Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Canvas is Down - Paper Extension!

Unfortunately, you have probably noticed that Canvas has down. I have all my files saved on my master profile on Canvas so I am unable to email you all the rubric and paper assignment. Because of this I will put an extension on the paper, so far it will be a day (so the paper is now due Monday at midnight), but if the outage is longer I will add on more days. This is very frustrating, I hope the site is up soon. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Welcome to Week Eight

Hope you are all having a great week. Since papers are due at the end of this week, there is no prompt response due. However, please do the readings anyway (don't forget to look at the syllabus to see a complete list of readings!) - this week we are thinking about quality vs. demand in fiction - some pretty weighty issues. Do we spend lots of money on titles that are popular but that maybe aren't the greatest critical hits? Do we try to push people towards more "quality" books? Who defines what is a quality book and how? What is the role of reading? So many fun..fun questions to talk about - I really picked the wrong week to have your papers due!

So, due by the end of this week:

1. Special Topic Paper
2. Women's Lives and Relationships Annotations:

Can't wait to read your papers - as always let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week Seven Notes & Prompt

The readings this week are focused on book controversies. When providing readers' advisory services, patrons expect us to know the details behind books that are in the news - without passing judgment. The articles you are to read for this week talk about some of the most significant book headlines of the past. However book controversies aren't just things of the past, I'm sure many of you have heard all about the controversy behind the picture book, A Birthday Cake for George Washington last year. And more recently, the controversy over Milo Yiannopoulos' new book. There are always two sides to every story whether it be A Million Little Pieces or Lance Armstrong's "memoirs." It's our job to be informed and give non-biased information to patrons. We will also be doing our science fiction and mystery annotations this week. Be sure to read the chapters! Saricks has some interesting points to make about serving the readers of these genres.

Some of you know that I am a pretty big science fiction fan. I have a couple of resources available that I want to post on here - I know I put a lot of reading in the syllabus for this week so I didn't want to add any more required reading. But if you are one of those people who has never been able to "get into" science fiction, I highly suggest reading this article by Jo Walton. In it, she talks about SF reading protocols, or, how people who read science fiction read with a learned set of skills that people who did not grow up reading science fiction may not have. And here is a super-fun resource to share with patrons, it takes the NPR top one hundred SF and fantasy books voted on by listeners a couple of years ago and turns it into a flowchart.

Also, I want to remind you to be commenting on your classmate's blogs. Class participation is a huge chunk of your grade and there are a handful of you that have yet to leave any comments. Everyone should be commenting 3 to 5 times a week at least.

Due by the end of this week:
Prompt Response
Science Fiction and Mystery Annotations (practically the entire class is doing one or the other so I'm not going to put individual names here)

For our prompt this week, I want you to think about fake memoirs, author mills, and celebrity inspired book clubs. Basically write a readers' response to one of the articles you are reading for this week (see syllabus or links in this post for readings) - or talk about a time when a book or author that made headlines affected you personally or your work.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week Six Prompt:

For this week's prompt, I would like you to think of an innovative way to promote romance, gentle reads or horror at your local library (pick one, just one!). What would be most effective? A catchy display? Some passive programming? In what ways could you incorporate integrated advisory? Pretend you're pitching an idea to your boss and write at least a paragraph in your prompt response. Hint, pinterest can come in handy, so can Facebook's ALA Think Tank. Have fun with this one!!

Remember, by the end of this week I will need your:

  • Prompt Responses
  • Romance, Gentle Reads, and Horror Annotations

Welcome to Week Six!

Great job on your Secret Shopper experiences, I'm almost done grading all of them. I know that is can be very uncomfortable and awkward to pretend in this way, but I think it's very valuable to see how the people we are trying to help are treated - both the good and the bad.

This week, we are doing Horror, Gentle Reads, and Romance. As strange as the three of these seem to pair together, they actually go very well as all three genres are designed to elicit strong emotions on behalf of the reader. Please review the PowerPoint in the Week 6 file on Canvas, and let me know if you have any questions.

We are also discussing integrated advisory this week. The concept behind integrated advisory is very simple: it's using forms of media other than books in your advisory. For example, if someone wants to get back into reading but they haven't read too much, you could ask what type of television shows or movies they like, or what kinds of games they like to play. The opposite works as well; I have nearly as many people ask me for movie suggestions as I do book suggestions. And I rarely watch movies, so I have to use sources - and these are not always as easy to find. With reluctant readers, having this knowledge and ability is even more valuable.

I chose to share the romance chapter with you from the book Integrated Advisory, because they do a great job talking about some of the many romance subgenres. However they do fall a bit short in suggesting that there aren't any games for romance readers - that is patently ridiculous. The huge surge in casual gaming is largely due to the same people who read romance novels; people who want a quick, easy, rewarding, and fun diversion. If you go to Big Fish Games or many other casual gaming sites you will find many, many games where the motivation is romance. Also, many romance authors have already put their spin on games - Marjorie M. Liu did years ago with one of her first titles, Tiger Eye. Many indie games have embraced romance as a narrative device. The huge narrative hit Gone Home from 2013 is a sweet teen romance that has won a ton of awards. As libraries expand their offerings to include games and other media, we need to  be aware of the possibilities that integrated advisory offers us. Steam, a cloud-based game media service (kind of like an iTunes for games) has very recently introduced tags into their search features. Library Journal includes game recommendations quite often in their RA articles now.

