Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week 16 Prompt

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? 

For me specifically, reading has changed pretty dramatically. I never really read growing up. Even though all of my friends were reading Harry Potter, I did not ever have a huge interest in reading. I started reading more popular books like Twilight and The Uglies when I hit high school. I fell into a friend group that enjoyed reading and talking about books that peaked my interest more. I didn't read any hard hitting literature until later when one of my friends had lent me Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I began to read deeper novels and those are the novels I still read to this day. I also began hoarding books around that time, which I still have not been able to break.

I don't see print books going extinct in the next 20 years. Ebooks have been around for years and numbers are showing an increase in print books being purchase this year over past years. I feel there is a large number of readers who still love to sit down and read without any distractions. Interactive reading could cause distractions, so I don't think that could ever completely take off. I think reading overall could decrease with the addition of new technologies in other fields that are more interactive and new than reading. Of course, technology is ever changing and could change the reading industry dramatically.

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.

I've worked in public libraries in the past, and there are three different ways I liked to market the library collection.

1. Display with changing themes
There is a display in the middle of the floor right as you walk up the stairs into the adult department. Once a month, I would change the display to showcase a different fiction or non fiction group. Sometimes it would be a genre, but often it was just a collection of books with a common theme or story. I also would showcase an author if they were in the news for a new movie adaption or personal issue.

2. Monthly book club
The monthly book club is a book club every month where the readers read a newish fiction novel. I say newish because it was necessary to choose books about a year old where the library could get a lot of copies from other libraries since the library only had one or two. There were about 10-12 people participating in this book club every month. The library provide food for everyone, and participants would also bring food as sort of a "pot luck."

3. Summer Reading Program
Every year the library held a summer reading program for kids but in the past few years, they decided to add an adult reading program as well. Adults had free range of reading any books, but it allowed the patrons to read more books in the library collection. Most patrons went for the fiction books and the staff would also recommend books after talking to patrons about what else they read for the program.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

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.

I can see both sides of this issue. On one hand, separating the smaller genres can show can allow readers explore a new genre all in one space. On the other hand, it can make it seem like it is a controversial subject that patrons need to possibly avoid. Separating the genres gives the librarian an advantage of pointing out these novels easily when readers are looking to browse for books in the genres of GBLTQ and African American books.

My main issue with separating the genres make it seem like they are genres that only certain people could enjoy. Libraries normally separate genres like "romance" and "fantasy" because of the themes in these genres. GBLTQ and African American fiction do not have any specific themes or tones. The appeal of both genres are all over the board, so they do not fit with separating in their own sections like other genres. I think librarians can easily offer these books up as a part of "romance" or "history" during any RA session. There are both fiction and non-fiction books. Finding books would be more difficult for patrons as well, especially if they are familiar with the Dewey Decimal System. As I believe in full equality, I don't think these genres need separated. If a reader doesn't enjoy the subject, the librarian will hopefully catch on during the RA interview or afterwards if the librarian has the opportunity to discuss the books she recommended.

Librarians can handle patrons who request the separation fairly easily as well. They can offer RA for specific books, and they can also explain that separating the books seems to depict that there is something wrong with the idea of the genre, much like separating "adult" movies in movie rental stores.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Young Adult Annotation

Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Title: Between Shades of Gray
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: 2011
Number of Pages: 344
Geographical Setting: Siberia and Lithuania
Time Period: 1941
Series (If applicable): No series

Plot Summary: 

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
Subject Headings:
Lithuania > History > Soviet occupation, 1940-1941 > Fiction. Tween fiction. Labor camps > Fiction. Survival > Fiction. Soviet Union > History > 1925-1953 > Fiction. 
3 Read a-likes:
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

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? 

As librarians, we should definitely ensure that we serve adults who enjoy YA, graphic novels and new adult genres. If librarians don't serve all patrons, the patrons will eventually turn their backs on the library and supporting the library.

One of the best ways to ensure we serve these adults is to get to know the genres through reading and research. The great thing about all three of these genres is the online culture attached to them. There are so many sites and YouTube videos concentrating on these genres that learning about about them is quite simple and fun. 

Librarians can also read books within the genre. After doing the initial research, the next step is to read some books from the genres. I would suggest a mix of popular and non-popular books. This way, there is a variety of books librarians can suggest to the patron.

