Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hunting for Manly Titles

From March 14 to 17, Chinook Arch Regional Library System shared a booth with Lethbridge Public Library at the Lethbridge Home and Garden Show. While there, one of our librarians heard from a few male patrons that our OverDrive eBook and audiobook collection was somewhat feminized.

In response to this feedback, I decided to go hunting for purported experts of manly titles. According to the American Library Association’s 2011 State of America’s Libraries Report, women are significantly more likely (72%) to have visited a library, including visits in person, in the last year as compared to men (58%). To encourage male readers using our OverDrive collection and assist our collection purchasers in finding titles that might be of interest to this user group, I located the following sources:

  • Books for Dudes: Library Journal has devoted an entire column to this subject under Collection Development on their website. Douglas Lords writes on what up-and-coming novels could be of interest to men or, as his column title states, dudes. His picks are wide-ranging, from Thrillers to Biographies to Graphic Novels to Love Stories.
  • The Literate Man, a Book Blog for Men: Admittedly pre-disposed to the classics, TLM is edited by Patrick James O’Connor, a lawyer and writer who recently published, “The Last Will and Testament of Lemuel Higgins.” Featuring author interviews, guest posts, and reviews of new and “unheralded” books, this blog makes for informative reading.
  • Men Reading Books: The subtitle of this blog says it all: “Book summaries and opinions by guys about books that other guys might consider reading.” The contributors to this blog have dubbed themselves vardaman99, East Coast Don, Midwest Dave, and West Coast Don. What really is great about this source is the sheer amount and breadth of titles reviewed. These gentlemen appear to be bibliophiles indeed.

In the last few years there has been a lot of focus in the library and education world on encouraging boys to read. Although we may assume that adult male readers will find what they want on our shelves, we should continually consider unique preferences and interests that specific groups may have. Now, to fish out a few good books ...

(Note: All of the above sources include titles written by both male and female authors.)

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