Friday, April 30, 2010

What I learned in this class?

What I have learned in this class?

After my lab presentation last night, I decided to blog about my experience in our class and the numerous assignments we had to do, as they relate to reader advisories. This was an extremely challenging, yet enjoyable class. For one thing I learned a lot about various literary genres. For the most part, I've read primarily Christian Fiction, seldom venturing out to read romances, chick lit, or historical fiction. Now, I literally cannot stop reading about the lives of these provocative, outgoing and don’t-mess-with-me characters. I’ve learned that books are a way to escape the troubles we all face. A good book is a friend during midnight hours and can open up new ways of thinking. I’ve decided to continue practicing what I have learned in this class so that I can become the best Reader’s Advisor Librarian I can be. I want to help people relax, heal, and be free to explore new and fun possibilities.
Thanks for being an awesome professional; challenging us to be the best at everything we do as it relate to providing quality reference services!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Reader's Advisor is in...

Reader's Advisor is in...

I sent out an e-mail invitation to the staff at Indianapolis- Marion County Public Library (Library Service Center). I invited them to bring a "good read" and a pencil. I told them if they arrive early I would buy them lunch. To my surprise I had over 20 people that showed up, ready and willing to help me complete this assignment.

As they ate pizza, I listen to each person chat about what books they love to read, along with books they hate to read. Afterwards, I selected 5 people to participate in the Reader's Advisory Focus Group.

Each participant receive a questionaire with 8 questions:

1. Tell me what you are in the mood for?

2. Is there a particular type of work that you avoid in your genre reading?
3. Which type of genre do you enjoy reading and how many per year?
Mystery __ , Romance __, Science fiction __, Fantasy __, Horror __, Western __, Adventure __, Historical __, Other __,
4. Name four favorite authors in your favorite genre.
5. What appeals to you most about this genre?
6. If you could read but one genre, what would that be?
7. How do you keep up with new books in your favorite genre?
a) Browse in library
b) Read reviews in library and book trade periodicals
c) Read reviews on IMCPL’s web site
8. Is there a particular type of work that you avoid in your genre reading?

I gave them about 10 minutes to complete the questionaire. Next, I went over the questionaire with the participants. I also informed them that I would make recommendations based on the answer listed on the questionaire.

After the Focus Group, I went over each participant questionaire. I created a chart to track each participant reading habits, preferences, and 4 favor authors. Based on the information on the chart, I just with the following resources:

  • Reference Books
    Example: What Do I Read Next: A Reader’s Guide to Current Genre Fiction

  • Read-alike Resources

  • Lastly, a colleague

Reader’s Advisor Tools Used:

With Search Capabilities

  • Readers’ Advisor Online

  • All Readers

  • Novelist


  • Fiction Connection

  • Amazon

  • FictionDB

Links to Reader's Advisory Resources on the Web

  • Mount Mercy College's Reader's Advisory webliography

  • Overbooked: Reader's Advisory Links

  • Reader's Advisory Electronic Resources (general, and by genre)

  • Webrary (Morton Grove Public Library)

  • Sarah's Reference Warehouse: Reader's Advisory

Using these resources and tools, I was able to recommend a few books they were pleased with; however, I must keep practicing and reading in order to become a better Reader's Advisor.

This was an awesome experience; however, I think I focused more on the process verse the overall result of locating books my participants would love to read.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Young Adult

Wow! Young Adults are on the MOVE!!! Recently, a guest speaker in our class spoke about the history, clientele, and future of young adult books, exploring the genre’s wide range of topics, from innocent to provocative. Young adult books are making their way into the top 100 books of the year. In fact, the proliferation of young adult books has become so pronounced that the young adult committee for the ALA is finding it difficult to continue compiling its top 100 list because submissions have now reached into the thousands. Furthermore, interest in young adult books is now cross-generational. The speaker suggested that young adult books are bringing mothers and daughters together to enjoy good stories, but also wondered if perhaps mothers and grandmothers were simply reading the books to see what their children are reading? Whatever the case, these books are circulating in vast quantities. Young adult programs at IMCPL are always full and there is never room for walk-in patrons. One might argue that the plots and characters in young adult books are drawing in readers, but I also believe that these books are addressing controversial issues that are relevant to young readers but that people often find difficult to address. I think these young adult books are a teaching tool to allow young adults to explore issues they would normally shy away from talking about.