Finally, librarians need to share their new knowledge with patrons. Passive programs geared towards these genres will get people interested in a genre overlooked before. Having fun displays with interesting covers will pull readers in. Librarians can also give YA, graphic novels, and new adult books as RA when readers are looking for new books to read. One of the benefits to these genres is that they are written about everything from romance to war. Every reader will be able to find a new interesting read within these genres.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Literary Fiction Annotation

Image result for never let me go book

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Title: Never Let Me Go
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: 2010
Number of Pages: 288
Geographical Setting: Hailsham, United Kingdom
Time Period: Late 20th Century
Series (If applicable): No series

Plot Summary: 

Told from the viewpoint of Kathy, who becomes a carer for her two friends, the manipulative Ruth and the hapless Tommy, the novel is a narrative of how the three young people learn about one another and their place in the outside world. Ruth and Tommy become a couple, even though it is Kathy and Tommy who seem to have the more natural attraction. Years later, when Ruth is a donor and Kathy her carer, Ruth confesses that she had intentionally kept Kathy and Tommy apart out of her own jealousy and selfishness and she asks Kathy for her forgiveness. She encourages Tommy and Kathy to get together and encourages them to seek out Madame, one of the mysterious people connected to Hailsham, to ask her about the rumors that clones who can prove they are in love can postpone their donations.
After the death of Ruth, Tommy and Kathy seek out Madame and find her living with Miss Emily, the former leader of Hailsham. The women reveal to them that there is no postponing their destinies and no deferral program exists. Tommy and Kathy also learn that Hailsham, which had since been closed, was created in an effort to demonstrate that clones had souls, which is why the students had been encouraged to express themselves artistically. It had been an experiment designed to demonstrate that clones should be treated humanely, but it was found that society preferred to think of them as sub-human so as to avoid having to confront the ethical issues.
The novel ends after Tommy "completes" and Kathy is left alone to carry on her role as a carer for the final few months until she will become a donor herself.
Never Let Me Go raises questions about mortality and personal identity as the main characters move through life with the ever-present knowledge of their final destinies. Themes of love and personal sacrifice are also explored.
Subject Headings:
Women > Fiction. England > Fiction. Cloning > Fiction. Organ donors > Fiction. 

Appeal: Language and writing style are primary keys to the appeal of books and authors in the genre. Books consist of complex language and interesting styles. This genre also allows greater leeway in regard to style, and prose styles are often more complex and experimental. Readers who love character-centered stories turn frequently to literary fiction.
3 characteristics of genre:
  • Literary style is important. Authors and readers pay attention to words and how they are woven together with elegant, often poetic language.
  • Story lines are thought-provoking.
  • Pacing is slower, as these are usually densely written books.

3 Read a-likes:
  • First Love, Last Rites by Ian McEwan
  • A Distant Shore by Caryl Phillips
  • Anita and Me by Meera Syal

Week 12 Prompt

Columbine, by Dave Cullen

1. Where is the book on the narrative continuum?

      Highly narrative (reads like fiction)
✓   A mix (combines highly narrative moments with periods of fact-based prose)
      Highly fact based (has few or no narrative moments)

2. What is the subject of the book?
The school shooting at Columbine High School--the book focuses on the facts of the mass shooting and gives narratives of the victims and shooters.

3. What type of book is it?
True Crime

4. Articulate appeal

What is the pacing of the book?The book reads fast but the pace is slower because of the sections of facts.
Describe the characters of the book?The book mainly focuses on the two shooters in the Columbine massacre
How does the story feel?The story is incredibly somber, but it is enthralling because of the very detailed descriptions.
What is the intent of the author?To help readers understand the details of a terrible tragedy.
What is the focus of the story?The day of the shooting, along with the backstory of the shooters and victims in the school that day.
Does the language matter?Yes
Is the setting important and well described?The setting is not as important as the characters, but it is very well described.
Are there details, and if so, of what?There are plenty of details. The book has 400 pages from one day, along with profiles of the shooters.
Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials? Are they useful and clear?There are not may charts, but there are materials from the shooters rooms as a part of their profiles. They are as clear as they can be for copies in a book.
Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience?The book stresses a lot of understanding and experience; understanding of the atmosphere of the event and experiencing the emotions during the event.

