually happened and see a little bit of what's coming up next for the Loan Star project

All right, so let's begin with the basics What is Loan Stars? So, Loan Stars is a reader advisory tool for library staff And how this works is using CataList, which is our digital catalogue service And afterwards, after this very session, my colleague Carol has some amazing update for you, so stick around Basically, what happens is we use it as a voting platform so library staff can discover books

And thanks to the early distribution of the bibliographic information from publishers, which is much appreciated, library staff can find books well before pub date So then, of course, going through, when using their various secret inside sources, which I will tell you some of them, such as getting ARCs through CataList itself or NetGalley, reading the bibliographic information, content outlines, etc, they determine whether or not this book is appropriate not only for their patrons but right for patrons across Canada And as these library staff come across these books and you see more sort of come in each month, each of these recommendations, a Loan Star list is born So, to reiterate, Loan Stars consists of three factors

discoverability, the act or the ability for library staff to find publisher's books early on, expert recommendations, which will, from here on out, be called professional prophecies, the ability or the act, I should say, a library staff sharing their expertise, and math, which is the act of me pretending to grumble to do math and then getting really excited when I see the actual final numbers And together, they come and become "The Triforce of Titles," which is kind of the same thing, because like every month is an exciting adventure And unlike certain video games that do not share a cohesive timeline, we do not immediately make you get up in the middle of the night and go to a dungeon You can do this on your own time Okay, so what's the point? So here's a fun fact about BookNet many of you may not know, we actually conduct research from time to time, yeah

And one of our more recent studies, our annual leisure study, we asked Canadians how they spend their free time, more specifically, how books factor into this free time So, for this report, we expanded the scope this year to include more library usage And in terms of discoverability, it showed that patrons, and here, we're defining patrons as people who have checked out books from the library at least once in the past year, tend to use the library to find books 46% of the time, which is amazing, that's a very high number, very exciting However, it did not dethrone the number one long-standing source, word of mouth, 48% of the time, patrons are still using the recommendations of their friends, which as we know is kind of a double-edged sword But even with the high-risk factor, it's still the clip channels like social media, which was used 27% of the time, and awards, and critical reception and award status, which was 15% of the time

So, Loan Stars is kind of the amalgamation of these two high ranking options We provide a way for library staff to discover and evaluate titles and then give libraries a platform to communicate this with their patrons Because while your friends and colleagues may know you, library staff know books, and probably most of them are incredibly friendly So then when we created the Loan Star program, we asked library staff this question, is this book destined to be a favourite? Will it circulate? Would patrons like it? Will people remember its name? And with the upcoming addition of LibraryData, as Mo just amazingly went through, we'll retroactively be able to evaluate these questions using different criteria But in the meantime, we thought it would be kind of interesting to judge the calibre of the list, not so much by how it performs in the library ecosystem, but in the wild of "Criticalandia

" And so yes, yes, they are being remembered To complete this task, we took all the Loan Star picks that were published between May 2016 and December 2018, and then we compared them against 175 awards and best of lists, and for this, we only included best of lists that were yearly best of list, not like best to the summer, best of March, because I would have gone insane So sources comprised of CataList, author pages, websites of various awards themselves And books were then categorised based on the type of recognition So here, you see, they were shortlisted, longlisted, nominated, which is kind of

it depended on whether or not the committee chose the final selections or the actual wording from the award themselves, whether or not they won, and also whether they listed And as you can see here, that happened a lot So out of 318 books, 55% of them were distinguished at least once between 2016 and 2018, the vast majority making multiple Best of the Year lists

As you can see here, in terms of trends with each passing year, library staff are picking books that go on and make waves You can clearly see this when looking at the books that have been recognised based on the year the award was given Between 2016 and 2017, the number nearly doubled, and continued to grow by 46% in 2018 And by pub date, you can see the number of individual titles that actually received awards And we should make a note that the 62 here is actually should be taken with a grain of salt, because a lot of the awards that these books are eligible for haven't happened yet

So we expect this number to kind of just jump immediately as 2019 keeps rolling out So I mean, this is just, of course, further evidence We know that library staff have their finger on their pulse They know what books are likely to make a splash or have that certain je ne sais quoi But what's kind of interesting about the Loan Star list is not how frequently they appear, it's more that the data suggests that they're not necessarily big names that are making these lists

