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? This is  a very free-form question, feel free to wildly extrapolate or calmly state facts, as suits your mood!

Reading and books have changed quite dramatically since I was a child. As a child, I only found out about new books from Reading Rainbow or from my library. There was no internet, no Oprah's bookclub, etc. There wasn't a social media campaign whenever a new book was released and no notable news or media coverage that I was aware of. I couldn't wait for a new episode of Reading Rainbow that we'd watch in school, or getting that awesome book fair newsprint flyer advertising new books that would be in the school library. Now, we have so many different avenues to become aware of new books, or simply books that are good reads. From GoodReads to Oprah to a slew of different review websites, to book trailers on YouTube, the options are endless. I feel like book clubs are also more popular than when I was younger. To be honest, I don't think I heard about a book club being a thing until I was in my early 20s.

Another huge difference between reading now and reading as a child is the advent of technology -- specifically, eBooks. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined reading the newest book on a hands-free tablet or cell phone. It's bananas to even think about it now to be honest. That is some Star Trek level stuff. Audiobooks are another new technology, but they aren't nearly as impressive to me as the whole eBook revolution. They can be interactive (as is the case with a lot of children's books) and they offer useful tools like a dictionary, Wikipedia lookup feature, etc. They can be really handy and may attract new readers the way paper books don't.

I, personally, will always want to read tangible paper books, but I can see publishing companies making a big push for more eBook readers. Not printing materials will lower their costs and raise their profits, so I can see the publishers continuing to push for this new technology to overtake print books in the next 20 years. In the same way that I could never imagine reading from a tablet, I can't really imagine how much reading will change in the near future now that books are available on tablets and devices. If we change the act of reading too much, doesn't it cease to be reading a book? For example, if we added VR environments to the eBook concept, would it still be reading? Or more like playing a video game? At what point does it stop being reading as we know it and become something else?

To be honest, I'm not sure that I care as much about the act of reading in the future as I do about the next big thing. I can't wait for the next Harry Potter level phenomena to sweep the industry and get people excited about reading again. I think that Harry Potter really changed things for the industry as a whole. I think people who were bookish and read a lot were considered nerds, so having such a huge hit that created movies and theme parks made it acceptable to be a reader. I suppose adults have never really worried about reading being cool or not, but when you can influence the next generation of readers to be passionate about it, that's where the changes and innovation can take hold.

No matter what happens, I'm looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

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.

The best way to market a library's fiction collection really depends on the library and the community served. If the library is located in an area with mostly elderly patrons, then Facebook marketing may not be effective, but a display of large print books would work much better. Here is how I would market the fiction collection in my library:

Displays: For the library that I work in, I find that displays are the most effective.

Here are the two permanent new book displays that are the most prominent in my YA collection:

They're in a location that is really hard to miss, so that helps generate interest. I also plan on creating special displays for certain topics in the future.

Booklists: We get a lot of requests for books that are romance novels, or books that have been made into movies and the like. We have binders with booklists in several different locations of the library: one in the children's section for children's books, one in the YA collection for teens, one in adult fiction and one at the circulation desk (mainly for the adult fiction). My plan for the future is to create bookmarks with bestsellers and award winning books. I'd also like to do lists and bookmarks for certain topics like Banned Books week, the best Summer reads, etc.

Facebook/Social Media: An additional step that we take at our library is to take photos of our new book displays and post them on Facebook so that patrons can see that we've received a new shipment. We always make sure to say "New Arrivals" rather than "New Releases" because sometimes we do get older books to help develop our collection. Unfortunately, we have a dedicated social media person, so I'm not allowed to make social media posts which is upsetting. As the teen librarian, I want to cultivate an Instagram and Twitter account to post new books, quotes from books, a book to spotlight each week, etc. If I had my choice, that's what I would do to promote my collection.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

