Wednesday, April 26, 2017

End of Class

Hello all!

I have received a couple of final projects so far - please feel free to turn these into me early. I have given you until April 30th to finish your projects. You can submit them via email or assignments.

I hope to have all grades posted by the end of next week. Don't forget that class participation is a part of your grade! This is the last week to comment on each other's posts so make it count!

What a fun semester - thanks all, for making it enjoyable. I appreciate you letting me know when things were unclear or confusing - I will definitely take it all into account for the next course. Hope you all have a great summer!

Again, let me know if you have any questions or problems - I wish I could have met all of you in person! If you're ever around Indianapolis maybe I'll meet you at one of the Indianapolis Librarian Happy Hour meetups or ILF. Also, if you're interested I am a co-organizer of the Indianapolis Literary Pub Crawl that runs once a year in the fall (the likely date is September 30th this year). All proceeds go towards Indy Reads and we have a featured author talk, costume contest, literary drinks, and raffle; it's a great way to meet lots of other bibliophiles (and librarians!). The two girls I run it with are IUPUI SLIS grads, as well as many of our volunteers. Thanks again for a wonderful course and feel free to add me on social media (after I have posted the final grades, that is.)

Due by the end of this week:
Prompt Response (many of you have already done this, I posted it last week)

Due by April 30th: 
Lab - Final Project!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Prompts for Weeks 15 and 16

Bowing to the EXTREME pressure of people politely asking, I've decided to post prompts for both this week and the next, so you guys can get finished up with everything as soon as you'd like!

The last few weeks of this course are light, reading-wise, because I want you to focus on your projects. So for Week 15, some of the readings about programming for adults are more suggestions for what to read rather than required. Please read the Saricks chapter though, as that talks specifically about programming for RA and will be very helpful in answering your prompt.

Week 15 Prompt

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.

Week 16 Prompt

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!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Welcome to Week Fourteen and Prompt!

This week we are talking about some other types of fiction that aren't necessarily their own genres, but are often treated as such. There are of course the urban fiction (or street lit), African American literature, and GLBTQ writings that are of each genre.

Street Lit
Working in a small, not very diverse branch, I don't get many RA questions about street lit. It's been a lot of fun exploring a genre I was unfamiliar with and discovering the subtleties and themes that run through it. The frames of street lit include overcoming poverty, crime, outrageous acts of violence, the importance of money, life being cheap, women are often sexually abused. Story lines include betrayal and revenge, rags to riches tales, hip hop, overblown crime and violence. There are also street lit books that include a strong connection to Christianity and redemption through religion. A lot of these books are popular with young adults. Part of the reason for this is that black characters do not feature strongly in many YA titles.

Some of the seminal works of street lit include Iceberg Slim's Pimp: The Story of my Life  from 1967, and Donald Goines Whoreson. More modern street lit authors often publish their titles independently - author Vicki Stringer started the publisher Triple Crown for these titles. More modern titles that are highly influential include the work of Sister Souljah and Stringer. Street lit is also really taking off in ebook form right now.

People who read street lit are often interested in specific sub-genres. Getting to know these titles and authors will prove to be invaluable in connecting with the patrons. Fans of street lit love talking about their favorite authors and do not expect librarians to have knowledge of the genre. When you show even the smallest bit of knowledge they are surprised and thrilled, and you increase the likelihood of their being library advocates. Even if the books are not to your taste, with the violence and sexual abuse, remember that people often like to read exaggerated tales that match their own lives or fears for their own lives, and that identifying with a similar character and seeing how they deal with difficult situations is an extremely valuable tool and part of the reason why fiction is so important.

Please review the sources provided in your syllabus. The readings are light this week; please take this opportunity to work on your final projects! There isn't as much on the African American genre (not as much as Urban Fiction or Street Lit anyways) so here are two websites that can help you out:
Let me know of any problems, issues, or questions.

Due by the end of the week:
Prompt Response
African American, GBLTQ, and Urban Fiction annotations from the following students:

Week 14 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 GBLTQ 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.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Welcome to Week Thirteen and Prompt

We're in the home stretch! I hope that you are progressing well on your projects - I have yet to have anyone ask me for help in finding a librarian to work with, so my guess is if you are doing Lab B you all already know who you are working with. If you are doing Lab A you should be finding your folks to experiment on now to give them time to read some of your picks and respond to how well they like them. Please let me know if you have any questions - I am very flexible, but I do expect a certain level of work from this project and you won't have time to revise it if you turn it in the day it is due. But going by the work you guys have been doing all semester everything will be great.

So this week we are tackling a few "genres" that seem to be skyrocketing in popularity. Be sure and check out all the readings and links listed in the syllabus!!

Young Adult
Young adult books are kind of on the fence between being a genre and not being a genre. Obviously, they are mainly supposed to be an age group, with different genres interspersed throughout. However, young adult books now tend to share certain characteristics that make them very popular among both teens and adults. These characteristics include a fast pace, likeable and young main characters who are facing issues that do not devalue or minimize the problems that teenagers face.

New Adult
New Adult books are similar to YA - however the people are slightly older and there is generally more sex. They may be going to college for the first time or on a military deployment. Here's some information:

New Adult Alley: This is a popular new adult website that has a lot of titles and reviews.

Meg-a-Rae: This is a video podcast from an IUPUI grad, who has since moved on to another job. She and her co-worker discuss a couple of New Adult titles and the genre.

Betwixt and Between: A collection development article on the New Adult genre, I published a few years ago in the Library Journal.

Graphic Novels
Like Young Adult, graphic novels aren't really a genre, they are a format and they contain different genres. Graphic novels have been steadily increasing in popularity for years. Some of the works that you should know include the Watchmen, Maus, The Death of Superman, and Persepolis. All of these titles have had a great influence on graphic novels, and have helped to propel them from comic book status to award-winning stories in their own right. Many very popular novels or series of novels have been made into graphic novels as well - especially urban fantasy. Also, it's become a theme for some popular science fiction shows that have gone off the air to continue their series as graphic novels - Firefly for instance.

The main difference in doing RA for graphic novels is that you have to take the art style into consideration - many patrons enjoy a particular type of art and just want to read graphic novels that employ that particular style. If you have a difficult time following graphic novels, try reading Scott McCloud's book Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art. He explains some of the semiotics of comic books to help you understand how the artwork influences the story.

Week 13 Prompt 
Though this week's group of "genres" all seem very different, they all have in common the fact that many people don't feel that they are legitimate literary choices and libraries shouldn't be spending money on them or promoting them to adults. The common belief is that adults still don't or shouldn't read that stuff. How can we as librarians, work to ensure that we are able to serve adults who enjoy YA literature or graphic novels? Or should we? I can't wait to read your thoughts on this. Thanks!