Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Prompt 16

Growing up, I loved to read. I grew up in a rural location in Ohio (I had Amish for neighbors) which sometimes made it difficult to get a wide assortment of books.  I had a bookmobile that would come visit and bring new books. I can still remember the smell of the bookmobile and the great memories that all of the new books brought. My mom always made sure that I had plenty of other opportunities to get my hands on books. She ordered books for me (Scholastic, I think) and she also took me to the neighboring county public library for additional books. (Could you tell I could never get enough books?) But it was a different time when sports and other activities were not as readily available as they are today. My friends and I actually read a lot of books. I remember that we would read a lot in school and we would have silent reading each day for about twenty minutes. The teacher would even pull out a book and read as well.

Probably the biggest change in reading for me personally is the advances in technology. We can read books on digital devices from anywhere and we do not even have to set foot in a library or bookstore to obtain books. I used books on audio cassette growing up and now we have audiobooks and digital streaming for our listening pleasure. The Internet (which wasn't around when I was a child) gives us the option of finding book reviews and titles that we might not have seen at our local library. Even bigger is that we now have much more opportunities for social interaction because of technology. I have found Goodreads to be a wonderful resource to get information about books and share opinions with others.

I would hope that in twenty years we would be reading more. People have so many different ways that they can interact with books, both with digital, audio and the printed format. Of course, to read a story, you have to engage with it, to think it through the author's mind.  I still think that in twenty years, literacy will still be an active part of our society. We live in a society where everybody is busy with other activities, social media, movies and television to actively engage their minds with the act of reading. It does worry me that people will lose sight of the importance of reading. Yes, children will still be taught how to read, but will they discover a passion for reading? We need to instill a love for reading in our future patrons now while continuing to keep our current patrons connected as well. 

With ever rapid changes in technology, I think reading might become more interactive when using digital devices.That being said, I don't think that traditional publishing would ever go away. I still love to hold and feel the printed book before me. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to experience books in this manner. Publishing companies might have to change the way they publish, but I think the printed book will still be here in twenty years. In essence, my viewpoint is that technology could never replace the printed book.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Prompt 15

What do you think are the best ways to market your library's fiction collection?

Showcasing the fiction collection is extremely important in public libraries. Marketing can take place inside  the library with in-person and passive readers' advisory and outside of the library through the library website and social media like Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram.

Book Displays
One of the best ways to highlight the collection is to use book displays. These can be placed in high-traffic areas that people must either pass to get to material or upon entering the library. The library system I work in has "New" fiction right inside the door. Many times patrons do not get much farther than the new book section. Book displays can highlight different genres and/or authors. It is really important to change displays every two to three weeks with a new display in order to grasp readers' attention. If books are not being selected, then displays should be changed sooner. The goal is to attract readers to books. Simple displays are always effective, which is good because I am not always very creative at making an elaborate display. 

Book Lists and Bookmarks
Having bookmarks and book lists located at various spots around the library is a good use of passive readers' advisory techniques. Bookmarks can list a few titles or author read-alikes while book lists are longer versions of these. Both bookmarks and book lists can also be utilized on the library website to market books. Newsletters can be e-mailed to patrons which can contain lists of books. My library uses Library Aware, which patrons can sign-up to receive newsletters of book lists on various genres that are of interest to them. The staff at my library (myself included) create monthly book lists of new books in specific genres that have been recently acquired by the library. I make a newsletter of new cozy mysteries each month, usually about four or five new titles. I also make suggestions for old favorites or other titles that patrons might have missed in the Library Aware newsletter. 

Book Trailers
Book trailers are a great way to promote new titles or older titles that have been missed. Book trailers can be used both at the library, on the library website and through social media platforms. Our library system has just recently started using digital signage to advertise events, programs and services. Book trailers could be a natural extension of using this wonderful marketing tool in the library. Book trailers could be created by staff to promote titles and hidden gems in the fiction collection. Book trailers can also be included on the library website and social media which would link to the book in order for patrons to put a hold on a book or read it instantly with an e-book.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Prompt 14

Should you separate GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction in the library collection?  If I am part of the collection development and management team at my library, I would not separate GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction from the rest of the collection.