African American Literature Annotation

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead


The Underground Railroad is, at its heart, a novel that shares with the reader the horrors of slavery -- but it never loses its hope. The story follows Cora, a slave on a Georgia plantation. Cora's grandmother and mother were on the same plantation but Cora is all alone. Her grandmother passed away and her mother ran away from the plantation. Most slaves that ran away were captured, but Cora's mother Mabel was the one slave that managed to escape and never get captured by slave catchers. Another young slave, Caesar, has a plan to escape the Georgia plantation and wants to take Cora with him because he knows she can do it. Another slave, Lovey, surprises them in a swamp and wants to join them, but she's captured during their first conflict on the run. The story continues to follow Cora and Caesar as they make it to South Carolina via a literal underground railroad, complete with tracks and actual trains. They think South Carolina is paradise, but suddenly find themselves in the middle of a medical experiment about syphilis and sterilization project. Cora is able to escape, but loses track of Caesar. Cora continues on to North Carolina and is forced to live in an attic. She's eventually discovered by a abhorrent slave catcher, Ridgeway. He intends to take Cora back to Georgia to be punished for her escape. On the way back, their party is attacked by slaves and Cora escapes her captor again. Eventually she makes it to Indiana and begins a relationship with a man named Royal, but Ridgeway is still on their trail. There's another recapture, another escape, and an eventual end to the story, but I won't spoil the ending for you.

Appeal Characteristics

  • Richly Detailed - Colson Whitehead definitely creates a very richly detailed reading experience. Sometimes, I felt like it was driving me crazy, but that's really only because I was desperate to know what was coming next. I didn't necessarily care about all the details when things got dramatic and tense. 
  • Tone: Dramatic, Disturbing, Thought-Provoking - This is not the book to recommend for someone who wants to escape reality. This is a very brutal read at times, from the story of Cora's rape, to burning a slave alive while white people watch with fine food and drinks, to Cora actually being a museum exhibit. It's appalling. The terrible reality is that you can't say that it's just a book, that it's just fiction. True, Cora isn't real, but slavery very much was and these atrocities actually did happen to people. 
  • Storyline: Unconventional - The underground railroad wasn't an actual train like it is in the book, but that's not the only unconventional part of the story. The storyline moves around in interesting ways. It's linear, but interrupted at times. For example, Whitehead will leave you on a cliffhanger about Cora and then introduce a chapter about the slave catcher. There are plenty of diversions from the path. Again, this kind of makes you crazy when you're dying to find out what happens to dear Cora, but Whitehead knows how that just builds the suspense and makes you want to read on. Well played!
  • Strong Female Character - Cora is the consummate survivor in this novel. Sometimes I wonder how she survives and makes it through her life but she does. It's really quite remarkable and inspiring. 
Read alikes 


All three read alikes have the same disturbing and dramatic tone and unconventional storyline. 

Week 14 Prompt

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 would definitely fall into the category of uncomfortable staff member in this instance. I would not want to separate the LGBTQ or the African American fiction from the general collection for the following reasons:

1. Segregation and privacy - I'm kind of going through something similar with my YA collection, but with regard to high interest/low reading level books. I would really love to put the in their own section under the label "Quick Reads", but my manager is unsure of this for privacy reasons. She's afraid teens may be embarassed to browse materials in their own section. I think the same concerns apply to separating out the LGBTQ materials (not so much with African American literature). There may be an individual in your community that is questioning, or not out of the closet, and having a separate section puts that person at risk of exposure. As for African American literature, haven't we segregated enough in our history? Representation is important and it's more important to me to have a diverse collection on the shelves like it's no big deal. Again, ease of locating materials is logical, but I don't want to stand in the way of someone discovering a fantastic piece of African American literature because it's in a different section of the library.

2. Normalcy vs. the abnormal - Simply put, singling out one diverse genre from the general collection can be construed as the topic being abnormal. Having an LGBT book next to a general fiction book next to an African American book normalizes the subject matter. I read an article recently for a different class that mentions making sure your community can see itself reflected in your collection. I think having all the subjects mingling together in one general collection is the best way to ensure that your community is represented.

3.Quantity of content/Multiple genres - What happens if there's a book written by an African American author, but has no links to stereotypical African American topics? What happens if there's an LGBTQ story about a person of color? What happens when a minor character (but still significant part of the story is a person of color or member of the LGBTQ community? Where do you put these books? Where do you draw the line? Stories can fall into many different categories and it makes the most sense to keep them all in one larger, general collection.

I would, in no way, be ashamed of having a special section for LGBTQ or African American literature. Highlighting diverse books is a great idea. While the ease of finding materials in one section makes logical sense, I think that I would rather showcase exceptional stories through displays for Pride Month or Black History Month, than single them out entirely. Their permanent holdings should be in the general collection co-mingling with all of the other books.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 13 Prompt -- Tardy to the Party

So sorry that I'm late on this, but I did some traveling and couldn't get around to it until now. Thanks Mercury Retrograde. :)

As a young adult librarian, the very thought of people not thinking that YA or New Adult literature as legitimate literary choices hurts my heart. I can tell you that from my (limited) experience, that adults do check out materials from my section and often. Sometimes it's not about the subject matter, sometimes it's genuinely about the reading/comprehension level. I work in a rural community and sometimes the adults that come in aren't interested in adult fiction because it's just too difficult for them to get through. I read to escape and if there's some sort of barrier to that, then I won't do it. I think Young Adult literature can help reluctant readers and readers who struggle with reading and comprehension at an adult level stay engaged in the act of reading. Isn't that what we're all in this for? If people are reading then as a librarian, I'm a happy camper.