The following students are doing annotations on gentle reads:

The following students are doing annotations on horror:
The following students are doing annotations on romance:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week Five Prompt:

Hope you are getting your reviews read and written. For this week's prompt, I want to start a conversation about the different types of reviews. Different publications review different types of books and they allow different types of conversations. For example, Booklist will not publish negative reviews, while, as you have all seen, Kirkus has no problems with it. Ebook only books, which are increasingly popular (especially in the romance genre) see little to no reviews in professional publications unless they have a big name author, and then still it's usually only RT Reviews (formally Romantic Times) or other genre heavy publications. How does this affect collection development?

I have posted two more documents in the week five files. One is two reviews of an ebook only romantic suspense novel, one from a blog and one from amazon. Look over the reviews - do you feel they are both reliable? How likely would you be to buy this book for your library? Is this ebook even romantic suspense?

The other document contains some reviews of Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt, an incredibly popular memoir. These reviews are all from professional publications, feel free to find more on your own I just nabbed a few from the Book Review Digest database for you. How do these reviews make you feel about the possibility of adding Angela's Ashes to your collection?

Do you think it's fair that one type of book is reviewed to death and other types of books get little to no coverage? How does this affect a library's collection?  And how do you feel about review sources that won't print negative content? Do you think that's appropriate? If you buy for your library, how often do you use reviews to make your decisions? If not, how do you feel about reviews for personal reading, and what are some of your favorite review sources?

Personally, I love to read reviews, but usually the shorter the better. If it's too long I feel like I might as well just read the book. When I used to buy, I loved RT Reviews - it's very genre heavy but that's what everyone read where I was. For fun, I subscribe to Locus magazine and I love their science fiction and fantasy reviews, and for romance you can't go wrong with Smart Bitches Trashy Books. I flip through Library Journal and Publishers Weekly to keep myself up to date on what is coming out.

Thanks folks, I look forward to reading your prompt responses!

Welcome to Week Five

Hope you have had a great week and enjoyed your secret shopper experience! I haven't gotten a chance to read many of them yet - but I am looking forward to it. I should have feedback and grades posted by the end of the week.

Due by the end of this week:
Adventure & Romantic Suspense Annotations
A Kirkus-style review of a book you loved or hated
Prompt Response

For this week, we are reading about the Adventure and Romantic Suspense and about book reviews. I have posted a PowerPoint about the two genres in Canvas files. These are very fun genres that are really popular right now so please make sure to read those chapters in your textbook!

For the book review reading I have asked you to look over several different book review websites and write a Kirkus-style review. Kirkus has two things that make it stand out from other review sources - first, it is anonymous. This means that an aspiring writer can publish a bad review without alienating a publisher, or a librarian can publish one without angering a popular author. The second thing Kirkus has going for it is format. Kirkus uses a very specific format that allows librarians and booksellers to quickly skim a review and find out if the book is one that they want for their collection. The first sentence or two is always a quick summary of the book, then the middle paragraph is a more thorough summary with criticism, and the last sentence or two sum up the reviewer's feelings about the title. Please go to the Kirkus site or look up some reviews of books you have read in the library databases - many databases provide access to Kirkus, I believe Academic Search Premier is one.

The other PowerPoint in Canvas is about professional reviewing. If you're looking to see your name in print, earn some cash, or just score free books, be sure to check it out. I've been reviewing professionally for a few years and it is very gratifying! I don't always get paid, but I get to see my name in print and I average about 120 free books and audiobooks a year. Plus it's great networking and a great resume booster!

Also, it may seem early, but you might want to start thinking about your midterm assignment. I have asked you to write a paper on a topic related to readers' advisory (please email me the topic for approval prior to writing the paper).

I will post the prompt later this afternoon. The following students have selected this week's genre's: adventure and romantic suspense. Be sure to check out their blogs and comment on their annotations. Remember they have until 10pm on Sunday to have their annotations posted! Also, feel free to comment on your classmate's prompt responses which are also due Sunday night.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Thinking Ahead - Book Club Experience

I know we're still on week four but if you like to think ahead here are some thoughts for your week nine assignment, observing or participating in a book club (due March 12).

You're not required to to tell anyone at the book discussion that you're a librarian or that your attendance is part of a class, but feel free to if you want. If you've read the book, just discuss the book as you normally would, but if you're just observing take note of the following:

  • Who is asking the questions, is there a leader or do people take turns?
  • If there is a leader, does the leader answer the questions as well or let the attendees respond first?
  • What type of questions are asked? Any involving just yes or no answers?
  • Do all attendees actively participate?
  • Do any attendees swoop in and steal all the spotlight?
  • What is the atmosphere of the discussion, where is it taking place at?
  • Are snacks or drinks provided?
  • What types of books does this book club normally discuss?