Unless you've been residing under a large, unpolished rock these last two months, #CanLit fans have probably heard of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien's award-winning novel.
But did you know that before Do Not Say We Have Nothing was a Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction winner, Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction finalist, and Man Booker finalist, it was a humble and much-admired May 2016 Loan Stars pick? That's right, library staff across the country had their eyes on the book even before it was published on May 31, 2016.
This was possible through Loan Stars, which provides library staff with exclusive, early access to books before they're published – we know, it sounds like a dream come true. When library staff encounter titles worth recommending, they simply log in to CataList to cast their votes. The titles with the most votes make it on to the monthly top 10 list of favourite forthcoming titles. It's easy and rewarding!
And after several months of top 10 picks, we have verified one very important fact: Library staff do indeed have good taste.
Of the eight Loan Stars lists that have been published in 2016, 6.25% of Loan Stars top picks have gone on to appear on awards lists, resulting in 10 shortlist nominations. While Do Not Say We Have Nothing earned four of those nominations, library staff also caught four other titles:
- By Gaslight, by Steven Price
- The Best Kind of People, by Zoe Whittall
- The Parcel, by Anosh Irani
- The Break, by Katherena Vermette
By Gaslight and The Best Kind of People, which made the August Loan Stars list, were finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, while The Parcel and The Break appeared on the September Loan Stars list before being shortlisted for both the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction. Not only did library staff have the opportunity to read these titles first, but they also spotted their potential by deeming them worthy of recommendation.
We look forward to discovering the fantastic recommendations library staff will select in the new year. If you're a librarian, continue requesting, reading, and voting, because you never know: you might just find tomorrow's Giller winner today! If you're not a librarian, check back every month for the top 10 books librarians think you should know about!
Interested in joining the Loan Stars program to gain exclusive access to books? Learn more here.