One issue that may possibly come up (and sadly in this world, you have to plan for this kind of stuff) is having adults in your teen section. The way our library handles this is that my teen section is the front area of the upstairs stacks closest to the stairs, public areas, info desk and my teen room. It's easy for eyes to watch those stacks, moreso than the adult non-fiction towards the rear of the 2nd floor. I also have two large display areas close to the stairs, so as adults get to the second floor, there are enticing areas for them to check out YA materials without having to get further into the stacks. I also keep a permanent new graphic novels display out since patrons of all ages love to read them. A lot of patrons just read them in the library and then put them back on the display.

It is my personal belief that whatever gets a person reading is a good choice. If it's a YA novel or a graphic novel, those choices are just as valid. It doesn't make sense to me to discourage a patron from reading anything, even a magazine. Reading is acquiring knowledge, learning about new views and opinions, and having experiences you may not otherwise have. I'm not going to rule out an entire genre or format just because some people may think it's inappropriate. If it's inappropriate to read a ton of YA and graphic novels -- then I don't want to be appropriate. That's also, funnily enough, the reason why I was hired for my job as a teen librarian. I'm proof that it can and will work out for you if you prefer comics/graphic novels. Ha!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Non-Fiction Annotation/Week 12 Prompt

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman, most commonly known for his fiction work, takes on Norse Mythology in this new work of non-fiction. The book starts where any good story starts -- the beginning. In the case of Norse mythology it is before the beginning -- the birth of our world. Two areas exist: one of poisonous rivers and icy mist and one of fire with a void (a "yawning gap") in between. In this gap, the giants were born, including the most significant player in Norse mythology -- Odin, the all-father. Gaiman tells of Odin's sacrifice upon the Yggdrasil (The World Tree) for knowledge of runes and magic, to his creation of man (along with his two brothers), to his sacrificing one eye for wisdom. Other stories involve the mighty Thor (including how he obtains his trusty hammer, Mjollnir), Thor's wife Sif (and how Loki makes her bald), and of course, the trickster Loki. There is also a tale about how the gods get their best known treasures (Thor's hammer, etc.). Just as stories begin with the beginning, they end with the end. This book is no different as it ends with Ragnarok, the end of the world and the death of the Gods. Neil Gaiman writes in a novelistic style, and includes a nice introduction of the main characters as well as a helpful glossary in the back of the book.

** I have been using the weekly Powerpoint lecture notes to formulate my annotations. Being that there is no Powerpoint for this week, I am going to combine my normal annotation format and the one described in the prompt for Week 12. If this is a problem, please let me know and I'll do another annotation for another non-fiction book in addition to this one. :) **

Author: Neil Gaiman
Title: Norse Mythology
Publication Date: Feb. 2017
Number of Pages: 299
Geographic Setting: Technically, the setting of the book is the realm of the gods and Midgard, the realm of mankind. These are the myths of the Norse people, so the areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.
Time Period:  No specific date is given, but according to Wikipedia (I know, I know) the myths arose as part of pre-Christian Norse Paganism.
Subject Headings: Mythology, Norse.
Type: n/a
Series Notes: Not part of a series.

Book Summary: Neil Gaiman, most commonly known for his fiction work, takes on Norse Mythology in this new work of non-fiction. The book starts where any good story starts -- the beginning. In the case of Norse mythology it is before the beginning -- the birth of our world. Two areas exist: one of poisonous rivers and icy mist and one of fire with a void (a "yawning gap") in between. In this gap, the giants were born, including the most significant player in Norse mythology -- Odin, the all-father. Gaiman tells of Odin's sacrifice upon the Yggdrasil (The World Tree) for knowledge of runes and magic, to his creation of man (along with his two brothers), to his sacrificing one eye for wisdom. Other stories involve the mighty Thor (including how he obtains his trusty hammer, Mjollnir), Thor's wife Sif (and how Loki makes her bald), and of course, the trickster Loki. There is also a tale about how the gods get their best known treasures (Thor's hammer, etc.). Just as stories begin with the beginning, they end with the end. This book is no different as it ends with Ragnarok, the end of the world and the death of the Gods. Neil Gaiman writes in a novelistic style, and includes a nice introduction of the main characters as well as a helpful glossary in the back of the book.

Reading Elements: This book is fast-paced and definitely reads more like a novel rather than a typical non-fiction book. You will fill like you really are consorting with the gods, or at the very least, you'll feel like you're sitting around a fire listening to a gifted story teller telling you of the gods of old. The setting is not Scandinavia, but rather the realms of the gods and Midgard, the realm of man. The characters are as well-developed as they can be, given that many of the Norse legends were lost to time. The tone is light and the way the book is written, you can tell it was intended to be read aloud. Since these stories are brief and written in such a storyteller's fashion, they aren't particularly detail oriented. This, however, does not break the spell. It is just worth noting that this is not a book for a Norse mythology scholar, but rather someone who is in it for a great story. This book is a fantastic choice for someone who is interested in the subject matter (a comic book Thor fan) who may be a little nervous about reading a non-fiction book on the material. 

1-3 Annotation: Neil Gaiman, most commonly known for his fiction work, takes on Norse Mythology in this new work of non-fiction. Stories include tales of Odin, Thor and Loki, as well as of the creation of the world, and its destruction, Ragnarok. Neil Gaiman writes in a novelistic style, and includes a nice introduction of the main characters as well as a helpful glossary in the back of the book.

Similar works:

Norse mythology : a guide to the Gods, heroes, rituals, and beliefs by John Lindow - This appears to be more fact than storyline, which may appeal to those looking for something more historical and factual.

Norse mythology : great stories from the Eddas - More great stories featuring your favorite characters from Norse mythology.

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes - This branches out into the mythology of other regions.

Bonus recommendation: Neil Gaiman - American Gods - This book is entirely fiction, but written by the same author, so readers may appreciate the same writing style and tone. This is also about gods, old and new, which is similar to the subject matter.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Week 11 Prompt Response

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?  

Ebooks and audiobooks have definitely changed the landscape of readers' advisory librarianship. I don't think that the change of medium really changes many appeal factors, with the exception of the aesthetic ones like feel, weight, smell, etc. The biggest problem that I have with eBooks in relation to readers' advisory is that there is so much that comes out that isn't reviewed, or isn't marketed widely, so I don't know of its existence. I ran into that issue with my romance annotation for Covalent Bonds. Had I not won a copy of that eBook, I wouldn't have even known it existed. It's not really the fault of the publisher. They're small and are doing all they can, like giving out ARCs. As difficult as it is to know all about your collection and everything in it, it's even harder to know about eBook only releases and where they fit in. Access is another big issue. Sometimes eBooks aren't available for titles that patrons request or we only have 1 license for them and there's a huge waiting list. But seeing how waiting lists for actual books take much longer than eBooks, it's not quite as bad. 

To be honest, I never thought about being able to change the font and spacing being a huge issue, but it makes sense. I don't think the font or color will make that big of a difference -- BUT... when you alter the text so that the page breaks happen in different places, you'll lose the pacing and elements of surprise for sure. There are times when I'm reading and the author is building to a climax or reveal, and I have to turn the page. I always go, " more page," and I can see that draw and excitement getting lost if you're turning pages all willy-nilly. 

Audiobooks aren't hugely popular at my library, but I've listened to a few really good ones in my day. A fan made Lord of the Rings audiobook is out there and it's totally incredible. While not available for libraries, I cite example because audiobook creators need to take note. This fan did all of the narration and used different voices and accents for different characters. He added sound effects (such as swords clanging, horses galloping, etc.) and used music from the films. It's beautifully done and I think if all audiobooks were created with this much care, they'd be much more popular with everyone. Of course, they'd also probably cost twice as much. A good narrator will make or break an audiobook for sure. David Tennant does a fantastic job reading How to Train Your Dragon and the audiobook for Jackaby by William Ritter is really great too. (So sorry these are YA recommendations, but I just got hired as a YA librarian so it's kind of swirling around in my brain right now). 

I will always prefer real books to digital ones, but I read eBooks on occasion for ARCs, or just because I need something super fast and can't wait at the library/for it to ship from Amazon, etc. Audiobooks, however, are showing up in my life a lot more. There's something so satisfying about listening to books in the car while I'm driving or when I'm exercising. I can see the appeal of this format moreso than eBooks. It feels like I'm integrating reading into my life rather than just staring at another screen. 

Historical Fiction Annotation

Ill Met By Moonlight by Sarah A. Hoyt


Ill Met By Moonlight is a story of Shakespeare -- but not any story you've ever heard before. William Shakespeare has just married Nan Hathaway (Anne Hathaway is referred to as Nan in this book) and is working as a school master. He walks back and forth to his work and returns home each evening. It's the picture of simple wedded bliss until one day he returns home to find his precious Nan and his daughter have been kidnapped. As the story progresses, you discover that his wife and daughter have been taken by Sylvanus, the son of Oberon and Titania, whom he has murdered to usurp their thrown. This power play cheats his brother, Quicksilver, (the rightful heir) out of his place on the throne. While searching for Nan and Susannah in the forest, Shakespeare thinks he's dreaming when he sees a transparent (yet also marble) castle in the forest. Quicksilver spies Shakespeare and identifies him as a Sunday child, a person who can see fairies. Quicksilver has the ability to change from male to female, and transforms himself into the "Dark Lady" and recruits Shakespeare to kill Sylvanus, since only a mortal can slay him. This is about as much as I can say and remain spoiler free. :)

Historical Fiction Characteristics

A great way to learn history without getting bored. Set before the author’s lifetime with the emphasis on historical fact.  While essentially a fantasy story, you do learn a great deal about Shakespeare's life, from his love for his wife, his life as a school master (apparently it was quite a long journey for him to make each day), his parents and their business, the mysterious Dark Lady that was supposed to be his muse, etc.

World-building: A wealth of historically accurate facts and descriptions frame the story - The story does have a wealth of descriptions that were historically accurate. The author even peppers in Elizabethan language in the story. It's not so much that it makes it intimidating in the way Shakespeare is, but just enough so that you feel immersed in the world.

Tone and mood vary greatly – a vital part of the RA interview with historical fiction is figuring out what mood the reader is looking for - The tone here is mystical and dramatic, but maintaining that lightheartedness of Shakespeare's comedies. There may be some action and high stakes, but definitely not anything quite like his tragedies.

Storyline can be focused on a geographic area, a person, a family, or an event -  This storyline is focused on Shakespeare, not so much Stratford-upon-Avon (although it is mentioned).

Story will teach the reader about the life of a historical figure, the everyday lives of a group of people, or background and little known information about a historic event - As mentioned above, while a fantasy, this focuses on Shakespeare and his life.

Characters should be accurately portrayed and consistent with their time period - I'm no Shakespeare expert, but I felt that this was authentic. The use of language from the Elizabethan era was a nice touch to really transport you there.

Often leisurely paced and LONG - Definitely leisurely paced, but this one wasn't that long. Only 278 pages.

Some writers use historically accurate language, words or dialect to convey time and place - Sorry to sound like a broken record, but yes, Elizabethan language was used. The language use was accessible, which was appreciated.

Epistolary forms are popular - Not epistolary, but worth noting that each chapter has a quick paragraph that sets the scene. In fact, chapters are not referred to as chapters, but rather scenes. This isn't a play, so that was a really cute touch.

Read alikes 

 All Night Awake by Sarah A. Hoyt - This is the sequel to Ill Met By Moonlight.

Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan - Set in Elizabethan era, invovles Queen Elizabeth I and faeries.
Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear - Set in Elizabethan era, Kit Marley is the central character and he is mentioned in Ill Met By Moonlight

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Book Club Experience

Book Club: Killer Thrillers Book Club at the Nashville Public Library

For this book club, we read The Holy Thief by William Ryan. This is, apparently, going to be a series of books about a Russian criminal investigator named Alexei Korolev. I took a combination approach between participant and observer. Just like my Secret Shopper experience, no one knew my true motives. Muahahaha...

Who is asking the questions, is there a leader or do people take turns? 

This particular book club meeting was facilitated by a library employee named Bryan. He is ultimately the person in charge, but once the group discussion got going he didn't need to say much to elicit opinions, only to pose the next question on his sheet.

If there is a leader, does the leader answer the questions as well or let the attendees respond first? 

Bryan lets the attendees respond first, but did throw in his two cents a few times. Since this book is super heavy on the Russian elements (it's pretty annoying how characters address each other with first and middle names regularly), it was nice to have someone there to help us decipher it all if we needed it.

What type of questions are asked? Any involving just yes or no answers? 

All of the questions that were asked were open ended in nature. They were the "what did you think about _____?" or "Did you notice the connection between A and B, what did you think of that?" variety. The whole point of the discussion questions were to get people talking, not just have them say yes or no. As someone who hasn't read a lot of mysteries, the questions were a unique way for me to learn about the common elements of the genre.

Do all attendees actively participate? 

That depends on your definition of active. I technically participated on a few questions, but mostly I just listened to the other attendees. It was a larger group that I was anticipating (about 15 people) but most people had at least one or two things to share.

Do any attendees swoop in and steal all the spotlight? 

Sort of? Any group is going to have their more vocal participants and this was no exception. There was one person in particular that had to share their opinion on every question. It was okay though because they weren't hogging all the time. Other people were able to speak and get their thoughts in as well.

What is the atmosphere of the discussion, where is it taking place at? 

This particular book club meets on the third floor of the main library in one of their program rooms, which is, as you can imagine, just a room with chairs and tables.

Are any snacks or drinks provided? 

No. No food or drinks are allowed in the library, but I did see a few people bring their own water.

What types of books does this book club normally discuss? 

With a name like Killer Thrillers, I'm sure you can figure that one out! They discuss mysteries and thrillers and meet once a month.

Even though I didn't really care for the book that we read, the book club experience was pretty fun. It's always nice to discuss what you read with others. Lots of different views and opinions and that just added to my understanding of the book that we read. I think I took more away from the experience with that input than if I didn't have it at all.

Special Topics Paper: Bibliotherapy

As librarians (or future librarians), we understand the healing power of books. When librarians intentionally pick out books for patrons, it's considered bibliotherapy. In my research, I've discovered that a lot of libraries actually engage in some form of bibliotherapy through readers' advisory, they just don't call it bibliotherapy (Brewster, 116). My paper is about making a case for dedicated bibliotherapy in the public library.

After a brief history of bibliotherapy, I described the two different types of bibliotherapy. Creative bibliotherapy involves the use of fiction and other creative writing materials to assist a patron. Self-help bibliotherapy involves the use of self-help books and other non-fiction materials (Brewster, 115). Self-help bibliotherapy as pretty self-explanatory, but I wanted to not one area where it can be particularly beneficial -- cancer education (Turner, 56). Most articles I read dealt with mild to moderate mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Only one article mentioned the application of bibliotherapy for cancer patients, but I found it to be so important.

In reading these articles from the UK, I thought that it might be difficult to implement a more formal program in the US due to HIPAA regulations and patrons concerned for their privacy. It's much more difficult to achieve some semblance of privacy in a public library as opposed to a pharmacy counter. Pharmacys are regulated by HIPAA confidentiality rules whereas libraries are not. There could be potentially dozens of people see you pick up and check out a book on depression or anxiety. This could be uncomfortable if you don't want people to know about it. In that case, you can do more informal bibliotherapy by using signs and displays. I found a really neat example from a library in Essex, in the UK (Turner, 57).

Signs like these can help draw attention to your bibliotherapy services as well as provide a less invasive way for patrons to get help. 

If you're already doing readers' advisory in the public library, adding these bibliotherapy services seems like an easy way to serve the community. Bibliotherapy has proven scientific results (MacDonald, 2013) and is actually part of the UK's National Health Service's guidelines for treating minor mental illnesses (Brewster, 172). Readers' advisory and bibliotherapy really do go hand in hand and are a wise investment of time and resources for any public library. 


Brewster, Liz. 2008. "The Reading Remedy: Bibliotherapy in Practice." Aplis 21, no. 4:172-177. 

Brewster, Liz. 2008. "Medicine for the Soul: Bibliotherapy." Aplis 21, no. 3: 115-119. 

Detrixhe, Jonathan J. 2010. "Souls in Jeopardy: Questions and Innovations for Bibliotherapy With Fiction." Journal Of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development 49, no. 1: 58-72. 

Macdonald, J., D. Vallance, and M. McGrath. 2013. "An evaluation of a collaborative bibliotherapy scheme delivered via a library service." Journal Of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing 20, no. 10: 857-865. 

Sturm, Brian W. 2003. "Reader's Advisory and Bibliotherapy: Helping or Healing?" Journal Of Educational Media & Library Sciences 41, no. 2: 171-179. 

Turner, June. 2008. "Bibliotherapy for Health and Wellbeing: An Effective Investment." Aplis 21, no. 2: 56-61. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 7 Prompt

Well, no one likes being lied to...

I particularly can't stand being lied to when it involves a book. When you start reading a book, in reality you're starting a relationship. At least for me, books take time. Books take more effort. It's not as easy as sitting in front of a television and having a movie or TV series show you exactly what they want you to see. There's no suspenseful music to let you know that the bad guy is coming from around the corner, or romantic swells before two characters kiss. All of this is crafted by the writer's words and your imagination. It's what makes a book such a magical object. It can be seen a million different ways by a million different people based on what's meaningful to them.

And that's why situations like embellishing and flat out lying in a personal memoir like A Million Little Pieces feels like a violation. If this is the story that Frey wanted to tell, then that's fine - but label it as "inspired by real life events". To lie and dupe millions of readers (even our beloved Oprah!), seems like a risky gamble and one that ultimately didn't pay off for Frey. Duping people seems to be in Frey's blood. He's since gone on to create a YA publishing company that lures MFA students into signing a contract where he will own their work and may or may not give them credit for it based on the contract posted on the New York Magazine website. 

It shouldn't really come as a complete shock that Frey would like and make things up for personal gain. Addicts manipulate. He even says so himself in the memoir -- "Lying became a part of my life. I lied if I needed to lie to get something or get out of something." At least we can all take comfort in knowing that it is possible for James Frey to tell the truth about something.


"Read the Brutal Contract from James Frey's Fiction Factory – Daily Intel". New York. Retrieved June 18, 2011.

Mozes, Suzanne (November 12, 2010). "Inside Full Fathom Five, James Frey's Young-Adult-Novel Assembly Line". New York. Retrieved June 18, 2011.

Smoking Gun. (2006). A Million Little Lies: Exposing James Frey’s fiction addiction.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Romance Annotation

Covalent Bonds edited by Trysh Thompson


Covalent Bonds is a collection of short stories that feature geeks of all kinds in romantic scenarios. From an FBI consultant trying to woo a world-famous hacker to comic book convention attendees sneaking away for a quick rendezvous, this anthology has something for every flavor of geek. There's a live-streamer who finds love in her own home, horror movie buffs who fall for each other after a chance encounter at a Walgreens, a gamer and game writer who find love as they drive for hours across the several states to save a convention release of a hot new RPG, D&D character swapping with seductive results, a divorced game tester who bonds with her boos while on a work trip, and a poet who argues over sentence diagramming. Stories range from a few pages to a few chapters. Some are gentle romances while others turn up the heat. Characters are as diverse as their geeky interests with different races, disability status and counties of origin are represented. This anthology celebrates individuals in all their geeky glory and electricity is guaranteed.

Romance Characteristics

  • Love story dominates the plot - In all of these stories the love story is the dominating plot. 
  • Happy ending is assured - Some of the stories start out where the protagonists don't get along, but there's always a happy ending. 
  • Writing allows the reader to experience the emotions vicariously - The writers in this anthology definitely describe emotions and sensations like chills, goosebumps, and butterflies in the tummy for the reader to experience. If you've had romantic experiences yourself, it's very easy to recall what that feels like as you read. 
  • Tone can vary - Tone varies from sharp and witty to dreamy and romantic and everything in between.
  • Characters grow and develop into their romance - This is particularly true of the stories where the protagonists don't get along and then grow to love each other. 
  • Characters are often archetypes - The only real archetypes at play here are geeks and the guys are definitely the too good to be true types (or maybe I've just had really bad boyfriends in the past. Ha!) 
  • Often get the view of both protagonists - Usually you hear from the female point of view with the male perspective peppered in. There are a few stories (usually the shorter ones), where you only hear from one gender. 
  • Lovers are always together at the end of a real romance - Check! All happy endings here, from relationships to marriages. 
  • Fairly fast pace - Being that these are all short stories, they move along at a good clip. 

Read alikes 

Hard Day's Knight  One Con Glory
Gaming for Keeps (Agents of TRAIT #1) Love Kinection

Hard Day's Knight by Katie MacAlister  - Renaissance Faire!
One Con Glory by Sarah Kuhn - Comic Con!
Gaming for Keeps by Seleste deLaney - MMORPGs and conventions!
Love Kinection by Jennifer James - Girl gamer, Xbox and Tech Hottie!
  ** I chose to read this for this annotation because I won an advance reading copy off of LibraryThing. This book was released on Valentine's Day this year, so the timing felt right. Also, since I'm a romance genre virgin (pun intended) and a huge nerd, short stories about geeks felt really relatable to me. A beautiful damsel I am not. I am a nerdy t-shirt wearing, comic book reading, d20 rolling, convention attending geek. These stories featured people like me, and that was really appreciated.** 

Week 6 Prompt - Promoting Romance

Prior to taking this course, I had never read a romance novel. The biggest reason for this is that the genre as a whole is very intimidating to me. There are as many different types of romance novels as there are other genres in the library - historical romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, gentle romance, hot and steamy romance/erotica, paranormal romance, and on and on. Using the concept of integrated readers' advisory can help librarians recommend appropriate types of romance novels to readers new and experienced alike.

My idea for promoting the romance genre in the library is basically to compare romance books to movies and TV. For example --

"If you like Grey's Anatomy, try ________,"
"If you like 50 Shades of Grey, try these books..."
"If you like Outlander, try these..."

and so on and so forth.

I found some really neat ideas on Pinterest that I would present to my boss to show how I would construct a display for the library. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

This one is my favorite, even though it's geared more towards teens and children.

Shelf Mouse: Lights, Camera, Action!:

It would be fun to combine the theater style booth option with this one --

Pinned here partly for the great idea of a huge array of individual "If You Like" bookmarks, partly for the thought-provoking post it illustrates. Designer Librarian blogs about using readers advisory in academic libraries to close the college reading gap. I want to combine & adapt these ideas for use in the public library. (photo: Reader's Advisory Bookmarks by anthonylibrarian, via Flickr):

Instead of having the bookmarks on the wall, I would put them in the booth.

Budget could be problematic, as well as finding appropriate supplies to make a cool theater style booth (or simply, lack of craft skills). If I met with too much resistance, I would pitch a display like the one below --

Match Your Mood Book Display:

Instead of moods, I would have movie posters/covers and TV show pics.

One other idea that I found on Pinterest that I feel am in love with is the book truck/book mobile. A local bookstore here (Parnassus Books) has their own rolling bookstore and it is quite magical to visit. This is definitely a pipe dream for most (if not all) libraries, but it would be so cool to do up a bookmobile with romance books. It could be the Romance-mobile. You could also change the genre based on the season, a Horror-mobile, Mystery-mobile (and if you don't call it the Mystery Machine that's a real missed opportunity), etc. Instead of ringing customers, you could just check out the books. Oh what fun! This is not at all a possibility, but I wanted to keep it here in my blog so that I don't forget about it. It's fun to daydream, right?

Love this!:

Also, this is completely unrelated to the romance promotion pitch above, but I just wanted to share this here because it's so pretty -

Tiered dress made of pages from romance novels.  From Texas Woman's University Women's Collection, on display at the Denton campus library for the summer.:

It's a dress made from the pages of romance novels!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Kirkus Style Review - Stardust by Neil Gaiman

What magic waits for you just over the wall? That’s what Tristan Thorn is about to discover as he embarks on a journey to bring back a fallen star for his beloved.

Tristan Thorn is living a normal life in the town of Wall, working in a shop and being smitten by the beautiful young Victoria. Victoria doesn’t return Tristan’s affection, but to let him down easy she promises that if he brings her a fallen star (which she’s convinced is impossible) that she will give him a kiss and may even marry him. As luck would have it, Tristan sees a falling star -- and with help from his father he sets out on his journey into the Faerie lands, over the guarded wall that surrounds the town, to retrieve the fallen star for his beloved.  Tristan wasn’t the only person to see the star fall. At the same time Tristan is on his quest to find the star, three sons of the Lord of Stormhold are seeking the star for their own power as is an ancient with named Madame Semele who wants to use the heart of the star to restore her youth. Once he reaches the fallen star, Tristan is surprised to learn that it’s actually a woman named Yvain who has broken her leg in the fall. He captures her with a silver chain and is intent on bringing her back to Victoria. But nothing really goes smoothly in the Faerie realm, does it?  The sons of Stormhold and Madame Semele are in hot pursuit, causing complications for Tristan and Yvain. Who will ultimately end up with the fallen star? Will Tristan win Victoria’s heart, or will he follow a different path?

Stardust is a highly enjoyable fantasy story about learning who you really are and who you really love. Gaiman masterfully blends elements of fantasy and romance into a captivating story with plenty of magical surprises that are sure to delight readers.