December 12, 2017

Meet the “Buzz Whisperer”: Book Pulse Keeps You Up On What’s Trending | Editorial

The book world is always buzzing. But the buzz can be hard to harness for daily, timely application in our libraries. I’m pleased to share that librarians now have a new tool to put to work. Meet LJ’s Book Pulse, launched in October and powered by the deeply experienced and highly creative readers’ advisory (RA) expert Neal Wyatt.

Through Book Pulse, Wyatt, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working for years in her capacity as an LJ contributor, provides an overview of the current book news you need to know. Wyatt, who earned her MSLS from Catholic University of America, is firmly anchored in the work of RA. Aside from her longtime LJ gigs, she served as president of RUSA and chair of the Notable Books Council and the Reading List Council and founded the RA Forum. She has won the Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award and the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award and is a 2005 LJ Mover & Shaker.

Now in Book Pulse posts each weekday, she is highlighting trending titles and authors. Knowing what books and authors are popping each day and why helps you keep up with, or even get ahead of, demand and creates opportunities to provide timely RA.

The field lost an important source this summer when EarlyWord, by the brilliant Nora Rawlinson, ceased covering book news. Wyatt emailed me to discuss what librarians might need to fill the gap, and, with collaboration from Reviews Director Kiera Parrott and Executive Editor Meredith Schwartz, Book Pulse was born.

“One of the concerns we all have is finding a way to keep up-to-date when our already demanding daily duties makes that hard to do,” says Wyatt. “Book Pulse is intended to help fix that. It seems every couple of months there is something else to follow online or another celebrity starts posting about books—and this is on top of the established print and online resources we all try to follow. It is daunting to keep on top of it all. In fact, it can feel impossible. Book Pulse is designed to bring some order to this sea of buzz and help librarians turn it to good use with their readers.”

The project complements LJ’s long-standing reviews, collection development articles, and early coverage of what’s coming through the publishing pipeline via Prepub Alert. It particularly keeps libraries aware of what happens to a title after publication and the initial order, as award nominations, TV and film deals, or celebrity endorsements can lead to later spikes in interest. Book Pulse is published each weekday to the web, but you can also opt to have an email alert in your in-box. We want it to be valuable, fun to read and engage with, inspiring for you and the readers you serve, and, as a whole, a go-to resource for a long time to come.

“What I love is how immediate and practical Book Pulse is,” says Parrott. “Librarians, especially frontline staff who work with patrons every day, need to know what titles are trending, what folks will be asking for, and which books they need to keep an eye on for holds. Even the most dedicated librarian can’t keep up with everything. Neal is doing that work for you, exactly when you need to know about it.”

Book Pulse is, ultimately, about helping librarians be as relevant and timely as possible and ready for readers when they are sparked by something they hear or read as they move through the day. “I hope it provides librarians with a moment to catch their breath and review the daily flow of bookish news, that it gives them a checklist of sorts to consider how the daily swell of news fits into and informs their work with readers,” adds Wyatt.

We at LJ think Book Pulse is well on its way to meeting these goals. So far, readers agree. Soon after the launch, Rawlinson herself weighed in with a comment, referring to Wyatt as “the ‘Buzz Whisperer’ ” and joining in the active conversation already taking place.

We hope you’ll join in, too.

This article was published in Library Journal's November 15, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Rebecca T. Miller About Rebecca T. Miller

Rebecca T. Miller (miller@mediasourceinc.com) is Editorial Director, Library Journal and School Library Journal.

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