One of the most important things we need to remember as we help horror readers in the library is to offer them titles by current, living authors.
Yes, the classics are great. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who likes Shirley Jackson more than me, but in general, library workers tend to suggest classic works of horror in higher numbers than living authors.
Some of this is a familiarity factor. As I have mentioned many times here on the horror blog, library workers in general are "scared" of horror. They aren't familiar with the genre or its current authors and have concerns about how to suggest scary and possibly gory books that they do not enjoy themselves.
Of course helping you to battle this lack of information and help you to help more horror readers is the whole reason I write this blog, but I need a little help from you.
Instead of only suggesting dead authors and their classics to our patrons, let's try to suggest living, working authors. Why?
Well first, even the most horror averse reader knows who Stephen King is and have heard of Dracula. Let's show them that we know about great new titles and authors too. We need to give the patrons titles they wouldn't have figured out about on their own, whether that's by direct suggestions, displays, lists, or just by having them in our collections.
Second, horror is in the middle of an exciting period. Not only is it hot and popular, but the books coming out are very good. Even I am surprised by how good the vast majority of books are these days, and I am a fan. I review many of the best horror for libraries here on the blog. You can find my reviews always in the Horror Review Index or you can click on the Reviews tag to pull up the most recent reviews first.
Third, those of us who enjoy books, any book not just horror, should consider how we spend our money. When we buy books by living authors we are supporting them financially and allowing them to continue to write more. If we want new books to suggest to our readers, to help them find the joy of discovering a great new read, and to keep them coming back for more help, there need to be new books.
I think Women in Horror Month is the perfect time to discuss this general good rule of thumb for all RA Service, not just horror related, because women are writing some of the best and most interesting horror period, full stop.
To get you started suggesting living women of horror right now, here is a reminder of recent titles by women in horror that I have suggested and of course the Ladies of Horror Fiction have you covered year round.
If you you don't have time to go through it all right this minute, I would suggest you start by handing out HUNGER by Alma Katsu to someone today. Most public libraries own it and it has wide appeal-- imagine the Donner Party but with an evil, supernatural force stalking them too. Hey, it could have happened; it's not like many people survived ed to tell us the truth. Click here for my more detailed review.