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!!!

A Kiss in Winter- Romantic Suspense

Title: A Kiss in Winter
Author: Susan Crandall
Publisher: Forever (January 1, 2007).
ISBN: 0446616400
Pages: 416
A Kiss in Winter
Romantic Suspense
Who would suspect that so much emotional baggage, family disappointments and romantic suspense could be found in a small town in Kentucky? But Susan Crandall's A Kiss in Winter shows us that it is indeed possible. The book tells the story of Caroline, a woman who has experienced the tragic loss of both her biological and adoptive parents at a young age. Caroline is forced to put her dreams on hold in order to raise her stepsister and stepbrother, Macie and Sam. As the story progresses other interesting characters are introduced, adding a twist to the plot. Including Marcie's high school boyfriend, Caleb, and Dr. Mick Larson, a psychiatrist, who, ironically, could use a psychiatrist himself because of his father's unreasonable demands and expectations. A romance between Caroline and Dr. Larson develops, but problems ensue because Caroline wants to leave Kentucky, while Dr. Larson desires to stay. A Kiss in Winter is a true romantic thrill ride for the soul as readers wonder if Caroline will open her heart to Dr. Larson and stay in Kentucky. This is the book to read if you are searching for Mr.Right, when everything else seem to be going wrong. It's a true page turner, readers will not be disappointed.

The Dirty Girls Social Club- Women's Lives & Relationship

The Dirty Girls Social Club

Author: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition

ISBN-10: 0312313810

ISBN-13: 978-0312313814

The Dirty Girls Social Club- Women's Lives & Relationship
Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is a bestselling Hispanic author who is not afraid of sharing and exposing the remarkable stories of the lives of Latino women and their relationships. Her other books includes, Haters, Dirty Girls on Top, Make him Look Good, Playing with Boys and The Husband Habits. The Dirty Girls Social Club (2003) was a New York Time bestseller and tells the story of six educated Latina women: Lauren, Sara, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Usnavys, and Amber. Inseparable since their days at Boston University as Communication Majors almost ten years earlier, the six friends form the Buena Sucia Social Club, which translates to Dirty Girls Social Club, which they use as a mutual support organization. Each chapter delves into the personality, life, relationships, and career of each woman. Each of the chapters also contains an unexpected twist, which makes this a fast paced book. The storyline changes constantly throughout, from melodramatic, to provocative, to humorous. Readers will find themselves crying one moment and laughing nonstop the next. Reading this book will show people that our differences are sometimes our greatest assets when it comes to getting along. The Dirty Girls Social Club is a must read for all women who desire to love more, respect all and embrace womanhood like never before.

The Shack- Psychological Suspense

The Shack- Psychological Suspense

The Shack, by William P. Young, is a suspenseful and psychological novel that keeps the reader guessing all the way to the end. The protagonist, Mackenzie Phillips (Mack), having suffered an abusive childhood exhibits a resentment towards authority. When his youngest daughter is brutally murdered, her body is discovered in a shack- hence the book's title. The tension increases and several twists in the plot develop, each one introducting a new character, including an African-American woman name Papa, a Middle-Eastern man, an Asian woman and a wise woman name Sophia, who plays a special role in Mack's healing process. Reflecting on his failures, pains and regrets, Mack is forced to explore lurid secrets that expose his past as well as the mystery of his daughter's disappearance. Anyone who has been mired in past mistakes or failures or had their heart borken will surely relate to Mack's plight. But regardless of a reader's experiences, I still highly recommend The Shack, which, as the book's promotional material suggests "is a metaphor for the places you get stuck, you get hurt, you get damaged...the thing where shame or hurt is centered."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Author: Stockett, Kathryn

Review Date: JANUARY 26, 2010
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Pages: 451
Price (paperback): $14.99
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-3991-5534-5
Category: FICTION

Kathryn Stockett’s The Help can be summed up in three words: faith, hope and trust. The book reveals the inner thoughts and family secrets in the lives of wealthy, Caucasian housewives during the Civil Right era in Jackson, Mississippi. It also highlights the life and treatment of the African-American maids, ultimately exposing the ways in which they were devalued and abused.

The book’s three main characters are Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. Skeeter is a young Caucasian lady who has just graduated from college and has dreams of becoming a writer. Aibileen and Minny are two African-American maids that Skeeter works hard to befriend in the hope that they will help her gather short stories from other African-American maids. She believes that getting these two ladies to talk will in turn get the other maids to talk, thus revealing their employers’ racism, prejudices and unfair treatment in a book she is writing called The Help.

This book is an enjoyable read, evoking both sadness and anger. Readers will find The Help hard to put down because each character is fully developed and the plot constantly keeps them guessing, while simultaneously causing them to evaluate their own prejudices.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My name is Shanika Hatcher. I believe, "Reading is the KEYS to success." I like reading nonfiction books; however, Christian fiction is also one of my favor genre...historicals, mysteries, biblical fiction, spiritual warfare and apocalyptic tales.
Readers may be divided into four classes
1.) Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied. 2.) Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to getthrough a book for the sake of getting through the time. 3.) Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read.
4.) Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also.
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge ~