Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Future

When I was younger, reading seemed more private and not so much advertised as it is now. I feel like now, people are more open about what they read and also that reading isn’t necessarily only for “nerds” to enjoy. For me specifically, books have become something that defines me whereas they used to be something I avoided. I didn’t appreciate what they could do until the 3rd grade, and after that, I was never seen without a reading book.

I suppose the main change books have gone through is the technology involved. Ereaders and ebooks didn’t exist until I was in high school I think. Even then they are completely different from what we see today. I remember my first Kindle didn’t even have a touch screen and now I don’t think you could buy one without such technology. With technology advancing, advertising for books has blossomed. Books have always relied on word of mouth and person to person reviews, today those things happen quickly and spread fast. Youtube channels, blogs, and websites dedicated to book reviews have pushed books far from the old ways of advertisement.

Future changes for books would probably involve more interactive readings. I can see links to websites or other such content embedded in the text of books. What would be really interesting is to see textbooks take jumps and become better tools for teaching with videos instead of pictures. Maybe even have the ability for teachers to embed their own links or partial lectures to help students understand what they learned in class. Ereaders will probably keep advancing just like smartphones to pull in more buyers. The number of ebooks will continue to grow as publishing them is easier than doing so in print. Books that are self-published make up a good portion of ebooks that are available now and will probably only grow for this reason. I still believe that print books will be a major player, even now they hold a good majority and I don’t see them disappearing anytime soon. Whatever the future, books are more than likely going to be there—no matter the format.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Book Display
This has always been one of my top choices when trying to market a section or genre of book. I just think it works really well especially when the display in positioned right in the library. With any library of a good size, books can all start looking the same if a patron is just browsing, not sure what they are looking for. Bringing some books out of the shadows and into a display can give them the attention they may have missed otherwise. I really liked the suggestion from our reading with the “Good Books You May Have Missed” display and how it was handled. Having a continuous display like that is a great way to get those books with less media hype a chance to shine. A library I worked at also had a “New Books” display where some of the newest books were shown to let patrons know that they’d arrived. I also liked this idea but thought it could have been handled better. It was stocked and then kind of left alone until someone chose to restock it.

Booktalks/ Book clubs
Talking about books is a great way to generate interest. Since librarians usually head these when connected to a library, patrons can also feel that they are getting knowledgeable advice. Booktalks more so if the patron only wants some suggestions and doesn’t want to necessarily come to continuous meetings or wait for others to read their next book. Book clubs are a great way to get people to talk about books and also advertise some great reads. Either way, even if patrons don’t wish to come to these events personally, having the listings of books covered in booktalks or what the book club will be reading can be a great advertisement. Seeing that these books are interesting enough to be included in such events can get patrons to want to read them just by association.

This type of advertisement is my third choice for fiction since rather easy for any library to do and can draw attention if done right. I like the bookmarks idea best since it’s something the patron can take with them and use later on. Taking it with them lets them see the titles outside the library and perhaps gives them a chance to do some research without having to try and remember them just in their head. Flyers can be a great way to point out award books or a listing of a specific genre that may need some boosting or isn’t known very well. I used to be in charge of making flyers for the junior’s section in a library and usually included those that had won awards. This way, the patron could have an idea of how good the book was and could check it out either with a librarian or by themselves.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Genre Separation

If I’m saying I’m part of a library I’d like to work at then it would be a university library. The one’s I’ve been to don’t usually have their fiction separated into differing genres but instead just as a separate classification from the main collection. I do know of one that had their kids books in a juvenile section so I that could be considered a separation of genres but the kid's books weren’t separated themselves just as the original fiction section wasn’t. To be honest, I never had a problem in with this setup, I like just browsing the section and looking over everything at once. The library that I’m mainly referencing was also small and didn’t have the room to do a separate section for each genre, but I honestly don’t think they’d ever think of doing this anyway as an academic library.
I would go along with this setup and not separate the fiction into genres as I wouldn’t see it as a good idea with the space issue and with the main focus being on giving books more for academia. Their fiction section was small enough that actually separating it into genres would leave a lot of empty shelf space. Moving away from just academic libraries, I don’t see a necessary bonus with separation in public libraries unless they have a very large collection and this would help from books getting “lost” among the many shelves.

One problem I see with separating the genres anywhere would be making sure you covered them all—present and future. I’ve already mentioned the possibility of a space issue, and that can only be made worse if more genres appear in the future. While this may not seem real now, librarians of the past probably wouldn’t think that such genres such as GBLTQ, African American, or even New Adult would appear on their library’s shelves.  Also, if a library decides to separate the genres they should really separate all so that no one feels left out. As Thomas says in his “A Place on the Shelf”; “for every reader seeking a complex literary novel, there is another who wants a sexy beach read and a third who wants a cozy mystery” (40). There are a lot of genres and you wouldn’t want someone to feel left out.

Separating the genres could also make some readers feel “exposed” as Thomas put it; they may feel that as others can see what they are browsing, they are more open for judgment. This is opposed to the fiction being all together and other readers can’t make a good judgment on what you are looking at unless they know the book-- and are being extra nosy. Thomas does offer a good alternative thought;  create finding guides. Such guides would include an online list or print outs that are options for those looking for specific genres, authors, or other such categories.

