Monday, January 30, 2017

Welcome to Week Four!

Great job everyone on the prompt responses and annotations! I'm pleased that you all tried out a variety of RA resources. Also, great job commenting on each other's posts. Keep it up!

Ok all, this is the week for your Secret Shopper visit! No other response this week, just two readings and this assignment. Review the Powerpoint in Week Two files and the assignment details, and let me know if you have any questions. A couple of points:

Look over the assignment description! Please upload your paper to the assignment tool and then post a summary of your paper to your blog.

Please don't tell us what library you went to. A few of you have already posted your responses and listed the library. That's fine, because thankfully you seemed to have good experiences. I don't expect that to be the case for everybody. Many people can have a bad day, and the point of this exercise isn't to shame our underfunded, understaffed public libraries - it's to show us how we can improve.

Glance over some of the articles we've read about RA interviews before you go, to remember what is supposed to happen.

Have an idea of what type of book you are looking for in mind. This is a great time to try to find a book for that romance annotation ;)

I've read about some great transactions and about some horrible transactions over the years. Let's hope you all get great examples of amazing customer service!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week Three Prompt:

So two things this week- first, I would like you to use Novelist if you are able (not every public library owns it, if you don't have access and want it, contact me and I can give you my access). Answer the following questions using Novelist (or another RA site) as much as you can - just to familiarize yourself with it if you aren't already using it.  Explain why you chose the books you did.

1. I am looking for a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. I just read the third book in the Anita Blake series and I can’t figure out which one comes next!

2. What have I read recently? Well, I just finished this great book by Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer. I really liked the way it was written, you know, the way she used language. I wouldn't mind something a bit faster paced though.

3. I like reading books set in different countries. I just read one set in China, could you help me find one set in Japan? No, not modern – historical. I like it when the author describes it so much it feels like I was there!

4. I read this great mystery by Elizabeth George called Well-Schooled in Murder and I loved it. Then my dentist said that if I liked mysteries I would probably like John Sandford, but boy was he creepy I couldn't finish it! Do you have any suggestions?

5. My husband has really gotten into zombies lately. He’s already read The Walking Dead and World War Z, is there anything else you can recommend?

6. I love books that get turned into movies, especially literary ones. Can you recommend some? Nothing too old, maybe just those from the last 5 years or so.

7. I love thrillers but I hate foul language and sex scenes. I want something clean and fast paced.

Second, after you get a chance to do the readings and explore Mary Chelton's list of tools, I want to hear about how you find books to read. It could be a site or a resource you've just discovered or one you've used for years, one you use for yourself or for your patrons or family and friends.

Personally, I believe Novelist to be the best online tool, but it's not the only one. I use GoodReads as well as some of the other sites Chelton lists. Trade journals are also really helpful for recommendations (Library Journal, Book List, Kirkus, etc.).

I look forward to reading your prompts! Make sure they are posted to your blog by this Sunday at 10:00pm. Same for everyone who signed up to annotate suspense or thrillers (see below)! Any questions get in touch with me however is easiest for you. Thanks!

Students annotating suspense novels:

Students annotating thriller novels:

Welcome to Week Three

Welcome to Week Three! I am really excited to read your Suspense and Thriller annotations.

I've posted a power point about the genres in Week Three Files. Please review that and read your classmates annotations. Feel free to start a discussion here, on your blog, or on a classmates blog about things you've noticed about Suspense and Thrillers (don't forget, participation is part of your grade!). We are all learning from each other here.

Second – this week we are reviewing the tools of the trade. Quite possibly the most useful and popular tool is Novelist. This is a database that most public libraries subscribe to. IndyPL subscribes to Novelist, and with your IUPUI registration, you are eligible for an IndyPL card, but I know a lot of you don’t live anywhere near Indianapolis so it's not exactly feasible to get a card, but just know that you can!.

If you are able to find Novelist in your library’s list of databases, there are plenty of tutorials on how to use it. Directly to the right of the search box should be a button that says “How to Use Novelist.” Also, above that are several tiny links, one of which is Help. That has also proven very useful to me.

There is also quite a comprehensive list in Canvas Week Three files of some great RA resources, put together by Mary Chelton – whose name you may recognize from other readings.

So, by the end of this week, please finish the assigned readings in the syllabus and I will need from you:

 1. Suspense and Thriller Annotations*
 2. Prompt Response

For the annotations, please don't wait until the very last minute to post them, we want to give your classmates time to read and comment on them. Please also remember that by the end of Week Four I will need to have your Secret Shopper Assignment! That one takes some planning so be looking ahead!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Examples of Annotations

Here are some examples from years past. You can also look at appendix a in the syllabus to get some guidance. I expect your five annotations to be about as long (or longer if you wish) as these examples. Included at the end is a grading rubric so you know how they will be graded. Feel free to comment if you have any questions!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week Two

Hello Everyone!

Hope you are having a pleasant start to this semester. Please let me know if you have any questions about the syllabus or assignments. I know there is a lot of reading this week – bear with it, it’s all for a good cause. If you're having trouble finding any of the articles on the syllabus please let me know!

By the end of this week (January 22 at 10pm), I will need from you:

1. Your Blog URL and name.  So far about half the class has worked ahead. Kudos!

2. The five genres you will be reading and annotating for this class. Annotations will be due in the week they are assigned, and will be turned in on your blog. You do not have to know what books you are reading yet, just what genres. Look over the syllabus while you're deciding what genres to choose; some weeks we discuss more than one and you probably don't want to have to do two annotations in one week. Email me your selections so I can make a spreadsheet to see who all is covering what genres. Be sure to pick at least one outside your comfort zone! Also, no more than 15 students can cover any one genre (I like to try and spread it out evenly), so if you're really want to read a certain genre get to me early! If you're picking later in the week some of the genres may already be filled up. Here are all the genre options available to choose from:
 - suspense
 - thriller
 - adventure
 - romantic suspense
 - gentle reads
 - horror
 - romance
 - mystery
 - science fiction
 - women's fiction
 - fantasy
 - historical fiction
 - westerns
 - new adult
 - young adult
 - urban fiction
 - African American Literature
 - LGBTQ reads
 - literary fictions
 - non-fiction

3. Your reading profile posted to your blog.

I also posted in Week One some sample reading profiles. Shortly, I will post examples of annotations. Feel free on your blog to talk about your personal feelings about the book as well. If you are doing a suspense or a thriller, get reading! Those annotations will be due by the end of Week Three.

I have also posted In Week Two the PowerPoint describing what you should be looking for during your assignment for Week Four, the Secret Shopper. I wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to complete this assignment, because I know that for some people it can be difficult to get to a library where they are not well known. After doing the readings for this week you should have a pretty good idea of what makes a good readers’ advisory interview. I will also post some video examples on this blog – feel free to post any you find on your blog during the next couple of weeks.

As always, let me know if you have any questions! You can reach me through email on canvas or by commenting anywhere on the class blog!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reading Profile Examples

I know some of you are eager to get started on next week's assignment and I've had a few questions as to what a reading profile looks like. It doesn't have to be formal, but it should summarize what your reading tastes are. You can include favorite books, authors, genres, etc. It's also helpful to explain why you like what you like. Below you'll find two samples of reading profiles. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do it! Include whatever you think is relevant for us to know! I'd like at least two paragraphs. Also, please comment on at least two of your classmate's reading profiles. We don't have discussion boards but I will be keeping track of how often you interact with your classmates. For the comments I'm not looking at length, just content. Share readers' advisory related stories, similar books or interests. If you have further questions please don't hesitate to contact me!

I am an avid reader and my goal for 2017 is to read 120 books (last year I read 102 and the year before that 65!). My favorite genre is literary fiction, classic literature, fantasy, and horror. My least favorite genre is romance, specifically romance that is super cheesey and predictable. Currently, I am reading The Diviners by Libba Bray (for a young adult book club). Speaking of book clubs I am involved in four, one of which I started with some of my friends from undergrad. Some other tid bits about me, I am a reviewer for Tyndale Press, Waterbrook Press, and The Library Journal (yay for free books!). The staff know me on a first name basis at Half Price Books because I come in so often to sell and buy books. I own around two thousand books (maybe more, I gave up counting), I have a serious book addiction. Here are some lists for your reading pleasure:

* Top 5 books I read in 2016 were:
1. Enchantments - Kathryn Harrison (historical fiction about Rasputin’s daughter – mesmerizing!)
2. A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness (a monster visits a boy as his mom’s cancer worsens – heart wrenching! The movie adaptation is outstanding!)
3. Killing Yourself to Live - Chuck Klosterman (pop culture look at dead rock musicians in the US – really engrossing read!)
4. The Watch - Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya (the conflict in Afghanistan through different perspectives – must read!)
5. American Gods – Neil Gaiman (finding the soul of America through old gods and new – simply stunning!)

* My Top 5 ALL TIME FAVORITE Books/Series:
1. The Stand by Stephen King
2. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
3. The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
4. The Hannibal Lector trilogy (prequel not included, it was crap!) by Thomas Harris
5. Welcome to the Monkeyhouse by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

When I have time to read I usually stick to murder mysteries or medical thrillers. Every once in a blue moon I'll branch out by reading a different genre but I'm comfortable in my rut. I really like cozy mysteries and medieval mysteries because I like trying to figure out who the thief or murderer is. I like it even better when I can't figure it out. I like a good head scratcher!

When I'm looking for something a little more serious (or hardcore) I like authors like Robin Cook or Michael Crichton. Since these authors are a little more intense I usually like to read something light afterwards (like one of my cozy mysteries).

I've also been branching out into audiobooks and they really make the drive to work much more bearable. Some of the older mystery novels don't have good narrators, but most newer audiobooks have fantastic narrators and they really help make the stories that much more thrilling!

My favorite authors in those genres are: Laura Childs, Karen E. Olsen, Joanna Fluke, Miranda James, Robin Cook, and Michael Connely. I'm really hoping this class will help me expand my horizons. Since I have very specific reading tastes I'm hoping to learn more about other genres so that I can recommend them to patrons and maybe find a new favorite.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Welcome to Week One!

Hello Everyone!

I am very excited to get to know you all and get this class going! My name is Erin Cataldi, and I will be teaching this course. I am the teen and adult services librarian at the Clark Pleasant Branch of the Johnson County Public Library as well as the readers' advisory manager of the system. If you're ever in New Whiteland (south of Indianapolis), please feel free to visit me! I'd love to get to meet you in person as well!

This class is fun. We read fun things and generally have great discussions. However it has a lot of reading. If you are interested in doing Readers’ Advisory you likely enjoy reading anyway, but I want to make sure at the beginning that all of you are aware that you will be responsible for readings in the textbook, relevant articles, and reading five novels in different genres throughout the course of this class. If you do not think you will be able to handle this much reading you may want to drop this course. I will expect you to allude to the readings in your weekly prompts.

This week I want you to concentrate on learning a bit about the history of readers’ advisory, reviewing the syllabus, and thinking about what genres you will be interested in learning more about. By the end of Week Two, you will need to tell me what five genres you are interested in reading and annotating for this class. I strongly recommend that you choose at least one genre that you never read, for your own benefit and learning experience, and one genre you are an expert in or that is your favorite, for our benefit and learning experience.

Also by the end of Week Two, you will need to create a blog. Most of our communication in this class will be via blog. I feel this is a more organic way to communicate than Canvas forums, plus you can keep it after you graduate. If you have never created a blog before and need help let me know. I used to let students pick whatever blog site they wanted but it led to some chaos so I am requiring everyone to create a blog using blogger. It is very easy to create and upkeep, and it's free! Once you give me your blog URL, I will post it in the blog roll on this blog. That way you can see all of your classmates’ blogs and easily comment on them, follow them, however you want to keep track – it’s up to you. It has proven a great way to start or add to your social network of librarians. Feel free to use your current blog if you have one (as long as it is in Blogger) – just please label any assignments clearly.

I will expect you to comment on each others’ blogs. Reading about what other people are reading helps A LOT in readers’ advisory. I know this probably goes unsaid but just in case, there is one ground rule – this is a safe place. No teasing each other – if someone says the only book they have ever loved is a sparkly vampire romance they are to be treated with respect, just as a patron would. The definition of a good book, for the purpose of readers' advisory, is always one that is enjoyed by the reader.

I have posted more detailed assignment descriptions in Canvas resources. Please review them this week and let me know if you have any questions. Please check this blog weekly!

You may ask me questions any way is easy for you – comment on this blog or you can text or email me. Thanks, and I really look forward to getting to know all of you! Happy Monday!