Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week 16 Prompt Response

Both of our readings this week talk about the culture of reading and the future of the book. So I have two questions for you as readers, pulling on your own experiences and all of the readings we have done over the semester: First, how have reading and books changed since you were a child, for you specifically? Second, talk a little about what you see in the future for reading, books, or publishing - say 20 years from now. Will we read more or less, will our reading become more interactive? What will happen to traditional publishing? This is  a very free-form question, feel free to wildly extrapolate or calmly state facts, as suits your mood!

Even since my siblings and I were babies, my mother has diligently read to us and exposed us to reading, even when we were way past the age of reading by ourselves.  I have treasured memories of my mother reading to my sister and I at night before we went to bed in our shared room.  This listening to books being read to me probably is why I enjoy listening to audiobooks so much.  We often visited our local library and checked out many books.

Because I was born in the beginning of the 90s, I honestly can't really remember life without the Internet.  That being said, no one was reading much online in my area because most people were using desktop computers and cellphones did not have much or any internet capabilities.  We had dial-up at my home out in the country until the early 2000s, when we finally got DSL and much faster internet.  After this, I soon discovered different reading opportunities online, which I greatly enjoy, even to this day.  When I got my first laptop, then later my first smartphone, I have expanded my online reading.  However, since I have worked at my local public library since 2008, I often check out physical materials, from fiction to nonfiction and books to audiobooks.

Looking towards the future, I see there still being plenty of readers, they just read differently than we do today.  Probably, these future readers will use more electronic devices for reading, and there will be more access to these electronic and mobile devices for people of every socio-economic status.  I foresee that print books will still be available and used, but less than today. 

That being said, publishing will likely move towards more digital releases of titles and less print versions, although I can see this change being long and drawn-out by the publishing companies who are set in their ways.  This change in the publishing industry should make digital and electronic titles easier for libraries to acquire and share with their patrons, which is a struggle and contemptuous point today.  In the future, publishers who only release print copies of their books will likely cater towards a niche market of people who prefer print books to digital ones.

I think reading will become more interactive, especially for younger readers. The digital aspect of electronic books allows for many exciting and interactive opportunities, such as readers being able to quickly look up a word they do not know and children able to actually interact with characters in their favorite book to help the plot progress.  While this has the potential to somewhat take away from the straight-up "reading" aspect of books, it can also be a whole new aspect of crafting and creating books.  Today's graphic novels and children's picture books are definitely not the same as they were a century ago, but I would argue their evolution brought something wonderful and new to the reading table.  I don't see why more interactive electronic books couldn't do that, too.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Week 15 Prompt Response

What do you think are the best ways to market your library's fiction collection? Name and describe three ways you do or would like to market your library or your future library's fiction. These can be tools, programs, services, displays - anything that you see as getting the word out.

Each library has its own unique physical set-up and patron community it serves, but there can be some similar ways to market the fiction collection in most libraries.  One way would be to have the librarian's desk close to the fiction section and inform patrons that the librarians are there to assist them with any and all of their fiction needs.  There could be posters or information flyers on the librarian's desk pointing patrons towards them.  For example a flyer saying, "Looking for your next read?  I can help!," on the librarian's desk would help patrons understand that the librarian has the fiction knowledge and tools to help them find a good read, or at least point them in the right direction.  Also, within the stacks, there could be signs informing patrons of the librarian's assistance in finding what they want.  For example, a sign could say, "Don't see what you are looking for?  Stop by the librarian's desk to find it and more great reads!"

One important aspect of successful reader's advisory in the library is training.  Even if a librarian is placed in the best location possible near their fiction section, they are not going to be effective in marketing and promoting the library's fiction section if they do not know how to give good RA interviews.  It would be a good idea for libraries to regularly remind their librarians on how quality RA interviews are conducted through training seminars and required continuing education themed RA articles in library journals.  If librarian new hires have not had much or any training on reader's advisory, RA training should be part of their introductory learning steps for their new position.  In this way, the librarians covering these desks will have the skills and knowledge needed to get patrons excited and interested in the library's fiction collection.

I read about this next idea in an article from one of my other MLS courses.  In collaboration with my library's Friends of the Library group and local car repair shops, the library can place some books in the waiting areas of these local car repair shops.  These can be adult fiction books from some of the donations the Friends of the Library receives and are to be available for people to read while waiting on their cars to be fixed.  The bookshelves or cases the books are in would have the library's logo and general information about the library on it, along with an advertisement for the library's adult fiction section and information on how to get a library card.  To prevent the books from walking away, library and car shop information would be listed in each book so they look a bit more official and could be returned to their appropriate car shop if they end up finding their way to the library.

Finally, librarians could market their fiction section though combined displays.  While most displays usually are only one type of material, such as fiction, nonfiction, or audiovisual, these displays could have items from different areas of the library.  In a display about a specific historical era, there could be nonfiction books about the era alongside historical fiction books and audiovisual materials centered on this time period, such as DVDs and CDs.  This would help patrons see that even if they like one type of area in the library, such as nonfiction or movies, they are likely to find items in the fiction collection they would enjoy as well.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 14 Prompt Response

Prompt: Consider yourself part of the collection management committee of your local library, or a library at which you would like to work. You must decide whether or not to separate GLBTQ fiction and African American Fiction from the general collection to its own special place. Some patrons have requested this, yet many staff are uncomfortable with the idea - saying it promotes segregation and disrupts serendipitous discovery of an author who might be different from the reader. Do you separate them? Do you separate one and not the other? Why or why not? You must provide at least 3 reasons for or against your decision. Feel free to use outside sources - this is a weighty question that is answered differently in a lot of different libraries.

My Response:

I personally am somewhat against separating items of different genres in libraries.  It seems like there are too many times when a book might fit perfectly into two or more genres, and if the library only has one copy, the question becomes, where should it go?  I know not dividing up books and other materials by genre can be somewhat frustrating for patrons looking for items in a specific genre, but it also provides an opportunity for these same patrons to discover something new they might never had considered before.  When items are divided up, as stated in this week's prompt, it somewhat does promote segregation between the various genres-- we just discussed this same sort of thing last week in our YA, NA, and graphic novel prompt response.

My solution would be to keep all the adult fiction together, sort them by author, and have different genres identified by spine label stickers.  My library does this, and it seems to work pretty well.  The various genres, such as romance, paranormal, horror, and more, each have their own spine label sticker with a unique color and symbol or picture.  The name of the genre is also listed below the image for further clarification of what genre it represents.  I can see this easily being implemented and used for GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction.  When there is more than one genre or section an item fits into, additional spine label stickers can easily be added to the item.

Specifically, my three reasons for this spine-label-sticker solution include:
  1. Separation of different genres or sections of items promotes segregation and discourages branching out into new genres.  If a patron believes they would never like a Science Fiction item, they might not ever travel into the separated Science Fiction section at their library.  However, when all of the adult fiction books are together in one location at the library, this patron is more likely to come across a book with Science Fiction elements in it that they find interesting and enjoy.
  2. Including genre spine labels on books is an easy way to allow all patrons who enjoy these genres to find these items.  When the genres are separated, if the library only has one copy of a book that fits into two different genres, one genre will have to be chosen above the rest for the book to be located.  Patrons looking for the book in the genre section(s) not selected might simply assume the library does not carry the item.  We should make things simpler for the patron, not more complicated and confusing.
  3. These items can be somewhat controversial, so some patrons might feel embarrassed or even nervous about entering or even browsing in sections clearly marked as GLBTQ, African American fiction, or even New Adult for that matter.  By keeping all of the adult fiction together and in one location, patrons are more free to explore items with more controversial genres without worrying about anyone "seeing them in the [insert genre/area here] section."  While I can see many librarians not understanding why patrons might be concerned about what others think about their personal reading choices, I have to think about our discussions last week about adults reading YA items.  Even though some patrons might be worried about what others may think, we should respect each patrons privacy and encourage them to read whatever they are interested in, no matter the genre or format.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Week 13 Prompt Response

As a librarian, I am of the opinion that all reading should be encouraged.  Whether it is Young Adult, New Adult, romance, graphic novels, eBooks, audiobooks, or anything else, reading is reading.  Not all reading will be deep and thought-provoking, some is just for fun or more casual.  Even adults who are learning a new language might decide to read children's materials in the other language.  While it may not be extremely challenging or complex, it is still reading.

First, we as librarians should make sure our own personal beliefs on what is "real reading" not interfere with assisting patrons find the materials they want and may enjoy.  We can work towards encouraging adult patrons who enjoy Young Adult literature and graphic novels by including these types of items in our regular reader's advisory for patrons.  We could incorporate these types of materials into our adult displays and suggest them to patrons in reader's advisory interviews.  While some patrons might reject our YA or graphic novel suggestions, some might be interested in checking out these collections. 