The first reason is that I consider GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction to be subject or topic specific, but not a separate genre. Following my library collection plan, genres such as mystery, fantasy, science fiction and westerns are separated in the collection as well as formats like graphic novels, large print and audiobooks. Many public libraries including the library system I work in do not shelve subjects or topics (theme)  like Christian fiction in a separate area. They are shelved in the general fiction collection. The same rules and policy should follow with GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction. These materials should be shelved with the rest of the collection.

The second reason that these types should be shelved together with the collection is that you would be separating these materials and that would lead to segregation. African Americans do not want their book titles placed on separate shelves. African Americans want their works treated the same as white authors (Jamison, 2010). Separating material would also make it appear that you are distinguishing GLBTQ works by putting them aside (or hidden in a corner) so that people don't "accidentally" read this type of material. Keeping it separate causes discrimination.

The third reason not to separate GLBTQ fiction and African American fiction is that it helps foster and promote a diverse collection of all genres based on many topics and themes. A library wants patrons to provide a diverse selection of books for patrons to read and enjoy. Separating them into themes would result in people missing out on a good book, whether it is written by an African American author or contains GLBTQ themes.

It is really important for the library to have a strong collection development plan in place. A collection development policy can be used to guide how the collection is shelved before any problems arise from patrons insisting that certain themed literature be separated.

Work Cited:
Jemisin, N. (2010, May 26). Don't put my book in the African American section. Retrieved from

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Prompt 13

I think it is important to begin by saying whatever someone likes to read, then they should be able to read it without any judgments from others. People of any age should be able to enjoy what they are reading, no matter the genre or format. This includes graphic novels and young adult literature. Young adult literature and graphic novels often have negative connotations but they do get people involved in reading so libraries should be spending budgets on these types of materials.

Young adult books are more appealing than ever before. I wish they had some of these great books when I was a teen. I have found in recent years that I love reading young adult fiction. When you see a book like John Green's Fault in Our Stars turned into a movie, it draws attention to young adult literature. Young adult literature contains many genres such as realistic fiction, mystery, fantasy and science fiction. I think of the content as a more PG-13 version than what can be found in adult books. One of my first books to read in recent years was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I loved the entire series and couldn't wait to read more books like these. One of my other favorite young adult books has been Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. I just fell in love with the story line and it really moved me. Young adult books can appeal to older adults as well. Young adult books can touch on topics such as identity and self-actualization, topics that still can be beneficial to adults. It is easy to relate to young adult novels and you can easily lose yourself in young adult books. The book that I did for my young adult annotation, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is one of those books that you can lose yourself in and find yourself pulling the for the protagonists, Daniel and Natasha. Everything, Everything also by Yoon will be released in a theater in May. I was seeing another movie just this past week and a trailer for Everything, Everything came on the screen. Many people around me started saying we have to see this movie. Then I heard an adult say, "You know that is a book right? You should read it, it is so good". Adults are attracted to young adult novels.

Graphic novels are popular with children, teens and adults. Popularity should be reflected in collection development approaches in the library (likewise with young adult literature). The Walking Dead series is very popular in out library system with adults among other titles. The library needs to continue adding to the collection to satisfy patron demand. I think that whatever gets people engaging with text, including graphic novels, is important. Graphic novels do just that, they get the reader to connect to the material. There is a lot of thought that goes into reading the panes of a graphic novel. The images in the panes enhance and complete the story. Graphic novels are a viable part of the collection in the library.

Graphic novels and young adult literature come in different genres. Libraries can use this to promote both of these types of materials. Librarians can make displays that include graphic novels and/or young adult literature to attract adults. Displays could be on specific genres or exclusive to graphic and young adult novels. Librarians need to be familiar and use tools for readers' advisory for both young adult and graphic novels. Libraries need to continue to meet patron demand by offering both graphic novels and young adult literature as part of the collection.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Young Adult Annotation

Author: Nicola Yoon

Title: The Sun Is Also a Star

Genre: Young Adult (Realistic Fiction)

Publication Date: November 1, 2016

Number of Pages: 384

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: Current

Plot Summary:

Daniel is the son of South Korean immigrants. His parents are adamant that he will become a doctor. Daniel always does whatever his parents want. But Daniel is a dreamer, always has been and always will be. His true passion is for poetry.

Natasha believes in science and facts, things she can see. Natasha is from Jamaica. This is her last day in the United States. Her family has been here illegally for years and they will all be deported in the evening.

