Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer: What book comes next in the series?

I can’t wait for the next book in the series! What is it? Do you have it? Children’s Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day, and this question comes up several times a week.

This Frequently Asked Question is VERY easy to answer! Your librarian may use the old-fashioned way if she's standing next to you in the stacks, but if she's in front of a computer, she'll use NoveList, which is seamlessly woven into our online catalog. I'll walk you through both ways, so if the librarian is busy helping someone else at the moment, you can figure it out for yourself!

The old-fashioned way:

Q: I love this book! It was so great! What comes next in the series? 

A: Walk over to the shelves that have the author's books (the author’s name is on the cover), and look for the series numbers on the spines. If the number you want is gone, grab one of the higher numbers, and look inside the front or on the back cover for the list of titles published so far. If it's not on the shelf, we have to use our online catalog to place a hold on it. Ask the library staff - what if someone else just returned it?!?

Q: I am going to read this whole series, in order! I’m on number 4. Do you have numbers 5, 6, & 7 here today?

A: First let’s check the series-paperback shelves, under M for Magic Tree House, and then on the fiction shelves, by author (O for Osborne). If you don’t see the ones you want, we'll use our online catalog. You can search the series title and the number you want. For example, “Magic Tree House 5.”  Look to see if there’s a copy here today, and where it’s shelved. If it’s not here today, click on the little basket “Add to bookcart” so you can place a hold on it.

The twenty-first century way:

Q: We found this book, Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door and we're reading it together as a family. We realized it's not the first book in the series, but which one is? 

A: Type the title in our online catalog and click on the first item on the list. Scroll down the page, past the list of locations that have a copy, farther down until you get to a section called “You Might Also Like” and just below that, “Books in This Series.” Six titles are listed there, in order. If you click on the first title, you find yourself in the entry for book 1, and can see if it's here today, or place a hold if it's not. Excellent, right? How easy was that!

Q: My friend told me about the series The 39 Clues. Who wrote it? Which one is book one?

A: This is possibly the MOST tricky series ever published! Different authors, spin-offs, and related series make this simple question complicated, unlcess you just happen to know the title of the first one (which your children's librarian does). If you use the online catalog, type the series title “39 clues” plus the number “1” to get a short list of titles - but they are all the first books in all FIVE of the "39 Clues" series! If you limit them to books, and English, the book you want (Maze of Bones) should appear at the top of the list.

However, you might have to sort by publication date, and click on the oldest date – the bottom of the list! That's because there are multiple series. The best source for this kind of complexity is the Kent District Library's excellent database, which lays it all out.

Not so long ago, to figure out the series-order, librarians always had to sort a list of titles by date, or look the title up in an online database that wasn't available on our public computers. But now that we have NoveList's “Books in the Series” in our online catalog, anyone can get this information instantly! 

Give it a try and let us know if you like this feature. Also, human beings are doing the data-entry, so report it to us if you catch a mistake.

Oakland Public Library Children's Librarians answer your questions on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. Keep them coming by clicking on this button!