Today I am featuring a librarian I met on my travels this fall, Linda B. Adams [bio below]. She is a horror reader and writer who takes her RA responsibilities very seriously. Below she talks about her love of horror, her feelings about providing the best RA Service to her patrons as possible [regardless of their personal reading preferences], and not assuming that readers aren’t willing to try something new...especially in October.
This piece is short, but packed full of general RA service and great horror authors who are perfect suggestions for public library patrons.
Before we get to Linda, this is a reminder that October is almost over. Halloween will be here in a few short days. Please, I hope you have tried to suggest at least 1 horror book this season or, even better, opened your mind to trying something yourself.
Now here is Linda...
If, according to T.S. Eliot, April is the cruelest month, October is the coolest month. At least for me. As a horror aficionado, it’s the month that fits my soul. I grew up reading H.P. Lovecraft, Gahan Wilson, and Richard Matheson and graduated into the darkness of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum. Always, of course, my reading was seasoned with a healthy dose of Stephen King.
As a reader and writer, it made sense for me to end up working in a library. As a book lover, one of the best parts of my job is RA. Clearly my tastes run to the weird, macabre, and horrific. Even more clearly, that’s not necessarily what my patrons are looking for when they ask for book recommendations. Still, what we want is the same thing—a book that pulls us in and makes us a different person than who we were before we read that book. We come to the written word—fiction or nonfiction—for the experience.
Most of the time when I do RA I suggest books that I’ve never read and often don’t plan to. Because it’s not about me and it’s not about what I’ve read. What it is about is the business of books, which happens to be the business I’m in. We ‘sell’ our product best when we give the customer what he or she came in looking for. And if we do our job right, that person will be a repeat customer.
I work in a library whose adult patronage is not much interested in the horror genre. However, once in a while I’ll recommend a Robert McCammon or a Joe Lansdale. And my heart soars.
Now here it is October. The time when even the most faint-hearted of readers is looking for something that will put some ice in their blood. As librarians, one of our jobs is to stretch the minds of our patrons. To help them discover new authors and new worlds. In October, I can say, “Have you tried Dan Simmons? Or Simon Clark? How about Douglas Clegg?” And then I gently suggest they keep the lights on and the doors locked.
Linda B. Adams is the Director of the Reading Room Association of Gouverneur, NY and a member of the Horror Writers Association. When she’s not at the library, she’s usually writing, teaching writing, or reading. You can find her on Twitter @lindabwriter.