In a last ditch effort to keep the family from being deported, Natasha sets out across New York City to find a way to stay in the United States legally. Daniel sets out for his important interview as part of the application process to get into Yale. Daniel sees Natasha on the street and is so taken with her, that he follows her into a record store. For Daniel, it is love at first sight. After their first meeting, they end up heading in the same direction when Daniel saves Natasha from getting hit by a car. As their paths continue to cross, is it just coincidence or fate that has brought them together? Daniel convinces Natasha to spend the day with him and at the same time tries to prove that they are meant to be together to Natasha who only sees the science in life. So he goes to prove love using a scientific approach, but he only has until the remainder of the day. Will Daniel be able to prove love to Natasha? Was it fate that brought them together?

Subject Headings: 

    Immigrants - Fiction

    Interpersonal Relationships - Fiction
    Illegal Aliens - Fiction
    Deportation - Fiction
    Korean Americans - Fiction
    Fate and Fatalism - Fiction
    New York (N.Y.) - Fiction
    Love Stories
    Young Adult Fiction

  • character-driven.
  • great dialogue between the main characters, Natasha and Daniel.
  • Natasha and Daniel (protagonists) each tell the their story from their point of view.
  • emotional tone pulls the reader into the story.
  • fast paced, but short chapters make it easy to put down and pick up later.
  • setting is contemporary and deals with family relationships and the timely topic of immigration and deportation.
3 terms that best describe this book: romantic, moving, satisfying

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Like No Other by Una LaMarche

Fate brings Devorah and Jax together when they are trapped in an elevator during a hurricane. They are both from different cultures and a relationship would be out of the question. But they both continue to see each other in secret, risking everything.
-relates because both stories contain culturally diverse characters who fall for each other.

Something in Between by Melissa De la Cruz
Jasmine is a great student who has worked hard to go to college, making her Filipino immigrant parents proud of her achievements. She dates Royce, who she cares about considerably. Royce's father is a congressman opposing an immigration bill. Jasmine suddenly finds everything falling apart, even her relationship with Royce when she finds out that her entire family is living in the United States illegally.
-realistic fiction story that relates to the topic of  immigration and deportation.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith

Hadley and Oliver meet at the airport and they seem to connect with each other immediately, even sharing a kiss on their flight to London. Then they lose track of each other at the airport and Hadley has less than 24 hours to find him before she returns to the United States.
-relates to Daniel giving scientific reasons to Natasha why fate brought them together.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Prompt 12

Readers' Advisory Matrix

Title: Gizelle's Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog
Author: Lauren Fern Watt
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

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

What is the subject of the book?
The subject is raising a dog (English Mastiff) and the relationship that exists between humans and animals.

What type of book is it?
A memoir of the life of an English Mastiff.

Articulation Appeal
What is the pacing of the book?
The pacing is leisurely, but it is hard to put this book down.

Describe the characters of the book.
The characters are Gizelle, a 160-pound English Mastiff and her owner, Lauren Watt (author). The reader follows Lauren through her early twenties as she goes to college and moves to New York and the life lessons she learns along the way. Other members of the story include: Lauren's mother who struggles with an addiction; Lauren's father who takes a road trip with her and Gizelle; and other family members and close friends.

How does the story feel?
The story is sad, comforting, inspirational and courageous. Anybody who has ever loved and lost a dog can relate and feel the connection with the story.

What is the intent of the author?
To share her experience with loving and caring for her dog and what she learned along the way.

What is the focus of the story?
The focus of the story is making life for Gizelle (and Lauren for that matter) count as her health is declining. Lauren prepares a bucket list for Gizelle as her gift back to such a loyal and faithful companion. 

Does the language matter?
Yes, the language plays a big role in adding to the story. It is very descriptive and reads like a narrative of Lauren's life and her relationship with her dog.

Is the setting important and well described?
The setting changed in the story depending on where Lauren was living or experiencing life, including the activities involved in Gizelle's bucket list. The description of the settings added to enhance the story when needed. The story progressed over a 6-year period beginning when Lauren was nineteen.

Are there details and if so, of what?
The story is full of details, like why her mom wants to get her a puppy, the smell of puppy breath and the reason for the strain between her parents.  The reader sees what it was like to live with this enormous dog with a lot of personality and describes the relationships between Lauren and others.

Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials ? Are they useful and clear?
There are pictures of Gizelle (and sometimes with Lauren) on the inside of the front and back book covers along with a picture at the beginning of each chapter. The images are useful because it illustrates the size and character of Gizelle through these pictures.

Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience?
The reader sees Lauren love her dog unconditionally, but also how to love others unconditionally as well. The reader also sees Lauren evolve into an adult as she learns to experience life.

Why would a reader enjoy this book?
1. Love for animals
2. A sentimental journey
3. Learning about yourself and others

Friday, March 24, 2017

Prompt 11

Ebooks and audiobooks are becoming a natural part of library collections. Ebooks and audiobooks are both great when traveling: ebooks for ease of packing and audiobooks are useful for long car rides when getting to and from the destination. I have tried both of them, but I still love and prefer my print books.

Positive appeal factors of ebooks include: changing the font size, adjusting the brightness and reading by using a dark background with white text. You can also download ebooks from anywhere so this can be really useful if you are traveling or stranded and find yourself without anything to read. Another aspect of using ebooks is that it is easy to hide what you are reading. Sometimes people want to keep their romance novel or Fifty Shades of Grey hidden from others. 
A positive facet of ebooks for me personally is that I cannot look at the ending of the book I am reading. I know, it is terrible, but I have this tendency to skip ahead and read different parts of a book, including the ending. Ebooks keep me from doing this, because it is too difficult to go forward and then back to where you left off. 

But not being able to navigate forward and back can be difficult if you want to go back and reread something or if you are looking for when a new character was introduced. This can be a negative appeal factor. Another negative appeal factor is that pacing and tone may be affected in an ebook and the entire reading experience can be hindered. You also can not see or feel the weight of an ebook, so you might not realize how long a book is 
(Dunneback, 2011). It might seem like it is taking a lot longer to read a book, or that you are not going anywhere, especially if you are changing the font size and making it larger. Fonts for some genres might display differently on a device, which takes away from the experience. I would think looking at the frames of a graphic novel with all of the images would be rather difficult on a device.

Audiobooks are very popular at my library location. People can use audiobooks in the car when traveling to and from work or traveling on vacation. They are also great when you are cleaning your house, doing dishes, doing a craft or hobby like knitting or crocheting or out taking a walk or run. "One of the most interesting facts to note is that the majority of people listening to recorded books are not substituting the audio format for the printed one, but rather as a supplement to visual, text-based reading" (Mediatore, 2003). People have found another way to engage with books while doing tasks, by listening to audiobooks..

Sometimes when you hear a story, the narration can add or enhance the story. Certain appeal factors such as narration, music and sound effects can affect the experience and enjoyment of the audiobook. The reader gets a different feel when they are listening to a book rather than reading it themselves. The narrator adds to the enjoyment when he or she uses voice inflections and changes voices between characters. But a downfall of audiobooks is that you can get a poor narrator that takes away from the experience. The narrator can stay monotone, you can find their voice annoying or they are just plain boring. 

I have tried audiobooks a few times but they are not my preference. I tend to get distracted easily and forget to listen so then I have to go back and find my place again. But they have a big fan base and I have a lot of friends who prefer this format. Reader's advisory in both ebook and audiobook formats are important and as librarians, we need to know how to match material to the patron. Libraries (and librarians) need to stay abreast of ever-changing new technology that comes our way.

Works Cited:

Dunneback, K., & Trott, B. (2011). E-books and Readers' Advisory. Reference & User Services     Quarterly, 50(4), 325-9. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database.

Mediatore, K. (2003). Reading with Your Ears: Readers' Advisory and Audio Books. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 42(4), 318-23. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Historical Fiction Annotation

Author: Jennifer Ryan
Title: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
Genre: Historical fiction
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Number of Pages: 371
Geographical Setting: Chilbury, a small village in England
Time Period: World War II, 1940
Plot Summary: 

This is a story that takes place on the home front of Chilbury, England, during World War II. Most of the men in the village have already left for the war. The story begins with a funeral service for one of the community members killed in the war. The choir will sing at the funeral for the last time until after the war since there are no longer any men to sing in it. Prim, a new resident to the village, is a music professor. She leads the women in the community to band together and form a ladies' choir. Some people in the community think this is a horrible idea since there has never been a ladies-only choir; prior to this there had only been a mens' choir or a combined choir of men and women. It is unthinkable to have a ladies' choir. Prim, along with some of the other women think a choir would be a great way to boost morale and support the community in a time when the village fears being taken over by Germany. The women in the choir are impacted by the choir experience and the events going on in their lives along with the surrounding worries of the war that is growing closer to them. Prim helps the women in the choir find the music in their lives, "Music takes us out of ourselves, away from our worries and tragedies, helps us look into a different world, a bigger picture. All those cadences and beautiful chord changes, every one of them makes you feel a different splendor of life" (p. 104).