5. Why would a reader enjoy this book (rank appeal)?
1. Detail        2. Learning/experiencing       3. Tone

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Historical Fiction Annotation

Image result for the invention of wings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Title: The Invention of Wings
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2014
Number of Pages: 384
Geographical Setting: Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Time Period: Throughout the 1800s.
Series (If applicable): No series

Plot Summary: 

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

The novel begins on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.
Subject Headings:
Grimk√©, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873 > Fiction. Antislavery movements > Fiction. Feminists > South Carolina > Fiction. Women's rights > Fiction. 

Appeal: "World-building" is crucial in historical fiction. Historical fiction requires accurate historical facts. Readers discover a wealth of details relating to the setting as well as to characters and events. The frame, constructed with facts, is the first element readers respond to. Story lines generally emphasize either a particular time or event or they follow the lives of characters in a time. Characters can take center stage, and the lives of the protagonists are more important than the individual events. 
3 characteristics of genre:
  • There is a wealth of accurate historical detail relating to setting
  • The mood of historical novels runs the gamut from rollicking to somber
  • Story lines may focus on a particular historical event or time period

3 Read a-likes:
  • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  • When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi
  • The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

Week 11 Prompt

Ebooks and audiobooks are a part of our landscape. What does the change in medium mean for appeal factors? If you can't hold a book and feel the physical weight of it in your hands, how does that affect your knowledge of the genre? How about readers being able to change the font, line spacing, and color of text - how does that affect pacing and tone? How about audiobooks? Track length, narrator choice, is there music?  For this week, I want you to think about how ebooks and audiobooks affect appeal factors - also think about appeals that are unique to both mediums. Please feel free to use your own experience and that of your (anonymous of course) patrons. I look forward to reading these!

The shift from physical books to ebooks and audiobooks causes a change in the appeal factors for readers. While the two mediums are wildly different, they both mean changes for the appeal factors.

Ebooks are books meant to be read on any electronic device. The most popular devices are tables, e-readers and phones. Ebooks are an interesting medium and fitting for the technology age. The appeal of ebooks lies more in the convenience factor than the changing of the appeal factors. A reader can carry hundreds of books on one device, making it easy to carry around multiple books at the same time. I personally use ebooks during vacation, because packing ten books makes it difficult to make weight restrictions on flights. Being able to edit the font size and text appearance can make the pacing of reading easier as well. I find it easier to read larger text, and with physical books, that is not possible to change. The downside to ebooks for me is not being able to get the satisfaction of finishing a physical book. I love reading the last page of a book and it is not as satisfying with ebooks. I normally read physical books, but there are times I like to pick up ebooks when I do not want to carry around a large physical book.

Audiobooks also are a vastly different medium than physical books. Audiobooks are books either on CD or downloaded from various sources. Audiobooks affect appeal factors in a number of ways. First, audiobooks are only listened to, not read. Readers cannot see the words, and rely on the audiobook to read every word. This can be a positive and negative for readers like myself. I listen to audiobooks on my drive to and from work. It gives me a way to enjoy reading when I cannot physically read a book. The main problem with audiobooks is when I "zone out" and miss a section of the book. It is easy to reread the book when I have a physical copy, but it is difficult to rewind the CD in the car. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks when I am working, but the same issue can happen. It is easier to find my place on my phone however, than going backwards on a CD. Audiobooks are controversial as some can consider reading audiobooks as "not reading." While it is not reading in the traditional definition, I still believe it to be reading books.

Both ebooks and audiobooks are great for different types of readers. Readers can read strickly physical books, ebooks, or audiobooks, but the most common is a combination of two or three of these mediums. The appeal of these different mediums are different for a number of reasons, but all three should be considered reading. I welcome any format that allows books to be read, because it allows books to reach new readers who may not enjoy reading physical books.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Book Club Experience

For this assignment, I visited a monthly book club at a small town library. The premise of this book club is a provided lunch with the book discussion. This month’s novel was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I have read this novel, so I thought I would sit in as a participant and engage in the discussion when possible.

The first thing I noticed about this discussion group is the age group of the readers. The book club starts at noon on a Thursday, making way for the elderly population who no longer work. They were all women above the age of 55. While I expected this, it still is disheartening to not see a diverse group for the book club. I have not been to a discussion during the evening to see if the age group is younger and more diverse so I decided to ask the library employee about it. She said the book club groups are all similar to the group at this book club, even during nights and weekends.