So here are the top three most recognised titles The first one was a debut The second one was a nonfiction that came out in April, and by July, Martin Scorsese had like swept up the rights, and it's probably going to star Leo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, odds are And the third one isn't actually a Loan Star title, I just really wanted some input here, because like, honestly, is this about a giant cat or a decent sized burrito? Like, I cannot figure this out So I'm open to starting a Twitter pool, if you want to come talk to me after this, after you have time to think about it, much appreciated

Really, the description does not tell me these things But actually what happened was little fires everywhere, which is also being optioned And not that it's like suggestive of how successful it is, whether or not it's going to be TV show, it's just that I read variety a lot So in terms of Canadian, the top 3 here also made the top 20 You can see two of them are very recognisable and that they made a splash during award seasons recently

One of them, anecdotally someone told me, was an unforeseen phenomenon, but this was picked before it was out So library staff called it, I just kind of wanted to push that out there to reiterate my point And Glass Houses is the 13th book of a series, it's a fantastic series, but it's the 13th book and it was on a lot of lists And these are the places that they're appearing the most I mean, it's not very surprising that Globe and Mail is taking a lot of Loan Star titles, Canadian focus

NPR was a bit of a surprise They had about 42, I believe And then, of course, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, which as many of you know is based on suggestions from libraries across, like around the world, had about 28 books So these books are not just staying within Canada and making a splash in our hometown, this is international And of course, the Loan Star list is not just Canadian titles

About 38% overall are award-winning Canadian titles So out of 175 books that were distinguished over the past few years, they were acknowledged 744 times So, with this 38%, it's actually kind of interesting, because looking at sort of how Loan Stars is as a whole list, about 37% of the entire list is Canadian And this is consistent with the 2017 data But in terms of trends, we're seeing similar but slight variations, especially in genre

So nonfiction actually arose and became more prominent in 2018, rising to 13% However, we still see fiction most of the time becoming a Loan Star pick Interestingly though, in terms of genre, even though it retained in the top spot, literary actually went down, it decreased just slightly, And thrillers kind of came up closing in the gap Mystery and detective, of course, tied with contemporary women this year instead of fantasy, which dropped down about 4% And nonfiction actually made the top five list this year, which is exciting, with biography and autobiography cracking finally

And we saw more range in terms of genre So we saw cookbooks, we saw fairy tales, stuff about military history And the list expanded to about 28 genres, which is up 22% from 2017 And, like, I could speculate as to why it's expanding and becoming a little more diverse, but like honestly, I'm still stuck on the time-travelling burrito, so I'm not going to make an assumption here However, it could, just could, have something to do with the launch of Loan Star Junior

So, Loan Star Junior, it's out, it's a real thing There's actually a list So the difference here is, like the adult list though I should say, Loan Star Junior is made up of forthcoming English language, publishing for the first time titles that are also in CataList, but the main difference is that these books are meant for juvenile and young adult readers, of course And another key variation is that we're going to be sending out this list bimonthly, so each month will consist of books that are publishing within 2 months, as opposed to the adult list, which will have a top 10 released on schedule every month So back when we opened voting in November 2018, we asked library staff to use their recommendations to answer this question, is this book essential for Canadian libraries? And we ask this because, essentially, what the junior list is, is a peer-approved collection of content and appropriate for young readers

And now that we're starting to see more participation from children and school librarians, or I should say library staff, it's interesting to see how this resource is taking shape and how it's differing from its adult counterpart And it's fascinating to think about where this resources can be used and how it can be useful not just for public libraries but like schools across the country So, here is the inaugural list, as you can see, in terms of reader distribution, it's a fairly even list with two YA titles, five picture books, three middle-grade books And we're continuing to produce monthly posters We will have one, of course, for adult, we will have a different one for Junior, and we will continue to create patron-facing content so it's downloadable from our website and available as soon as the list is ready to go and release

And it seems that the contributors and publishers were pretty happy about this first list, which of course makes us happy And then we get really excited about the next list, and then it appears in the Quill & Quire, and then later when it's actually close to pub date, it appears in the Toronto Star, and then in libraries, things We get more excited, and the cycle continues So really, it's just like very exciting every month at the BookNet office But this recent foray into the world of children's books has made us re-evaluate the Loan Star process

