Monday, March 20, 2017

Final Assignment - More Information

I've received a lot of questions about the final assignment recently so I thought I would post some more details about it. Some people have asked if they can use organic work-based experiences for the Readers' Advisor is In Lab, and I have to say, I think that would be difficult to do. Let's take a more in-depth look at the assignment:

Lab A: The Readers' Advisor is In!

Provide readers advisory services to at least 5 different people. Do not use participants real names; create a reader profile describing their reading habits and preferences; list a few of the questions you asked them, indicate which tools/bibliographic aids you used to find other books; what you recommended; what they read; how well you met their reading interests. Submit paper via Canvas Assignment. Please use consistent formatting in whatever style you prefer.

These criteria are meant to create ideal readers' advisory conditions that rarely organically happen in a library, in order to let you learn as much as possible about your subject and see how well you do and what you could have done better. We can't expect our patrons to be our lab rats! Let's break it down a bit.

1. Create a reader profile describing their reading habits and preferences: Here you will want to find out what your friend/family members like to read. Find out what types of books they generally like and why - find out what types of books they don't like and why. You may already have this information if this is someone you are close to, but it doesn't hurt to ask the why's just in case their reasoning is different from what you expect.

2. List a few of the questions you asked them: Give us a basic idea of your interview. Even if you know your person and their reading habits well, you never know what they might be in the mood for. When I did this assignment for Dr. Copeland (she designed the class and the assignments - I just update the readings), one of the friends I enlisted did not want to be interviewed; he said you know what I like, just pick something. When I did - I picked several fantasy novels for him, knowing those were the books he always borrowed from me - he took them and I didn't hear from him. I asked him couple of weeks later what he thought, and he said "Oh, you know, I haven't gotten to them. I just haven't been in the mood for those lately." It was very frustrating, come to find out he'd been reading exclusively non-fiction for months. I was then able to find several books he enjoyed, and it taught me a lesson about assuming I know what someone wants!

3. Indicate which tools/bibliographic aids you used to find other books: This is fairly self-explanatory. Let us know if you used Novelist, the Saricks textbook or a Genreflecting book your library has, Goodreads, Amazon, Readers Advisor Online, whatever!

4. What you recommended: Again, fairly self-explanatory.

5. What they read; how well you met their reading interests: Just so you know, you will not be graded poorly if you don't score a hit every time. This is meant to be a learning experience. Also, if someone does not end up reading the books you recommend, try to find out at least if they think they would like them. We can't force people to read, as much as we would like to.

And remember - you need to do this for five people, then write up your experiences with each person and reflect on them in a paper. This is a time-consuming project, but it is fun, and you learn a lot!

On to the other option:
Lab B: Reading List as Community Service

Create an annotated book list on a topic of interest to adult readers. Work with a public librarian to negotiate a topic relevant to the library’s community.Write about the various aspects of the experience, e.g., the library, the community, factors considered, tools used, the product (display, flyer with list); how selections were made; and the final list. Submit paper and other bookmarks/ brochures/flyers via Canvas assignment to me. Please use consistent formatting in whatever style you prefer.

For this lab if you work at a library you are free to work with a librarian at your location to create a list. It does need to include fiction. If you do not work in a library or you want to provide a list for a different library find a librarian willing to work with you to create a booklist. Working with a library is part of this assignment. They may want a list on vampires who knit, or fiction that celebrates spring! Really, you just want the librarian to help you come up with a topic that is relevant to their library and patrons, and talk about the style/type of list they prefer. One point here - many librarians think annotated lists are unnecessary - I disagree, as should you by this point in the class! If they do not want an annotated booklist please create one anyway. Just tell them your professor is mean. It must include some fiction - that being said, feel free to integrate non-fiction, DVDs, music, audiobooks or other parts of the library's collection into the list.

You can refer back to some of our readings on annotation such as the Chelton handouts. I would prefer to see lists with at least 12 books on them, however if your librarian wants it as a bookmark or a small slip of paper obviously you may not be able to fit that many. For your assignment, please send me through Canvas assignment both the final product (the list, a picture of a display with the list, a link, whatever depending on what format the library would like) and a paper talking about your experience as listed in the assignment description. Write about the various aspects of the experience, e.g., the library, the community, factors considered, tools used, the product (display, flyer with list); how selected were made; and the final list. Two pages should suffice.

This assignment sounds a bit easier than the other; but it is more difficult to write good, short annotations than it sounds. Please write your own annotations using appeal factors - do not use ones you have found on Booklist or Amazon. If you are the main RA person in your library and create the RA info and displays, feel free to work with yourself. If you are a having a difficult time finding a librarian to work with, let me know and I can help. But not the day before it is due. :)

 Please let me know if you have any questions that I haven't covered here.

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