March 16, 2018

Robin Bradford | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Advocates

Robin Bradford


Collection Development Librarian, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, WA


JD, Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, 2008; MSLS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2000


@Tuphlos on Twitter

Photo by Nancy Alcott


Barrier Breaker

Whether she is tweeting her latest collection find, speaking to the New York Times about diversity in romance (“A Genre of Romance, Not Diversity,” 10/10/17), presenting at professional conferences, or pushing libraries to purchase self-published (indie) books, collection development librarian Robin Bradford constantly campaigns for readers’ needs. “You never know when someone will actually hear you,” Bradford says. “So I try to advocate for things as often as possible, whether that is romance books, or diverse books, or indie books, or all of the above.”

Bradford is a national leader in an ongoing conversation aimed at raising awareness about diverse books, indie books, and respecting readers of romance and other genres. She presents at major conferences including the American Library Association, BookExpo, Bouchercon World Mystery Fiction Convention, Romance Writers of America (RWA), and RT Booklovers. In 2016, Bradford was named the RWA Cathie Linz Librarian of the Year. She has twice judged LJ’s SELF-e contest, writes reviews for recently launched review publication Indie Picks, and has contributed to LJ.

Bradford began to purchase self-published books for libraries before the indie explosion. “Seeking out indie books is important…because that is where a lot of [authors] shut out of traditional publishing are raising their voices,” Bradford says. “[We need] authors from all backgrounds to be published so that we can hear stories from a lot of perspectives [and] interact with people across all walks of life.”

When it comes to indie titles, Bradford says many libraries have let patrons take the lead in finding great books that are self-published. “It’s time [librarians] got back in the game and started discovering indie books that fit their collections,” she says.

Most recently, Bradford has helped inform Timberland library staff about multicast GraphicAudio Books on CD, so staff will be better able to connect readers to what they love across genres and formats. For example, she says, a patron with an appetite for Westerns might enjoy a multicast audiobook or indie Western film released to DVD. This level of readers’ advisory goes beyond the entry level and breaks “barriers to [customers] finding their next great book,” she says.

Bradford’s advocacy extends to mentoring newer librarians, “just as more experienced librarians helped me when I first got started,” she says, “and to increasing diversity in librarianship itself.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.



  1. Congratulations MS. Bradford! May you continue your efforts to advocate for readers and motivate emerging library leaders!
    Connie Scott, President
    Indiana Black Librarian Network

  2. Congratulations Ms. Bradford! May you continue to advocate for readers and mentor emerging library leaders!

    Connie Scott
    Indiana Black Librarian Network

  3. Nancy Alcott says:

    Photo by Nancy Alcott

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