So we've gone back, and we're starting to think about how we can make this easier And while I can't say too much about what we are planning, I can say that next year's presentation will probably be more instructional So from our main interest, of course, it's just making everything easier from discoverability to evaluating, to recommending, to ensuring that the books end up in libraries themselves And two of these steps are underway And Carol, like I said, will be touching on them in the next session

But to run through the one that I'm most excited about, and will be present in the near future, is sample and preview content So we've heard repeatedly that there are just so many books that only people can read in a month and still be considered a productive member of society So we found that library staff need ARCs earlier and earlier in order to feel confident about the recommendations, but that also means that publishers are often concerned for the books that they don't have ARCs for So our solution to this time crunch is to offer a CataList enhancement, which is the ability to access and preview content And so while building their books on CataList, publishers are encouraged to submit samples, which is about the first three chapters of a book, I would say, as either a PDF or in EPUB form

Excuse me We will have that displayed on the account, so that means that library staff can log into their accounts, find a book, access this preview content, get a sense of the book, and like vote and recommend this book right in the same session without having to leave the page So everything is going to be in one spot They'll take hopefully less time So we're streamlining this process and still giving library staff thorough information on which they can base their professional prophecies

Which is a great, like, I know it's great, but like, what does that mean? Like, what can I do now? Well, for publishers, there's a few things So we've begun sending out direct links to Loan Star branded catalogues in our library or into newsletters So make a Loan Star catalogue filled with your upcoming titles and cycle them as the season progress Get your forthcoming titles in as soon as possible, we have further instructions on how to do this, how to create catalogues, and we have handy, GIF-infested help documentation to help you keep on schedule for our website Come on, there we go

Update your metadata This may seem kind of like a "Well, duh" option, but it's amazing how often this is overlooked So most of the awards actually that I came across for Loan Stars I found by accident And sometimes what would happen is if the author had two books out relatively close together, and the first book had done well, book B would have information about book A, but book A would not have that information So get it all in on one source, because discoverability is key, and if you only have to go to one place, it's much, much better

So this took a lot of sleuthing And for Loan Stars Junior, make sure that you have your audience ranges not just included but accurate And include reading levels, assessments if you have them, Lexile, Fountas & Pinnell, and start sending samples So we're building the feature now, and every file we get helps us get this out faster And if you're not sure how to upload, you can reach out to us, the CataList team or the Loan Star team, we're eager to help you

And we're here if you need additional support And have fun with us So, we love libraries, we love books, and we love creativity So we're always eager and ready to offer a prize or promotion or just talk, but mostly, we just talk about your books We want to know what's happening, we want to know what's coming up

And engaged with us online Excuse me, I'm just choking to death over here Let us know about what titles you like in front of library staff, we're here to help and we'd really like just to open that line of communication For library staffers, what can you do? Come on, thank you So let us help you discover books

We know you're mostly using Amazon, don't deny it But we think CataList is a wonderful tool that will help you find these books well before pub date, with all the information you need in one place And we have again lots of videos and help documentation that we've tried to make as fun as possible and easy to follow and short as possible So, get in touch, don't be shy, ask us if you need help We want to help you use CataList in your day-to-day life, whether you're a collection librarian or a technical support staffer, we want us to share your expert opinion, so please don't be shy

And let us know what you need Is there something you're not seeing that would help? Do you need different materials to provide to patrons? Would you like us to make more Tumblr posts? Because we can do that And also follow our updates We haveour social media information will be following in the slide, this We have library-oriented news, we've got list information, we've got social media, mood boosters I'm a big fan of Meme Monday, it's not just because I get to browse book memes for like a good hour Don't tell Noah I said that

And sign up for our newsletter And finally, going all the way back to our leisure study that I mentioned before, we asked patrons how often they found what they were looking for in libraries And it turned out it was 77% of the time, which is astounding if you think of the number of possible titles out there, and just difference in personality and just what they've heard So we want to make sure that, like our books, when these are put together and recommended by libraries are available So that's why we have Loan Star picks readily available as soon as their list is announced with Library Bound and Whitehots, it's on their website, it's going on their blasts

We just want to make sure that it's as easy as possible to gain access and that these books will end up in Canadian library systems, which has been deemed essential So any questions? Come on There we go Questions? No Any thoughts on the time burrito? No, it's okay, you can find me after

Well, that is my tech talk Again, thank you for coming And if you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Loan Star team You can find us through social media We are always here to help


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