By Liesa Malik
How many books will you read this year?
As authors, we have a certain obligation to become "super readers," which are readers, according to Alice Kober of the Arapahoe Library District, who read at least eleven books a year. If this sounds like your kind of goal, then you are doing well. But Alice may have you beat. She tries to read approximately 100 books each year.
This wonderful former host and judge committee of one for the annual Rick Hansen Simile contest at the Colorado Gold Conference has a substantial commitment to reading, writing, and all things books. A member of RMFW since 1993, Alice has made the world of books her domain.
"It's so hard for me to hang out with people who don't read," said Alice recently. "Reading is a passion of mine." This is a good thing, as Alice's role with the library is that of Adult Fiction Collection Librarian. That means she buys the print, audio, e-books, down-loadable materials and anything related to adult fiction for all of the Arapahoe Library District. "I'm an on-line shopper," said Alice with her typical ring of humility.
Besides her personal commitment to a high level of reads for each year, Alice also posts several reviews on Goodreads. She said she used to review on Amazon as well, but doesn't go there any more.
"I just hate Amazon reviews because they have paid reviewers. People are all saying it's just crooked. There were authors out there deliberately panning other people's books. I have found a lot more authenticity on Goodreads," she said.
Besides her job as personal shopper for the patrons of Arapahoe County, Alice spends a good deal of her time looking for the next great book. She refers to many sources for top-selling titles that may be of interest to patrons.
"For less commercial books, I look at Indie-Next—The Independent Booksellers' Association. And I also read Romantic Times, Locus (for science-fiction), Mystery Scene, Oprah's list, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, New York Times Review of Books. So I'm looking at everything from literary fiction to action/adventure."
"I look at my job as buying chocolate, in that reading is entertainment. There's dark chocolate and there's milk chocolate and there's nuts'n'chews. There's even orange centers.
"I really dislike it when some people will criticize inspirational fiction or romance or whatever. I feel that I represent the taxpayers of the Arapahoe tax district. Some people want erotica, some people want what we call 'clean reads,' and I try to get something of everything."
Picking Books To Shelve
Another part of being the Adult Fiction Collections Librarian, is to develop sets of books patrons may want to read. One of the collections Alice works on is a local author set.
"We have a Colorado Author's collection at Arapahoe County and I've been posting that on the RMFW loop. Those books have a special sticker for Colorado Author, and they circulate well," said Alice. "Our patrons are very interested."
If you are a published author and member of the RMFW loop, please contact Alice with your title, ISBN number and publishing date, so she can review your book for possible future purchase.
Some other tips for getting your books in the libraries:
- Librarians prefer requests via email as opposed to phone calls.
- When you query, provide links to reviews, past publishing successes and awards, and anything that shows your author platform or publication history.
- Know and be able to articulate your reader appeal. For example, if your book is a futuristic romance then let your librarian know that it would appeal to readers of Jayne Castle.
- Americans are visual. Make sure your cover is professional looking.
- If you're an independently published author, be sure your work is thoroughly copy-edited before publication.
- Please don't ask for a book review.
- Remember, libraries are a great way for readers to discover new authors. Visit and get to know your librarians.
For Alice, the trends in reading constantly change, so purchasing for Arapahoe remains a challenging and fun position.
"I've read a lot of articles and I think people are reading shorter things. They talk about people's attention spans changing, but there's a Pew study on e-reading that says '3 in ten adults read an e-book last year. Half of them own an e-reader.' Reading is all over the place. I keep buying my books and hoping."
So, what's your next read? Tell us in the comments below. Alice and all of us at RMFW would be interested to know. Maybe you can get it at the library.