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Find more Notes from the Field
Kaite Mediatore Stover is one of my favorite library colleagues. We met back in 1999, when we were both speaking at the Kansas State Library Association conference, and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her become one of the library world’s best advocates for readers’ advisory. She also has strong ties to Booklist—a longtime reviewer, Kaite is our current Booklist Editorial Advisory Board chair, and she writes the “She Reads” column as a counterpoint to David Wright’s “He Reads.” In addition, Kaite is a regular blogger for Book Group Buzz. Get to know Kaite through our interview, and I’ll bet you’ll like her as much as I do.Rebecca:Tell us a little about yourself and your place in the readers’-advisory universe.
Kaite: I’m currently the director of readers’ services at the Kansas City Public Library. It’s a new position but one that the administration has had in the works for some years now. In the past, I’ve been adult services coordinator at Emporia Public Library; readers’ services librarian at Kansas City (KS) Public Library; and readers’ services manager at Kansas City Public Library. KCPL has centralized collection development with a few specialty areas. I handle the book-group collection, the fiction collection for the Central Library, and the audiobook collection.
I published my first article in Wilson Library Bulletin (how’s that for a blast from the past?) on booktalking. Since then, I’ve contributed articles to these ALA publications: Youth Services in Libraries, RUSQ, Booklist, and Public Libraries. As you know, I’m a reviewer for Booklist and one-half of the “He Reads, She Reads” column with David Wright (he gets to be the guy). I also contribute material to Library Journal and NoveList.
I’ve had book reviews published in the Emporia Gazette, Kansas City Star’s INK magazine, and Present magazine. I’ve contributed chapters to Research-Based Readers’ Advisory and Integrated Advisory Service, by Jessica Moyer. I’ve written booktalks and a chapter for Booktalk! 4 and Booktalk! 5, by Joni Richards Bodart, and contributed to Professional Development: What Works, by Sally J. Zapeda. I was a contributor to Fiction Catalog editions 14, 15, and 16. I am the coeditor of the Readers’ Advisory Handbook, with Jessica Moyer.
How have your position and your career changed over the last 10 years?
Kaite: My career has always focused on reading, reading material, and trends in reading for the publishing industry and the reading public. I have always held positions with an emphasis on public service, but as I continue to work in public libraries, my attention is shifting to more specific areas of readers’ services: coordinating reading initiatives and programs with a focus on reading and, in general, promoting reading as a leisure activity to the public.
Tell us more about KCPL. What do you think is special about your library’s approach to readers’ advisory and collection development?
Kaite: KCPL makes great efforts to tie library materials and reading to all library-sponsored programs, services, and events, whether in person or online. We are spending a great deal of time on social media and connecting with KCPL patrons and readers nationwide—check out our Reading Refresh RA service, which happens every Thursday on the KCPL Facebook page. We’re also cross-posting Reading Refresh on our Twitter and Pinterest accounts.
We’re always looking for new, cool ways to promote reading to the online community. We’ve made video booktalks on our Adult Winter Reading Program featured titles; on how to do book-spine poetry for Poetry Month in April; and even kicky videos on how to download the library’s new app (see: Overdue Masterpiece Theatre.)
That all sounds fantastic. What advice would you give to a library looking to emulate the things that you do?
Kaite: One of KCPL’s greatest strengths is its public affairs department. This crackerjack team of PR pros understands how libraries work, what people like about their libraries, and, most of all, how to brand and sell the library to the community. The library and the librarians give public affairs the steak, and they put the designer sizzle on it. I feel a marketing department with a firm foundation in PR first, libraries second, is essential.
How many people work in your department?
Kaite: Right now, I am a department of one, but, thankfully, there are plans to expand the department by adding staff. I work very closely with the KCPL public affairs department and the social media manager.
What kinds of things do you find your collection is in need of most right now?
Kaite: Readers in Kansas City are a barometer for what’s popular elsewhere in the nation—steampunk, urban fiction, James Patterson, 50 Shades of Grey—but our patrons are also dedicated history buffs and fans of literary fiction, classics, and mysteries.
Since we were just at Book Expo, what are the things you saw that you are most excited about?
Kaite: Books that I’m most looking forward to seeing published in the next few months include Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan; The Art Forger, by B. A. Shapiro; The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe; Live by Night, by Dennis Lehane; Magnificence, by Lydia Millet; The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton; and Black Box, by Michael Connolly.
Many thanks to Kaite for her participation! If you think you or a librarian you know should be profiled in Corner Shelf, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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