Friday, October 28, 2016

COSCBWI Meeting October 2016

The October SCBWI meeting in Columbus featured a library tour and discussion with Tracie Steele.  Tracie is a Youth Services Librarian at the Upper Arlington Public Library.  She gave a librarian's insight on writing for children and today's publishing market.

The SCBWI folk in Columbus know the Upper Arlington Public Library quite well--it's where we gather for our monthly meetings!  But many of us were unfamiliar with the children's and teen section, so Tracie began the night with a group tour.  The collection of books housed in the library is impressive, with sections for the littlest bookworms to mature YA readers.  There are even resources for dyslexic children and foreign-language readers. 

Tracie gave some insight into how the books in their collection are chosen and displayed.  The library has selectors who are in charge of picking which books are acquired, and those choices are influenced by reviews, requests, and trends in the community.  The librarians pick the "face-out" and display books for various reasons.  Sometimes they feature books due to popular trends or seasonal topics.  Other times, they showcase books that are new.  And often they just like to shine the spotlight on books that they found to be particularly wonderful.

Tracie made us a great display of popular books and trends!

After the tour, Tracie discussed some trends their library has noticed.  These include an increase in:

-Books with diverse characters
-Gender identity books
-Graphic novels 
-Books that feature characters who are usually under-empowered
-Narrative nonfiction
-Strong themes of empathy
-Historical fiction with magical elements
-Books with unique formats (like emails, ship logs, journals, etc.)
-For older readers, books that tackle deep, gritty issues
-Series, series, series!

Tracie also noted that the popularity of book genres often matches what is popular in movies and TV.  So if there's a big TV show about superheroes/time travel/detectives/whatever, you can bet books about those subjects will be flying off the shelves!

Lastly, Tracie had a very touching reminder for all of us.  She praised the importance of stories in bringing people together and assured us that writers and illustrators make a difference in the world.

A big thank you to Tracie for sharing her time and wisdom with us!  You can discover more about the Upper Arlington Public Library system at

If you want to learn more about COSCBWI, be sure to visit the group website at  I hope to see you at the next meeting!

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