Right away, I realized that the book would not be the main topic of discussion for the group. The group consisted of 7 women who come to the book club every month. The first 30 minutes of the book club did not deal with the book club at all. The ladies talked to each other about their lives and new around the town. Then, they all got up and got food the begin the discussion. The food was provided by the leader, an employee of the library. It was definitely enough for lunch, which was nice.

The leader, Joann, asks questions and lets the others answer first. She asks mostly yes or no questions, but I think it is because the members can continue the discussion afterwards. The discussion flowed easily, but there was one member who did overtake the discussion a lot. Joann did not do anything to facilitate this issue and it seemed like others wanted to answer but could not get a word in. It was unfortunate because I got the sense that this is an issue during every book club discussion. Everyone did have time to input their opinions after she was done talking, but she did talk for a couple of minutes after every question before anyone else could talk.

The group normally discusses books that were recently best sellers. They are able to receive books through Evergreen Indiana, and there are multiple copies available. At the end of the book discussion, the members can pick up the book for the next month. They also discuss new books to read for the book club.

While it was not the best discussion group, the atmosphere was really fun. It was located in the library’s meeting room and had plenty of space for everyone. The tables were set up in a rectangle shape, so everyone could see each other and that made the discussion flow better.

The main takeaway I had was that this book club is not entirely a book club, and at times it was hard to feel a part of the group. The group has been coming to the library for this book club for over a year and most of them have not missed a single month. They asked me questions about myself for a minute, but they really enjoy their tight knit group. Joann was great at talking to me about the novel and ourselves while the rest of the group were talking to each other before the discussion began. I think the discussion overall went well and everyone had at least one chance to input their opinions.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Special Topics: Graphic Novels

Comics have been an American staple since the initial popularity began in the 1930s. Graphic novels are comics in a bound form, like other hardback or paperback books found in the stacks inside libraries. A graphic novel is simply a novel in comic-strip format. The graphic novel format consists of bound books with pictures and text bubbles on top of the pictures.

Graphic novels are not a genre; they are a format. While many perceive graphic novels as superheroes and villains, graphic novels fall within every genre. April Sheppard, an advocate for graphic novels, “Comics are no longer simply men in tights— many graphic novels deal with current issues, serious subjects, and learning” (13).

Libraries are beginning to include graphic novels in their collections, but there is still a tendency to believe graphic novels are not real literature and a waste of the small budget libraries have. Despite public perception, graphic novels have a valid place in the library for many reasons. One of the most compelling arguments is the power to get unenthusiastic readers to read willingly.

Sheppard, A. (2007). Graphic novels in the library. Arkansas Libraries, 64(3), 12-16.

Women's Lives and Relationships Annotation

Image result for something borrowed book

Author: Emily Giffin
Title: Something Borrowed
Genre: Women's Lives and Relationships
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 322
Geographical Setting: New York City, USA
Time Period: Early 2000s.
Series (If applicable): Darcy & Rachel

Plot Summary: 

Rachel and Darcy have been best friends since fifth grade from a small town in Indiana. Rachel is now lawyer living in Uptown Manhattan on the brink of her thirtieth birthday. Darcy has become prominent in the PR world in Manhattan and is engaged to Dex, who Rachel introduced. Rachel has been the rule following, good girl but that all changes on the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel and Dex sleep together after Rachel's birthday celebration. Rachel is contemplating why she slept with Dex, since she is Darcy's Maid of Honor in their upcoming nuptials just a few months away.

A few days later Dex calls Rachel, much to her surprise, and confesses feelings for her. Rachel and Dex begin a relationship behind Darcy's back. Before Rachel and Darcy's time share begins in the Hamptons, Darcy sets Rachel up on a date with Marcus. Rachel enjoys the date, but cannot get Dex off her mind. Rachel joins Darcy, Dex, Marcus and friends in the Hamptons, but soon realizes that she cannot deal with Darcy and Dex flirting. 

