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Shortlist for 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

shortlist for 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Shortlist


The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice,” by Patricia Bell-Scott, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House LLC.
Bell-Scott meticulously chronicles the boundary-breaking friendship of Pauli Murray and Eleanor Roosevelt, telling each remarkable woman’s story within the context of the crises of the times, from ongoing racial violence to WWII and the vicious battle over school integration.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” by Matthew Desmond, published by Crown, Penguin Random House LLC.
Desmond shares harrowing stories of eight families who find themselves facing home evictions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, shining a light on how eviction sets people up to fail.

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America,” by Patrick Phillips, published by W. W. Norton.
Phillips presents a precise and disquieting account of long underreported tyranny and violence against African Americans in a farming community in Forsyth Country, Georgia, in 1912, which resulted in nothing less than racial cleansing.


Moonglow,” by Michael Chabon, published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.
A young writer listens in breath-held astonishment as his ailing grandfather, whose lifelong reticence has been vanquished by strong painkillers, tells the hidden stories of his hardscrabble boyhood, WWII military service, obsession with moon missions, and love for a French Holocaust survivor.

Swing Time,” by Zadie Smith, published by Penguin Press, Penguin Random House LLC.
Two “brown girls” growing up in London public housing share a passion for dance, but follow divergent paths which lead to adventures in America and Africa, and raise complex questions about family, friendship, race, creativity, and celebrity.

The Underground Railroad,” by Colson Whitehead, published by Doubleday, Penguin Random House LLC.
Whitehead reimagines the Underground Railroad in this powerful tale about smart and resilient Cora, a young third-generation slave who escapes the brutality of a Georgia cotton plantation and seeks sanctuary throughout the terrorized South.

The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year and serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by the American Library Association and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers.

Annotations and more information on the finalists and the awards can be found at Also, book cover artwork is available for download at

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Be Our Guest: Create Your Own Pixie Dust at the Library

originally posted in Cognotes, Monday,  June 27, 2016 – Orlando
By Meredith Myers,
American Libraries

Rusa President's Program 1966_3

Room W110B in the Orange County Convention Center was packed tighter than Disney’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on the first day of summer vacation. Instead of magical pixie dust, RUSA chose Dave Cobb to make every-day librarians into user experience designers, all with the click of his mouse.

“We tell stories in physical places,” he said, as photos of colorful museums and libraries splashed across the screen in perfectly timed clicks.  As the vice president for creative development of Thinkwell Group in Los Angeles, Cobb has spent years designing roller coasters and attractions for theme parks.  “People often say that I design roller coasters.  No.  I tell  stories  with roller coasters. Libraries are no different. We need to understand the user. Our audience has an audience.”

He suggested asking,  “What is unique about your location?  Who is your audience, and what are their expectations of your library? How are you inviting your audience to take ownership of their library?”

In telling stories, librarians can create Be Our Guest: Create Your Own Pixie Dust at the Library an emotional resonance with patrons, thus inspiring them to tell their own stories.  To illustrate, Cobb filled the screen with swimming metaphors: “waders” being the largest audience, “swimmers” being most curious, and “divers” being true fans – his message being that one should design library spaces for all three types of users. He added a new category of “mer-people,” speaking of those who have been submerged too long. (Which is probably how most librarians feel after a long day of meetings and toting free books from the Exhibits.)

Panel responders were John Blyberg, assistant director for innovation and UX, Darien Library, Darien, Connecticut, and Steven Bell, associate university librarian, Temple University. Bell spoke of being intentional and creating passionate users, and also asked if the patrons or librarians are emphasized.

“Pay attention to the employees,” Bell suggested. “Fix what is broken. Change can’t just be at the circulation desk. You are all user experience designers.” See? No pixie dust needed. Thanks, RUSA.

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RUSA’s President’s Program: Be Our Guest! Transform Your Library into an Exciting Experience for Users

Dave Cobb will be the keynote speaker at the President’s Program hosted by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Cobb, vice president, creative development of the Thinkwell Group, is an expert on designing immersive educational experiences for museums and theme parks. He’ll draw on his observations and experience with local Orlando theme parks and talk about how libraries can tell stories with space and win over library users.

He will be joined with two expert responders from the library world, John Blyberg, assistant director for innovation and UX at the Darien Library; and Steven Bell, associate university librarian for research & instructional services at Temple University.

Read the full press release here.


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If you liked the Carnegie shortlist, you may also like these other recommended reads!

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If you liked the shortlist, you may also like…


The 2016 shortlist read alikes were selected by the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Notable Books Council, which is comprised of expert readers’ advisors and librarians that work closely with adult readers.

Fiction read alikes:

If you liked The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), you may also like…
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
A Dangerous Friend by Ward Just
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
The Four Books by Lianke Yan

If you liked The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard (Alfred A. Knopf), you may also like…
A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Goran Rosenberg
No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman
Jacob the Liar by Jurek Becker

If you liked A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday), you may also like…
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
After the Parade by Lori Ostlund
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I Refuse by Per Peterson
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Nonfiction read alikes:

If you liked H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Grove Press), you may also like…
The Goshawk by T.H. White
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
A Widow’s Story by Joyce Carol Oates
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams
After visiting friends: A Son’s Story by Michael Hainey
This is How You Say Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir by Victoria Loustalot

If you liked Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann (Little, Brown and Company), you may also
Liar’s Club by Mary Carr
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Stitches by David Small
The End of the World as We Know It by Robert Goolrick

If you liked The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf (Alfred A. Knopf),
you may also like…
Humboldt’s Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World
by Gerard Helferich
Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science by Richard Dawkins
Humankind: How Biology and Geography Shape Human Diversity by Alexander Harcourt
Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson
The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science by Armand Marie Leroi

View the .pdf to print out for your library or to hand out at your next book club!

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction are co-sponsored by Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association. The awards were established to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published within the last year with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

To learn more about the awards, books and authors, visit

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