The story is told in the form of journals and letters, primarily by five of the women in the choir whom vary in age and perspective. The five women each share their experiences of the war in different ways:
  • Mrs. Tilling is a widow whose only son has left for the war. She is a nurse and many people seem to seek out her counsel. 
  • Miss Venetia Winthrop is eighteen, the daughter of the Brigadier who has her attention set on the very handsome and mysterious new artist in the village.
  • Miss Kitty Winthrop is thirteen and lives in her sister Venetia's shadow, but still has great determination. She has an improbable crush on a young man.
  • Silvie, a Jewish refugee is sent to live with the Winthrop family when Germany invades Czechoslovakia. She is troubled and keeps a secret from what she has seen.
  • Ms. Edwina Palty, the village midwife, is hired by the Brigadier for an unscrupulous scheme. 
 These women learn to find their voice not only in the choir, but in a society lead and controlled by men during the difficult time of war.

Subject Headings:
   Choirs (Music) - England - Fiction
   Women - England - Fiction
   World War, 1939 -1945 - England - Fiction
   Historical Fiction

  • Story is framed by historical facts of what is happening in Europe: invasions, bombings, Jewish extermination.
  • Written in epistolary form by using letters, journals and diary entries by different characters.
  • Storyline is focused on a small village outside of London during World War II.
  • Story teaches about the lives of everyday people, mainly the women who remain on the home front during World War II. It includes descriptions of the loss of life because of German air raids of area villages including Chilbury.
  • Leisurely paced. 
  • Characters evolve and fit the time period as they try to find their voice.
3 terms that best describe this book: engaging, bittersweet, empowering
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Hiding Edith: A True Story by Kathy Kacer

The true story of a young Jewish girl, Edith Schwalb,  who was sent to live in a safe place during the invasion of France by Nazi Germany. 
-This is similar to the character of Silvie, a Jewish girl from Czechoslovakia who was sent to Chilbury by her parents to stay with the Winthrop family after the German invasion of her home county.

The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food by E.M. Collingham

An examination of the way food was used at the battle front and controlled on the home front. It also looks at the way food was used both by the Axis and Allied powers.
-Food  and the rationing of food and other supplies was mentioned a number of times in The Chilbury Ladies' Choir.

Don't You Know There's a War On? Voices from the Home Front by Jonathan Croall

The personal stories of 35 people throughout Britain during World War II.
-Resembles some of the characteristics of the citizens in the village of Chilbury.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Juliet Ashton, a writer from London looks for the subject of her next book when she discovers the island of Guernsey. Through correspondence with one of the island residents, she learns about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was an alibi to cover up why the members were breaking curfew during German occupation.
-Written in epistolary form like The Chilbury Ladies' Choir.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Taking place in 1940, this is the story of how two women deliver news, one by mail and one by broadcast. It discusses how lives are touched and changed by the events of the war. 
-Relates to how the people in Chilbury village were impacted by how close the war was to them. 

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters 
Follow the story of three women and one man as they cross paths in 1940's London during times of air raids, blacked-out streets and illicit partying. 
-Historical fiction novel that takes place in London in the 1940's.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Club Experience

The Mug N' Muffin Book Club met on a Thursday morning in February for an hour. The book club took place in a small meeting room on the lower level of the public library. This group has met together over the past few years. There were 10 attendees including Angie, the librarian, and myself. February's book selection was This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. It was a great atmosphere where this group of men and women came together and shared their reflections.  They are a group who loves to read good literature and enjoy getting together and discussing what they have read.

Snacks and drinks were provided at the beginning and included coffee, tea, water and an assortment of muffins. The group drank their coffee and ate the muffins and had small talk with each other while waiting to get started. It was very obvious that they have been meeting together for a few years. That being said, they were also very welcoming to newcomers and loved to share with the newcomers as well. Besides myself, there was another first time newcomer to the group.