Rachel finally decides to give Dex an ultimatum, her or Darcy. When Dex finally decides on Darcy, Rachel goes to London to visit a friend from school and to get away from her heartbreak in Manhattan. Rachel returns to New York to discover Dex waiting for her in her apartment building. Dex tells her he ended the engagement and wants to be with Rachel. Darcy shows up and the doorman allows her to go up immediately. Dex hides in the closet while Darcy confesses to having an affair with Dex's best friend, Marcus and is pregnant with his baby. The first book in this saga closes out with Dex and Rachel being together, and Darcy being with Marcus. Rachel and Darcy are no longer on speaking terms and they are both contemplating their lifelong friendship. 
Subject Headings:
Triangles (Interpersonal relations) > Fiction. 
Risk-taking (Psychology) > Fiction. 
Female friendship > Fiction. 
Single women > Fiction. 

Appeal: The appeal of the genre is the intimate glimpse into the lives of the protagonists. While to tone ranges from more melodramatic to realistic or provocative, it sets up the emotional link that readers want and expect. These are novels written by women, and they explore the lives of female protagonists while they focus on her relationships with family, friends, and lovers. Novels in the genre examine themes of concern special to women.
3 characteristics of genre:
  • The novel offers a generally optimistic outlook.
  • The protagonist and author are female.
  • Story lines reflect the issues affecting women's lives and portray women facing difficult situations.

3 Read a-likes:
  • Can you Keep a Secret by Sophia Kinsella
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • Four Friends by Robyn Carr

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week 7 Prompt

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.

Many books in my lifetime are deemed controversial for a wide variety of reasons. Most of the time, I do not even have an opinion of the book, either because I have not read it, or I don't think it is actually controversial. I am very open minded and I firmly believe every book has a place on the shelves. I do believe there are many books that have morality problems, but there can still be lessons to learn from them.

Recently though, one book has actually made me have an opinion towards the "controversy." Fifty Shades of Grey has turned the book world upside. For years, romance novels have been looked upon as "guilty pleasures" or "trashy" novels many people do not read or only read in secret. Fifty Shades reinvented this idea. I personally knew many readers who openly discussed the novel and read it publicly. Fifty Shades was a great resurrection of the romance novel, but, controversy followed.

Many people fell issue with the sexual nature of Fifty Shades, of course. Sexuality in the United States has always been a hot button issue. The sexual nature of Fifty Shades is especially riveting because of the BDSM factor. Not only is there BDSM, the descriptions of sexual acts are very detailed and paint a picture clearly. The book has been challenged many times and banned in certain areas.

While I find issues with the quality of writing in the novel, it still has its place in public libraries and other areas. It is disheartening to see people who push their beliefs onto others. They can choose not to read the book, but having it banned from libraries is the very stance libraries fight against--censorship. I believe everyone has the right to read any book that interests them. The book may not align with some beliefs, but not everyone has the same beliefs. Keeping controversial books on the shelves allows libraries to be credible sources and stay unbiased.

Mystery Annotation

Image result for eyre affair

Author: Jasper Fforde
Title: The Eyre Affair
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2001
Number of Pages: 374
Geographical Setting: England; Wales
Time Period: 1985
Series (If applicable): Thursday Next

Plot Summary: Thursday Next is the female protagonist in this parallel version of Great Britain in 1985. Thursday is employed in the LiteraTecs department of the SpecOps (special operations) division of law enforcement. The story starts out with Thursday being promoted to help capture a wanted terrorist, Acheron Hades. Thursday was a student of Hades years before, and she is one of the few people in the world who can recognize him. Thursday fails to capture Acheron and returns to her hometown of Swindon after being offered a transfer position.
Hades captures Thursday’s uncle and aunt for her uncle’s prized Prose Portal, which allows original manuscripts, and subsequent copies, to be changed. Hades steals the original manuscript of Jane Eyre and kidnaps Jane from the manuscript. Thursday travels to Wales where Hades is hiding and successfully returns Jane to the manuscript. Thursday finds her aunt still missing with Hades. Thursday successes in killing Hades and rescuing her aunt.
The story concludes with Thursday helping along negotiations to end the Crimean War. She marries her lifelong love, Landon, after years of holding a grudge against him and she faces the new problem at work relating to the new ending of Jane Eyre.
Subject Headings:
Characters and characteristics in literature > Fiction. 
Women detectives > Wales > Fiction. 
Crimean War, 1853-1856 > Fiction. 
Fathers and daughters > Fiction. 
Books and reading > Fiction. 
Censorship > Fiction. 
Wales > Fiction. 
Appeal: The appeal of the genre is the idea of solving the mystery along with, or before, the protagonists. The mystery in the case of The Eyre Affair is capturing famed murderer, thief and all around devious Acheron.
3 characteristics of genre:
  • The solving of a crime drives the plot
  • The story focuses on the investigator
  • The mood of mysteries ranges from dark and gritty to lighthearted and witty with a multitude of variations in between.

