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Ask Alex – How to find good fiction easily

Category: Branches and Groups

Dear Alex,

After five weeks back at school, I’m coming to grips with the new routines and necessary adaptations. We’re able to offer an eBook service and a ‘click and collect’ service. However, I’m struggling to find the time and energy to source new books and recommend them to our pupils. Can you guide me to sources that offer good reviews for age-appropriate fiction, and will highlight what popular books to watch out for?


Seeking Frictionless Fiction



Dear Seeking,

The best part of our role as a librarian is to recommend the right book at the right time to our individual pupils. However, we are very busy people (even when there’s not a global pandemic) and finding good fiction can become an overwhelming task. Here’s some recommendations to bring your book-hunt joy back!

Follow authors on social media.

You’ll be able to see when authors that are popular with your pupils are publishing new books, as well as see what they’re reading and what they recommend. Signing up for alerts means you can have recommendations sent right to your inbox. Be sure to also follow fellow school librarians!  One suggestion is Lucas Maxwell (school librarian in London) who publishes one minute book reviews regularly.

Listen to podcasts.

Do you commute in to work? Maybe listen to a podcast relax on your commute home after stressful day. Book Riot has several great podcasts, including Hey YA!

Browse new release lists and create your own wish lists

Don’t currently have a budget for purchasing fiction? Creating a wish list on Amazon for your school and regularly browsing their popular book lists will keep you informed of what is popular, and help you know what to purchase when you do have funds. You could even share your library’s wish list with parents and the wider school community.

Don’t forget…

Scottish Book Trust, Books For Keeps (now free!) and lovereading4kids all keep current lists of popular books.

Best wishes in your quest for good books!


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