I also liked the "It's OK" sign from this week's prompt post.  Having a display with YA materials and this sign would be a simple way to use passive reader's advisory to encourage patrons to check out the YA collection while letting them know we will not judge them for checking out these materials.  A similar display could be made for graphic novel items.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Week 12 Prompt Response

Reader's Advisory Matrix for:
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
by Mindy Kaling

1. Where is the book on the narrative continuum?
Highly narrative (reads like fiction)

2. What is the subject of the book?
Comedy/Humor, Love & Relationships

3. What type of book is it?
Essays, Memoir

4. Articulate appeal
Pacing – Because this book has many smaller “essays” on various topics and it is a comedy book, it goes along at a faster pace. 

Tone – While Mindy’s writings have a light tone, they are also somewhat self-deprecating, which she successfully uses as a way to connect with her readers.

Style – The book is written in a conversational way, as if the reader is sitting down with Mindy in a coffee shop listening to her describe her life experiences and the knowledge and wisdom she gained from them.  Mindy tells her stories in a witty and candid way, not sugar-coating things but just telling it how it is.

Storyline – The book is easy to read, is intended more to entertain readers than to educate them, and does not focus on one topic for too long, as seen in the essay-style writing of the book.

Characterization – Throughout the book, Mindy tells about and describes the different people she has encountered and interacted with in her life.  Her struggles and experiences, especially during her childhood years, are quite relatable.

5. Why would a reader enjoy this book (rank appeal)?
1. Style
2. Storyline
3. Tone

Friday, March 31, 2017

Nonfiction Book Annotation
The Coloring Book
By Colin Quinn

Comedian, former SNL "Weekend Update" host, and native New Yorker Colin Quinn has lived around people of various ethnicities and races his whole life.  He has also noticed Americans' rising levels of political correctness and sensitivity on these topics.  Quinn wonders what we are all so afraid of, as all ethnic groups have differences but this diversity should be celebrated and not denied.  Quinn asks the question of why acknowledging these cultural differences has become such as taboo in today's culture.

In The Coloring Book, Quinn explores this question while describing his many experiences with fellow New Yorkers of every ethnic background, from his young childhood through his early comedy years to today.  He describes cultural and ethnic stereotypes he believes are comical, are based on truths, have been warped and distorted over time, are actually offensive to the group, and why.  While this book explores Colin Quinn's personal opinions on race and ethnicities in America, Quinn helps people of any background learn to laugh at themselves... and sometimes others, too.

Some Elements of Non-fiction Titles:

Narrative Continuum:
This book somewhat reads as a novel as it goes through Quinn's life, from childhood to where he is today, with a few other observations and side notes thrown in.  Throughout the book, readers see how the different experiences in Quinn's life shaped his views of the world and the people around him. 

This book is written by a comedian on the subjects of race and ethnicity in America, so it has elements of comedy books along with some semi-serious discussions and observations on people in various ethnic groups throughout recent decades.  People who like books which take a comedic look at social issues would enjoy The Coloring Book.

While the book is easy to read, Quinn seems to be writing for the dual purpose of entertaining his readers --he is a comedian after all-- and helping to educate them on general ethnic and cultural differences active in America.  The parts of the book where Quinn describes which stereotypes are actually offensive to each group and why are especially in the "teaching" and "educating" category.

This autobiographical- and memoir-type book has a decently fast pace to it.  This is likely due to the fact it reads more like a novel than a traditional just-the-facts non-fiction book.  Comedy books such as this one seem to usually have a faster pace to them.

Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin

I'd Rather We Got Casinos by Larry Wilmore

Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos

Friday, March 24, 2017

Week 11 Prompt Response

While a book's text itself stays the same when the reading medium changes, more appeal factors are added on top of the book's story appeals.  As Trott and Dunneback put it in "E-books and Readers' Advisory," "the format you use to access the story expands the appeal factors of the content" (2011, p. 327).  These new appeal factors focus more on how the book is presented to the reader.

For eBooks, the different formats the eBook is available in is one appeal factor.  Some devices only can open certain formats so the formats available can affect a patron's eBook accessibility on different mobile devices.  Accessibility and whether or not patrons can read their eBooks on their favorite and most-used devices is a major appeal factor.  One major advantage and appeal of eBooks is the reading preference options.  In print books, what you see is what you get for the most part-- smaller print remains small and is difficult for some patrons to read.  This leads to the popularity of large print books for "those older users with sight issues who may appreciate the ability to resize text" (Trott & Dunneback, 2011, p. 326).  However, with eBooks, patrons can choose to make the font pretty much as large or small as they want-- no special large print books required. 

However, other appeal factors, such as tone and pacing can be affected by switching to reading in an eBook format.  Visual cues, such as longer, descriptive paragraphs of text or shorter paragraphs filled with dialog, are lost when the reader can change the size of the text-- "the larger the text, the less there is to indicate how quickly the story is moving" (Trott & Dunneback, 2011, p. 328).  Also, not being able to visually see how far along you are in the book can affect the pacing felt while reading.  100 pages left in the story is a lot different than 20 pages left, and it can be difficult to see the difference when reading an eBook.

For audiobooks, the change in format from reading to listening can change the way patrons view a book.  Similar to how some people like to watch particular actors in movies and TV series, no matter what role they may play, some patrons find themselves drawn toward books narrated by specific audiobook narrators they enjoy listening to, even if they might not normally read in the book's genre.  As Mediator and Chelton in "Reading with Your Ears" put it, "A listener may want any book on tape narrated by their favorite voice regardless of the subject matter" (2003, p. 319).  On the other hand, a patron may like all the other appeal factors of a novel, but if they do not like the narrator's reading style or tone, they may stop listening after a few chapters.  The audiobook narrator is an important appeal factor for audiobooks. 

Also, within the general audiobook presentation of the book, the narrator can effect the tone, pacing, and characterization.  How quickly a narrator reads a book can definitely affect how the listeners understand the book's tone and pacing.  "A poor match between the pace of the story and the pace the narrator uses can cause a reader to stop listening to an audio book," and it may even cause them to not be interested in reading the physical book as well (Mediatore & Chelton, 2003, p. 319).  In addition, because there is no physical text for listeners to read, they are dependent on the audiobook narrator for characterization of the various characters in the book.  In audiobooks, "the differences among many characters in a book" is crucial "for the listener who doesn't have visual cues such as quotation marks or paragraphs to inform reader-listeners that a different character is about to speak" (Mediatore & Chelton, 2003, p. 319).  This characterization appeal can make or break the audiobook-listening experience for some patrons.

Mediatore, K., & Chelton, M. K. (2003). Reading with Your Ears. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 42(4), 318-323. Retrieved from

Trott, B., & Dunneback, K. (2011). E-books and Readers' Advisory. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(4), 325-329. Retrieved from

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fantasy Book Annotation

Storm Front
By Jim Butcher


Lost Items Found.  Paranormal Investigations.  Consulting.  Advice.  Reasonable Rates.  No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does.  Well, technically, he's the only at what he does.  So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers.  For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don't play well with humans.  That's where Harry comes in.  Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever.  There's just one problem.  Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs.  But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it.  And now that mage knows Harry's name.  And that's when things start to get interesting.

Magic - it can get a guy killed.

(from GoodReads at

Elements of Fantasy:

Butcher's Dresden Files series, of which this is the first book, is firmly in the Urban Fantasy subgenre of Fantasy, so this book introduces the readers to a world extremely similar to our own, except magic exists.  Storm Front focuses mainly on Chicago, Illinois, where Harry has taken up residence.  Readers also get a peek into the magical side of this world in this first book that is explored and expanded throughout the series.

Fantasy means magic:
Harry Dresden, the series' protagonist, is Chicago's only Wizard Private Investigator, who uses his magical abilities to solve the mysteries no one else can and protect his city from magical threats.  Harry uses foreign languages and faux, "butchered" Latin commands to perform his spells in the novel and throughout the series.

Storyline - Good vs. Evil:
The plot of Storm Front centers around the mystery of a magic practitioner using their powers to commit murders.  This person is the clear evil in the story to contrast Harry's good.  Other characters, such as mob boss Gentleman Johnny Marcone and Detective Karrin Murphy, lean to one side or the other but are more in the middle gray area as they at times help and other times hinder Harry throughout the novel.  Harry himself, with all of his power and future potential, sometimes is tempted to release control and join the dark side.

Characters are often inhuman:
While many of the characters in this first book of the Dresden Files series are human, there are some inhuman characters, such as the fairy Toot-Toot, vampires, demons, among others.  As the series progresses, more inhuman types of characters are introduced.

Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton

Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Nightside series by Simon R. Green

Garrett Files series by Glen Cook

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Club Experience

Prior to this assignment, I had actually never been to a formal book club, so I did not know what exactly to expect.  Without using any specific names, I participated in a book club at my library that meets in the morning.  I do not know if this is how all book clubs are, but this book club was more like a group of friends chatting about and discussing a book than a strict Q&A session. 