3 Read a-likes:
  • The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
  • The Bad Book Affair by Ian Sansom
  • Re Jane by Patricia Park

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week 6 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!!

I love the idea of the popular "blind date with a book" program at libraries.In this program, books are wrapped up like presents and have a few words describing the book on the front. Patrons can read the very short (think 10 or fewer words) blurb and decide if the book sounds like an interesting read. The books are displayed and patrons only find out what the book is at check out. 

This program would be perfect for romance novels and other media. Romance novels are notorious for the terrible covers and often get judged for these covers and neglected by a large amount of readers. Integrated advisory can be included by wrapping up audiobooks as well as novels. It would be a great program to run in February for Valentine's Day but it could also work year round.

Princeton Public Library's display for "Blind Date with Book" 2013.:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Kirkus Style Review

Image result for the shadow of the wind cover

The Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Translated by Lucia Graves)

Publication Date: 2005

Publisher: Penguin Books

Page Count: 487

ISBN: 9780143034902

The past of a curious book and the strange author who wrote it are unraveled in this historical fiction novel set in Barcelona in 1945.

The novel begins with the narrator Daniel Sempere, age 11, at a secret library known as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Daniel is brought to the library by his father, a rare-book dealer. Daniel gets immersed in the books immediately and chooses the novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julian Carax. The book Daniel finds is an epic tale of a man who deserted Spain during its Civil War and died in Paris later. Daniel begins an obsession with the book for over a decade, growing up and falling in obsessions with three different women. During this time, Daniel also begins to investigate and learn more about Carax and how he was connected to Don Ricardo Aldaya and his family, and why a faceless stranger in his life calls himself Carax's fictional character Lain Coubert. Daniel's search is hampered by Fumero, a police inspector who does not believe Carax is even deceased and builds the climax evermore. Daniel begins to suspect he is far more than just a reader of engrossing novel he found back when he was 11.

This mysterious, enthralling  and surprisingly romantic novel will keep readers hooked from page one.

Week 5 Prompt

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?

Different publications having different types of conversations can effect collection development in a number of ways. If a librarian only reads one or two publications, the collection could become very one dimensional over time. The collection needs to have a wide enough range to attract all types of patrons. If a librarian reads many different publications with good and bad reviews, she will be able to make more informed decisions about which books should be added to the collection.

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?

I feel both book reviews are reliable enough for me to get a sense of the book. Both reviews have enough detail to show they read the book. I like the second review a bit more because she doesn't seem to have as much of a bias toward Christmas romance novels. The second review also aligns more with my view on romance novels, so I trust the review a bit more.

This ebook could be a good ebook to add to the library's collection. There are many avid readers who enjoy romance novels, especially holiday romance novels. The decision would have to be up to the cost versus how much money is in the budget.

I don't believe this book is a romance suspense. I have not read the book so I cannot be completely sure, but there are key characteristics that make this not a romantic suspense novel. The heroine (Robyn) is not in danger or told only from her POV. There is no choice between two men and it doesn't seem to have an easy tone.

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?

For the library, I would probably purchase Angela's Ashes. There are many good reviews for the book and it is popular among readers as well. It bodes well that the book will circulate well and be worth the purchase for the library. I would still look at reviews of real readers as well as these professional publications.

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?

I don't think it is fair that some books are reviewed to death, especially with professional publications. Popular books will get reviewed by many other sources. I feel professional publications need to give reviews for popular and unpopular books. If librarians rely solely on these publications, collections can become too similar between libraries. In the digital age, libraries can easily do InterLibrary Loans or share books through a consortium of libraries. 