Angie acted as facilitator. She asked everybody what they thought of the book. After the initial response, each attendee went around the table and shared their thoughts and feelings about the book. Usually each person shared for about five minutes.  I had read the book as well so I participated in the conversation. As each person shared their thoughts, other attendees would discuss a point that was made by the person doing the sharing. None of the questions that were asked by Angie or the club attendees were yes or no, but rather open-ended questions. Everybody was very respectful about the opinions and statements of others. All points were considered in a positive manner. The participants really thought out their points and discussions. Some of the attendees even brought prepared notes so they could remember the points they wanted to make. The following are two examples from the discussions:
  • Example one: The first attendee talked about sitting Shiva, a Jewish tradition of mourning. Other people then spoke up about their understanding about Shiva and other Jewish customs. A consensus was made that this book helped them understand Jewish customs and traditions better.
  • Example two: One of the attendees discussed the mother and the role that she played in the story. Others then gave their opinions of what they thought about the mother. One attendee thought she was a good mother while another attendee thought she tried to manipulate situations.
The age variation was interesting. People ranged in age from around 40 to 80 years old. The age difference plus the variety of backgrounds and perspectives added to flavor the discussion. I found it interesting that the oldest attendees were the ones who were least offended by the graphic nature and language used in the book. (The book contained a lot of sexual content and language in it.) In the end, it was agreed upon by the entire group that they really liked the novel. As one attendee said, "We are all adults, when it came to a sexual part that I didn't like, I just turned the page until it was over."

While every member actively participated, there were two attendees who did talk more than the others. They both always had something to say about all of the other attendee's thoughts, but instead of deterring from the discussion, it added more depth and simply complemented other people's thoughts and opinions. These two were also the last ones to share their thoughts and opinions as we went around the table. One of them complained that they were almost out of time and she would not get to share, but ironically, she was probably the most talkative during the hour. She did have time to share all of the notes that she had written though, with time to spare.

Angie allowed the participants to talk about the book before she would answer any questions that other attendees had asked. She also included some open-ended questions when certain points of the books were brought up during the discussion. Angie had used questions that she found on the Internet. One example of one of the questions she asked was about what we thought Judd's reoccurring dream of only having one leg might symbolize. Angie did a really good job of acting as facilitator and when the discussion of a certain point would seem to run its course, she would move on to the next person or ask another question.

The Mug n' Muffin book club reads a variety of titles including nonfiction, historical fiction, mystery and relationship focused books. Other titles they have read or will read in the future include: Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History Making Race Around the World  by Matthew Goodman; On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts; The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton; and Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope by Don Van Ryn. They see a list of available titles (usually from Novel Conversations), then decide as a group which titles they want to read. So, in essence, it is a popular vote from the regular attendees.

This was my first book club experience and I really enjoyed it. I liked the discussions and reflective thinking that went on by group. It was a very relaxed and delightful atmosphere where everybody shared their love for reading. I look forward to participating in more book clubs and actually starting my own book club.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Special Topics Paper: Passive Readers’ Advisory

Readers’ advisory is an important part of the daily services that libraries offer to patrons. Assisting patrons in finding books that appeal to them is the primary goal in readers’ advisory services. Librarians work to get readers connected to these great books. Readers’ advisory can come in the form of an interactive, face-to-face approach where readers receive assistance from librarians in the form of discussions and interviews. Librarians also look for other ways to reach patrons to get them connected to books, especially those patrons who bypass the information desk, never asking for any assistance. This can be in the form of a passive readers’ advisory, which is an indirect approach to help patrons find appealing books. Passive readers’ advisory does not require contact between patrons and library staff.

Ideal goal of readers’ advisory is to get readers to connect with books (Ross, 1991). Many times, patrons will come into the library knowing exactly what books they want. These patrons already know the titles or the authors that they are seeking. These patrons will go directly to the shelves to get their books, only coming for assistance if they need to place a hold. Other patrons will go directly to the information or reference desk and seek help almost immediately from the librarian. Then there will be some patrons who do not come into contact with any staff, preferring to remain self-sufficient.

All patrons can benefit by passive readers’ advisory services and they may not even realize it. Patrons who know exactly what they want may see a title that catches their interest as they are walking by a display on their way to get that particular title. The patrons who are self-sufficient browsers may see a title that interests them either on a display or in a shelf alert. The person waiting for the librarian might start reading the bulletin board and find a new title.

