Stocking the Shelves: the Texas Library Association’s Reading Lists

We all know librarians are in the business of books—both reading a lot of books and reading about the books they haven’t read, in order to keep up with what’s new and decide what they should add to their shelves in order to keep library patrons excited about reading and coming back for more. But with so many books published each year in the United States alone (2018 saw 695 million copies of print books sold), sorting through thousands of titles is a daunting task for even the most passionate librarian and reader.

An Allen Public Library patron enjoys a new title from TLA’s 2×2 list, purchased with a Texas Library Grant.

One of a Texas librarian’s greatest resources is the Texas Library Association (TLA)—the largest state library organization in the US and was established in 1902 to promote, support, and improve library services in Texas. In order to help librarians searching beyond the best-seller list and word of mouth, TLA compiles and updates eleven recommended reading lists (included below), ranging in focus on genre, subject, and reader age.

Many of our annual Texas Library Grant recipients use these recommended reading lists a a buying guide when using their collections enhancement grant. In 2018, the Allen Public Library used part of their grant to purchase titles from the Texas Bluebonnet Award, Lone Star, and 2×2 lists, and reported circulation increased over 17% for 2×2 titles and over 13% for Bluebonnet Award titles. Their purchases from the Lone Star list created an entirely new collection for teen readers, and those 64 titles purchased circulated a total of 281 times in just four months.

We, as both Texans and readers, are so grateful for the work the Texas Library Association does in supporting libraries and librarians in our state. You can check out their recommended readings lists as well—happy reading!

2×2 – Recommended books for children age two to grade two.

Lariat – Outstanding fiction for adults.

Lone Star – A reading list for grades 6, 7 and 8.

Maverick – Graphic novels for grades 6 – 12.

Little Maverick – Graphic novels for children grades K – 5.

Spirit of Texas (two lists) – Encouraging students in both middle and high school to explore current, quality books by Texas authors and illustrators.

Tayshas – Fiction and nonfiction for grades 9 – 12.

Tejas Star – Bilingual reading list for ages 5 – 12.

Texas Bluebonnet Award – A unique program that encourages reading for pleasure for students in grades 3 – 6

Texas Topaz – Nonfiction gems for all ages.