On a personal note, I am one of the few that does not enjoy reviews from publications. The thing I dislike most about these reviews is the amount of information they disclose. I like to go into a novel without knowing the first 50 or so pages of the book. Reading reviews like this makes me not want to pick up Angela's Ashes. The reviews also seem impersonal and I like to get to know the reviewer as I am reading a review.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Secret Shopper Summary


I visited my future local public library for this assignment. We recently bought a home in the area and I was excited to test out the library. I have been there before when I had an Evergreen Library Card because the library had the best selection near me. This library is a large 2 floor library with large sections of underappreciated genres. They have the largest graphic novel selection I have found in the many public libraries I have visited. They also have an expansive fiction selection with plenty of historical fiction novels for me to choose from. I chose to do the interview about a new historical fiction novel. It’s a broad enough topic that I felt I could be asked many detailed questions to really find a great book for me. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I looked forward to find a new book to read.


I love the atmosphere of the library and it makes me even more excited to use once we move. It is very modern and spacious, but has plenty of computers for public use. There were no signs regarding reader’s advisory. I did not wander into the teen or children area to check for signs in there. There are already so many signs around the library, I couldn’t imaging adding one more! I also don’t believe everyone would know what reader’s advisory means. When I worked in a public library, I had plenty of patrons come up and ask for recommendations, but I now wonder how many more questions I would have received with a sign up.

The reference desk was easy to find. There was one staff member at the desk but the desk looked like it could hold two people. Since I went at 7 p.m., I expected only one person. The staff member who helped me, Helen, was very approachable and friendly. She was dressed professionally but welcoming. There were also book recommendation lists on the reference desk relating to fiction and nonfiction.


The interview process was not as long as I was expecting it to last. There was only a small interview before I received my recommendations. Going into the interview, I decided to provide only the information she asked for so I could see how her recommendations matched up with my tastes.

I initially asked for a recommendation for a historical fiction novel. I did not want to ask for anything to specific to slow the natural interview process down. She asked me if I liked historical fiction novels and I told her yes, it is my favorite genre. Helen immediately asked if I had read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I had read it, but her recommendation made me think she had also read it and she was giving me a personal recommendation rather than from a webpage.

Helen then asked me what historical fiction novels I have recently read. I told her All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. I chose these three books for the variety, but I also wanted to see if she picked up on the era of books I enjoy. She told me she was recommended All the Light We Cannot See but she hadn’t had the chance to read it yet.

After telling her these books, she started her search for a new book for me. While she was searching, I asked her what she was using to find a new book. She told me she used Fantastic Fiction. The three books she gave to me were The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure, The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and The Patriots by Sana Krasikov.


I feel there were many positives and negatives with the reader’s advisory interview. One thing I noticed was she didn’t ask me what era of historical fiction I was looking for. When I am searching for new books in historical fiction, I begin to narrow it down by era. There are so many books considered “historical fiction” and it makes it hard to find a good book to recommend. I did give her three books all set in World War II, in hopes she would search for other books during that time.

She did give me three books all set during or around the era I was looking for, which was surprising. I’ve read The Kite Runner but I did not even know about the other three. I love hearing about new novels so I was ecstatic to hear brand new novels for me to read.

Helen only used Fantastic Fiction to find the books she recommended me. While more than one would be ideal, most of the time I have only had librarians use one resource to start with. If the patron asks for more recommendations or different recommendations, then I would expect the librarian to use different resources.

Overall I believe the interview was a success. I now have three new books to add to my “to read” shelf on Good Reads. Helen was also very friendly and open to listening to me. All three books I have not read sound right up my alley and I am excited to read them. I think the only thing that would have made it better was the interview itself. I feel the interview went about as well as I expected. I never expect a librarian to go into a lengthy interview process initially. Many people are just looking for a new book or author and a long interview process isn’t necessary. I would definitely go back and get more recommendations from Helen. It was a good experience and I will probably be back for patronage soon.


I felt wonderful after the interview. I was mainly excited to have a great library staff at my new library. The library is doing well in regards to money, so I wasn’t shocked to see such a great atmosphere and staff member in Helen. Helen being so friendly and welcoming made the experience splendid.

Helen didn’t seem like I was bothering her or wasting her time. She seemed to enjoy being able to recommend and talk about books, even if they are books she had not read or heard of. She didn’t make me feel judged which is not always the case when I am talking with librarians in my experience. Helen also listened very well and responded with more questions and not just yes/no answers. Helen most likely had reader’s advisory training based on her questions she had asked. She didn’t go into much detail, but I still felt like she had taken a course or session in it. An MLS has been requirements of librarians for a while, and this library requires all librarians to hold a degree which leads me to believe she has had Reader’s Advisory training.