“Passive readers’ advisory is an essential part of any library’s readers’ advisory service because it reaches a group of readers who cannot or will not take advantage of real-time or face-to-face services” (Staley, 2010, p. 73). Sometimes readers just like to find material on their own (Towey, 2005). Patrons do not want to ask for help as they are independent and want to find their own books without any assistance (Saricks, 2001). Patrons can also be embarrassed to ask for help from librarians (Ross, 1991). They might be embarrassed by the genre of books that they like to read. Patrons also feel that librarians are too busy and so they do not want to bother the librarian with questions (Saricks, 2001). Patrons also have the viewpoint that librarians will not be able to help them find a good book (Ross, 1991). Passive readers’ advisory is a way to reach these patrons and provide them with services.

Readers’ advisory in any size library can be challenging. It requires a lot of time and training to do an effective advisory service (Stover & Trott, 2005). With an increase in workloads, passive readers’ advisory services are becoming more necessary in public libraries (Stover & Trott, 2005). Passive readers’ advisory can be a beneficial option when there is lack of time and/or adequate staffing. Librarians may have a long line that patrons may not wish to wait and there may be only one staff member present to assist patrons. Towey states, “Passive forms of readers’ advisory not only help patrons get to books they may like more quickly, but also establish the library staff as experts in suggesting books” (2001, p. 135).

There are many techniques that can be used to portray passive readers’ advisory services in the library. Ideas abound and are ever-changing about what works and does not work. Displays, bookmarks and booklists are among the possibilities of strategies that do not require face-to-face interaction between patrons and librarians. The role of the librarian is by no means thought to be passive throughout this service but rather, very active. It takes work on the part of the librarian to create and maintain booklists, bookmarks and displays. The librarian is actively searching for materials to use for displays, bookmarks and booklists. Readers trust the judgment of the librarian and expect books to be worth their time to invest in it (Saricks, 2001). Our patrons expect books to be thoughtfully chosen. Bookmarks, booklists and displays can often be created and used at the same time over the same themes (Staley, 2010).

Some ideas:

  • Create displays that are visually appealing. Susan Brown shares ideas in Twenty Rules for Better Book Displays.
  • “Book of the Day” located close to the checkout (include bookmark with the author and title and include a sentence of staff recommendation. 
  • Create annotated booklists of popular titles (Saricks, 2001). Fiction_L is a great resource.
  • Use bulletin boards to highlight titles, authors, publishers, staff recommendations.
  • Create shelf alerts to highlight various authors. 
Patrons will always be looking for that next good book. Librarians need to help patrons find that book, whether it is through direct contact or through passive approaches like displays and booklists. The ultimate goal is to get readers connected and keep them connected to library materials.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Women's Lives and Relationships Annotation

Author: Sophie Kinsella
Title: My Not So Perfect Life
Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 438
Geographical Setting: London
Time Period: Modern
Plot Summary:
Katie Brenner wants the perfect life: perfect job, perfect place, perfect family, etc. Katie, born and raised a Somerset farm girl, works to create a new persona now that she lives in London by changing her appearance and her name to Cat. She takes pictures and shares her ideas of this perfect life on Instagram, pretending to others as well as herself that she is well on her way to this perfect life. Katie works for a demanding boss, Demeter, who has that perfect life that Katie so desires. But really, Katie’s life is a struggle, from her long commute, to her very small flat, to living on a very strict budget.
Then, one day Katie’s world comes crashing down as she is suddenly fired.  She is forced to move back home with her father and step-mother, where she helps them start a glamping vacation business on the family farm, while keeping her termination from her job  a secret. Katie’s former boss Demeter arrives with her family for a glamping holiday and Katie cannot help but have some revenge on Demeter. Katie finds out that she was wrong about Demeter and that revenge isn’t as sweet as she thought it would be. Instead, Katie finds that she has been looking at life all wrong; she learns a lot about herself and everyone around her.
Subject Headings:
Man-Woman Relationships-Fiction
Contemporary Women-Fiction
Love Stories
  • My Not So Perfect Life offers a glimpse into the life of Katie, the protagonist, and provides an optimistic outlook with a sometimes humorous and romantic pull.
  • Protagonist and author are both females. Katie’s support system is her dad and step-mom.
  • Story line reflects the issues in Katie’s life: difficulty at work; conflict with her father and misguided perceptions that other people's lives are perfect.
  • How Katie reacts to losing her job is the focus of the plot-which was resolved satisfactorily including a happy ending.
  • Setting is contemporary with an interesting job in marketing and advertising to add background to the novel.
  • It has an unhurried pacing with the reader being emotionally pulled into Katie’s story.
3 terms that best describe this book: delightful, realistic, humorous
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Absolutely True Lies by Rachel Stuhler
Jobless Holly Gracin is hired to write the life story of Daisy Mae Dixon, a teenage pop star who gives the illusion of a clean pop star but is nothing like this in real life. Holly must decide if she wants to save both her job and Daisy's career.
-Relates to Katie losing her job, her relationship to others and discovering that nobody has a perfect life.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Lucy Hutton is forced to share an office with Joshua Templeman, her nemesis, at the publishing company where they work. They create a game of one-upmanship while working towards the same promotion, but incur an unexpected complication when they become attracted to each other.
-Similar to Katie and the relationships that occurred in the office including the relationship with Alex, co-owner of the company.

