ROMANCE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE LIBRARIAN’S DESK
As a romance author, I often find opportunity to talk about books with others. As an employee at my local library, I also have the opportunity to see what others borrow on a regular basis. I thought it might be fun to share some of my observations.
I work at a busy branch in southern Ontario, just west of Toronto. Our library community is vibrant, passionate about reading and vocal in their preferences. They love to talk to us about books and many of them attend library events.
We cater to many romance lovers. Their appetites are hearty and in many cases, they won’t simply check out one or two books. They will borrow up to twenty books at a time. In many cases, they are repeat customers who come back the next week for another twenty books. I know several who leave the library, their arms full of books. I’ve known many to share them with family members or friends and several host book clubs.
Our customers do not simply read print books. Although a majority of our older customers still like a nice paperback, many romance readers are savvy and computer literate. They are known to use our electronic databases and more and more of them are becoming comfortable with downloading ebooks from Overdrive.
The majority of our romance-reading customers are women but it’s not unusual to find men checking out these hot reads. In fact, at a recent romance themed event at our branch, men were in attendance and showed great interest in the material and in connecting with the writers.
As far as our senior customers, many of them still prefer historicals, faith-based romances and sweet contemporaries over paranormal or steamy romances. However, I have had some pleasant conversations with ladies over sixty who are ravenous for hot romance. Our younger clientele tends to be more varied in their tastes and are more likely to seek out werewolves and vampires for their book boyfriends.
I think what strikes me most when I go to work and see what people are reading is the very fact they are reading so much and so often. Our library is well used and for many reasons. Customers check out displays and take suggestions. Most are proud to show off those racy covers but some are still shy. It doesn’t matter. They are reading and they are reading our books in droves. It puts a smile on my face every time I walk inside the library.