Additional Resources & Book Review Websites & Blogs for Teens

3 Evil Cousins: book reviews 4 and by teens
Betsy Fraser’s See Me 4 Books
Book Burger
Boys Blogging Books
Color Online
Ed Spicer’s Teen Book Reviews
Flamingnet Book Reviews
Guys Read
Hey! Teenager of the Year
I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell do I Read?
Karin’s Book Nook
No Flying, No Tights: graphic novel reviews for teens

Title: Perfect Peace

Author: Daniel Black

Genre: African American click lit

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: St. Martin's
ISBN-10: 0312582676

Perfect Peace by Daniel Black is an African American chick lit genre. Set in the 1940s, this book depicts the lives and relationships of Emma Jean, an African American woman who desperately desires to have a baby girl. The book begins by chronicling Emma Jean’s abusive childhood. From the time Emma Jean was born, she was dead in her mother’s eyes. Indeed, throughout the book, the mother’s signature statement is repeated: “You ain’t nobody, Emma Jean; I should have named you Nobody.” Emma Jean brings this emotional baggage to her marriage with Gus. Compensating for her upbringing, Emma Jean always desired to have a daughter to love, cherish, and dress in fancy clothes. However, she had six boys instead. When her seventh child is born—another boy—Emma Jean names him Perfect, but tells everyone the child is a girl. This is when the true story begins. This is a must read for all chick lit lovers: heart-wrenching drama, a mother’s desperate decision and unforgettable characters. It stands alongside other African-American chick lit, such as Better Than I Know Myself by Virginia DeBerry, Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey, Playing My Mother’s Blues by Valerie Wilson Wesley, and Just Short of Crazy by Nina Fox.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress- classic

Title: Pilgrim's Progress
Author: John Bunyan
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (June 25, 1998)

ISBN-10: 0192834002
ISBN-13: 978-0192834003
Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is a compelling, fast-paced, religious allegory classic that remains both important and popular three hundred and thirty two years after its original publishing date in1678. The book has never been out of print, has been translated into over 200 different languages was made into a motion picture released in 2009 and directed by Todd Fietkau, and is soon to be developed as a children’s animation series to be produced by Cliff McDowell. The book has been rewritten and retold by over twelve different authors across numerous editions. Bunyan’s protagonist is a young man name Christian, whose ultimate goal is to reach Celestial City, a symbol of heaven. However, he first must make a spiritual journey away from the world, represented by the City of Destruction. As Christian makes his journey to the Celestial City, a series of thought provoking events take place as over sixty seven well-developed, convincing and realistic characters are introduced in the form of both people and places. All try to persuade Christian to either give up or turn around, or attempt to lead him down the wrong path. This book has stood the test of time because of its “down-to-earth approach” to Christianity. Its allegorical nature gives Christians a way to recognize the temptations, opposition and hardships they may face on their journey to heaven.


After reading numerous articles, listening and participating in classroom discussions, reading the blogs from classmates and doing the book annotations I have come to learn that readers’ advisory tools are essential to the success of finding a “good book” for our libraries’ patrons. One of the most difficult challenges a librarian faces is finding a “good book” quickly at the reference desk. However, using the following readers’ advisory tools enables us to find the right book at the right time based on the moods of our patrons. Readers’ advisory tools come in many forms: electronically, online commercial databases, websites, and blogs. Another form is print resources: book reviews, articles, specialized reference works, and readers’ advisory books. These resources compile lists of titles and authors, along with lists that describe the appeal factors, summarized plot lines, and suggestions for other similar titles and authors. In addition, there is an often overlooked resource, which is to make use of the knowledge of colleagues. Learning to use the above tools effectively will give us the confidence they need to recommend books based on the needs of patrons’ moods or interests. These tools are beneficial regardless of one’s library size, which is why it is important to share any readers’ advisory tools with colleagues and to have a core collection of readers’ advisory books at the reference desk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Book of Night Women- Historical Fiction

Title: The Book of Night Women

Author: Marlon James

Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (February 2009)

Pages: 432

ISBN: 1594488576

The Book of Night Women
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James is beautifully written, depicting the lives of slaves in the seventeenth century on a Jamaican sugar plantation. The book describes in great detail the different kinds of slaves: field slaves, house slaves, and "Johnny-Jumpers"--those the master use to beat the slaves when they got out of control. Although he is a man, the author does an excellent job expressing the anger and hatred these ladies felt being raped, beaten, and dehumanized. Readers should be warned that the book's graphic depiction of slave abuse makes it difficult to read at times. The protagonist is a green-eyed slave girl name Lilita, who is believed to be the master's daughter. She was told that her uncle made the master mad, after which the master raped and impregnated her mother. Tragically, her mother died during childbirth in a dirty shack. In a ironic plot twist, Lilita, who looks white, falls in love with her master's white worker, and he falls in love with her too. Now Lilita must decide whether she should stay with a man who beats, rapes and kill other dark skinned slaves, or kill him and stand strong with the other slaves to revolt against the master. Readers will ultimately be intrigued by a statement repeated throughtout the book: "Every negro walk in a circle. Take that and make of it what you will." A MUST READ!!!