The group meets every month during the school year at a corner of the library’s adult fiction section called the “Conversation Corner,” where conversation and talking at a respectable level is encouraged.  Registration is not required for this book club and no snacks or drinks are provided, but everyone who attends the book club meetings is invited to go out to lunch together following the meeting.  While the book club does not claim to read any particular type or genre of book, almost all of the list of books the club plans to read in the next year are realistic literary fiction books that deal with and discuss social issues.

For this book club meeting, there was a bit of a mix-up on what book the group was discussing.  The library’s monthly newsletter erroneously said it was going to be Circling the Sun by Paula McLain but the actual book was supposed to be Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.  Out of the ten women that attended the book club, three of us were first-timers and had read the wrong book.  Because of this, Circling the Sun was discussed for about fifteen minutes in the beginning of the meeting.  This book club had actually read the book last year, so that might have been the reason for the mix-up.  Luckily, most of the women remembered the book from the previous year and could briefly discuss it with the group.

When it came time to discuss Hillbilly Elegy, one of the ladies who appeared to be the organizer for the group started off the discussion.  She was the one got the meeting started, emailed the other book club members, and guided some of the discussion during the meeting.  The regular attenders of the book club were sent a reminder email that included the discussion questions, and paper copies were available for new attenders and people who forgot to print out their own copy from the email.  Of the discussion questions listed, none of them were strictly yes or no questions.  They were more opened ended, such as questions like how do you think this relationship impacted the main character or talk about this situation or event and the main character’s views on it.

Everyone had the opportunity to and did talk in the discussions, however about four of the women led most of the talking during the book club.  If someone had something to say, though, everyone allowed them to speak and voice their viewpoints and opinions.  The woman who I believe is the organizer for the group hardly asked any questions.  Discussion was, for the most part, just allowed to flow from one topic to the next.  Because of this, the discussion only got to about half of the printed book questions, and they were answered somewhat indirectly. 

During the discussion, there was, at least to me, a feeling that these women all thought similarly in particular areas.  When certain topics arose during the conversation which I disagreed with, I did not want to say anything, partially because I was new, had not read the correct book, and was only planning on attending this one meeting, but also partially because I was uncertain how my comments and opinions, sometimes in stark contrast with others’, would be accepted and viewed.
While I do not think I will be returning to this particular book club, I enjoyed the discussion and sharing of different views book clubs allow.  When I have completed my MLS degree and am not so crazy busy, I am excited to join a book club where I can develop friendships and discuss interesting and sometimes challenging books.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Special Topic Paper - Summary

The topic I focused on in my paper is passive reader's advisory.  I decided to go the more informative route and described the various ways librarians use reader's advisory strategies in their libraries.  In the paper, I covered displays, book lists, bookmarks, and even flow charts and other miscellaneous forms of passive reader's advisory.

Reader’s advisory is one of the most important aspects of public libraries—connecting library patrons to the best materials which meet their wants and needs.  While the reference interview, in which the patron and the librarian interact directly, is one form of reader’s advisory, another form is passive reader’s advisory strategies, such as book lists, displays, posters, and more.  In her Acquisitions Librarian article, Cathleen A. Towey wrote, “Passive readers’ advisory is the act of grouping, displaying or highlighting books to make them accessible to readers seeking to self-select titles” (2001, p. 134).  Passive reader’s advisory tools and techniques should be used as support for library reference interactions, but, when these interactions are not welcome or accepted, passive reader’s advisory “reaches a group of readers who cannot or will not take advantage of real-time or face-to-face services” (Moyer & Stover, 2010, p. 73).  Even signage and spine labels can be effectively utilized as a passive reader’s advisory strategy to assist patrons in finding the library materials they are looking for.

A new passive reader’s advisory strategy growing in popularity is flow charts.  This type of display asks the audience a question and provides answers to choose from.  As the flowchart progresses, patrons narrow down what they are seeking and, at the end, receive suggestions specific to the choices they made.  Some flowcharts, such as the example below created by Ontario public librarian Karissa Fast, ask patrons questions similar to those librarians would ask in a reference interview.


Towey, C. A. (2001). Flow: The Benefits of Pleasure Reading and Tapping Readers' Interests. Acquisitions Librarian, 13(25), 131-140. Retrieved from

Wetta, M. (2013). Reader’s advisory resources: Beyond lists. Retrieved from