ARCs Across the Sky

Staffers and I are still hip deep in ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies) that we picked up at ALA Midwinter in Denver in January. These uncorrected proofs give readers a pre-view of upcoming books by new authors, sequels in series and books that editors & marketers are especially excited about. Over the years, these sneak peeks have allowed me to read eventual Newbery winners; put my hands - and eyes -on hot commodities and be happily alerted to fine new voices in Childrens and Teen literature. It is always a privilege to pick these up and often a wonder to open the pages.

I've been engrossed in manga; Susan Patron's Lucky Breaks, sequel to the Higher Power of Lucky; Ellen Tarshis' quirky heroine's return in Emma Jean Lazurus Fell in Love; Kate Thompson's Highway Robbery; Don Calame's Swim the Fly; an Emily the Strange novel; Lisa Graff's Umbrella Summer plus a whole lot more (at my bedside yet!). Many more are spread around to readers who love youth lit throughout the library.

Once we've passed around and read these ARCs, we can hardly wait to get many of these titles on order. Some people have asked me over the years if we could just add these ARCs to the collection. The short, long and medium answer is no. Even with tight budgets, we cheat the authors and publishers of the small profits they make by selling books. When a library adds these "preview" books - often not the final, edited version - it means that we satisfy our perceived budget shortfalls by making it hard financially for book creators. Unless an author specifically puts their content out for free, we owe it to them to purchase the book for our community so that author and publisher can keep producing more great reads for kids. So please read ARCs, but don't add them - order the book when it is published!

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