The Someday Jar by Allison Morgan
Real-estate broker Linda Howard has the perfect life, family and job. But after discovering her someday jar from her childhood and all the wishes that are unfulfilled in it, she embarks on living a life without regrets, even if it means leaving a perfect life behind.
-Linda wants to transform her life, much like Katie does.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim your Dignity on the Job by Gary Namie
This resource deals with bullies in the workplace and strategies to assist in dealing with them, including when to pick your battles.
-Relates to how Katie battles bullying in the workplace among her co-workers.

The Up Side of Down by Megan McArdle
An honest look at learning how to succeed in life, and being able to learn how to fail. It then instructs the reader on how to reinvent themselves to become successful again.
-Relates to Katie learning how to become successful again by reinventing herself. 

Glamping with Mary-Jane by Mary Jane Butters
A look at putting glamour back into camping. This guide is built with tips and ideas of ways to connect with the great outdoors. Mary Jane has thought of how to enjoy the comforts of home while camping.
-After Katie loses her job, she helps her dad and step-mom in redesigning her childhood home into a "glamping" adventure resort.
Even though this book has subject headings about romance, I don’t feel that the romance is the primary focus of the book, but rather the many relationships that Katie has with others. These primary relationships are with her boss, co-workers, her father and step-mother and her crush, Alex.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Prompt 7

Controversies surrounding books are nothing new. We have seen books challenged and banned because of what some have deemed as inappropriate such as J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Most challenged and banned books are typically banned from a public arena such as public schools because of sexual content or inappropriate language.  Another controversy surrounding books is those associated with fake memoirs.

A memoir is supposed to be a true account of someone's life or a period of time during the author's life. A fake memoir is a fabrication of part or all of the events and life written in an autobiography, memoir or diary. I am amazed at the stories that people can come up with to have fame and fortune. I wonder why the authors do not just write their story as fiction instead of proclaiming that the events really happened. These stories could be just as riveting as fiction books. I think that some stories could be considered as great historical fiction stories, especially those surrounding the Holocaust where the author adds nonfactual items to the story. Take for instance, Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love that Survived by Herman Rosenblat. He wrote about his time at the Buchenwald concentration camp. He then embellished the story about how he met his wife and made it out to be factual. His story should have been published as historical fiction instead of a non-fiction memoir (along with changing the title of the story and removing the word true). If a story is not real and the writer wants to tell a good story, then it should be published as fiction. The public would know that the author was being authentic and truthful.

It is very disappointing that people could falsify information without any fact checking by publishers. Viking Publishers Vice-President Carol Coleburn states, "We rely on our authors to tell the truth and fact-check" (Fake memoirs, 2017). This statement was made concerning the book Odd man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit by Matt McCarthy. This book was an account of McCarthy's time playing in minor league surrounded by teammates who took steroids. Then portions of the book were found to have been fabricated. Publishers may need to start patrolling the truthfulness of non-fiction works to keep from embarrassment. While it would be wonderful to fully believe authors, I think stories should be investigated before books are published.

Fake memoirs take credibility away from people who actually write true accounts. As a reader, I will begin to question if what I am reading is true or fabricated. Librarians may be more skeptical when purchasing memoirs or autobiographies for the collection.

As librarians, I am afraid we might be held accountable by our patrons for fake memoirs that are on the shelves. Even though we did not write the story or publish it, we may still be connected to the book and cause a certain level of wariness from our patrons and place a level of distrust based on a book that we have on our shelves that is ultimately fake. Non-fiction is meant to tell the truth; that is, what readers not only want, but expect. Standards of truth and integrity should be expected in all non-fiction material.

Works Cited
Fake memoirs. (2017, February 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from