Another option for helping readers find what they want is to trust the RA department—I mean they did go to school for this right? An article from Reference & User Services Quarterly on the views of genre separation pointed this out as a valid option. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the advisors have to be prepared to offer genres outside of what the patron is asking. The suggestions don’t have to be far away, but offering at least one option that may not be directly similar can help show the reader what is all available (35). The article also compared a library’s set up to a bookstore’s set up and did conclude that the bookstore had a more accessible layout and, while libraries might not have all the resources to be exact, taking some cues from them can be helpful. Options to showcase different genres would be special displays (a favorite of mine) and also make browsing easier to navigate (37-38). 

I’m not against separating genres, I only feel that doing such isn’t necessarily an answer to a problem. It may just be one of those arguments that differ by location, community, and focus of a library. Such a question should be considered by the library staff with their individual uniqueness in these categories in mind. Whether they choose to separate or not, the decision should be chosen based on making things easier for the library as a whole and not only a small group. To go back to my small academic library, I wouldn't choose to separate the genres as doing so would not help the main focus of the patron demographic and would also hinder the space issue that was already present.

Thomas, Devon. “A Place On the Shelf”. Library Journal. 132.8.2007. 40-3.
Trott, Barry & Vicki Novak. “A House Divided? Two Vies on Genre Separation”. Reference & User Services Quarterly. 46.2. 2005. 33-38.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

NA, YA, and Graphic Novels

I covered graphic novels in this topic for my special topic paper, but how I end my discussion can be applied to NA and YA books. I basically say that getting the word that these books are available is the best way to get them to the readers. Advising to patrons deals with showing that the library supports different kinds of books and they are just as much as an option as any other resource. Reader’s advisory should cover a good area when giving books in the interview and shouldn’t judge the patron for their preference of story—that’s not part of the job.

NA, YA, and even graphic novels can deal with very serious issues and can apply to many different age groups; a book’s genre doesn’t make it more or less valuable. I once worked in a library that would place all the Harry Potter books in the “Junior” section, even though their reading levels were different. Of course, adults and young adults would have to go and check out what was labeled a children’s book, but that didn’t matter. These books covered several issues and could be read by anyone, but with their genre labeled this way some might have judged older readers for picking them out. Just because a book is labeled a certain genre doesn’t mean its story can’t be moving or serious.

The definition of “young adult” can be fuzzy in its own right and can make this topic even more of a stormy sea. What age actually makes a person an adult can be different both culturally and personally, so taking into account each individual account is very important. Really I think the best thing for librarians to do is to advertise all kinds of books to all kinds of readers, and not discriminate. If an 80-year-old wants to read The Fault in our Stars, let them. Maybe it’s their chosen genre or they are just looking for a break in their normal reading choice. The choice is up to the reader and as librarians, we should do our job in advising and not judging.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

New Adult: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Title: Fangirl
Genre: New Adult Fiction
Publication Date: 2013
Number of Pages: 433
Geographical Setting: Nebraska  
Plot Summary: For Cath Avery, being a part of the Simon Snow fandom is her life. Her twin sister, Wren, used to be just as obsessed as Cath, both staying up late in the forums and writing fanfics together. However, now that they are both heading to college Wren doesn’t even want to be roommates, and is pushing Cath right out of her comfort zone. New people, new places, and new experiences—all things Cath hates. On top of that, she has to deal with a brusque roommate and her charismatic boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who’s against fanfiction altogether, and a handsome classmate who’s only into words. Is Cath ready to face life on her own? Will she have to leave Simon Snow behind to do so?

Theme- The more mature characters take readers on their journey of growing up. Those who want to go a little deeper than YA novels will find that in this novel.
Fast-paced- Fangirl takes on some serious issues, but the story has very little lag. Readers will find they’ve reached the end without realizing.
Real life experience- While it is fiction, this story has a very real feel and will capture different kinds of readers. Even if you don’t read fiction much Fangirl doesn’t feel fictitious and may grab your attention.  

Similar Authors and Works:
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando: Leaving home. Elizabeth and Lauren are very different, but when paired as roommates they can only rely on each other.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld: Writing in the theme. Echoing the inclusion of the characters own writing you see in Fangirl, follow Darcy as she moved to New York City to become a writer.

We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt: Family and first love. Written in letter form, Nell Golden tries to keep her sister’s secret and deal with her own coming of age story.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Readers' Advisory Matrix: Yes Please

Author: Amy Poehler
Title: Yes Please

1.      Where is the book on the narrative continuum?
·         Highly narrative
2.      What is the subject of the book?
·         A collection of stories, lists, photographs, mantras and advice by the author.
3.      What type of book is it?
·         Biography/autobiography
4.      Articulate appeal:
·         Full of the comedic skill that fans have come to love and expect of Amy Poehler, Yes Please allows the reader to get to know the comedian on a more personal level. With not just some good one-liners, Poehler also makes her readers pause and think about life subjects.
Yes Please is an easy read and the pages will fly by with Poehler’s pearls of wisdom slipping in between the laughs. The writing style reads more like fiction than an autobiography and flows smoothly. Readers will also enjoy the realness of Poehler’s writing and the truths she doesn’t pass by.
5.      Why would a reader enjoy this book?
·          Writing style
·          Learning/experiencing
·         Humor

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Literary Fiction: Crime and Punishment

Author: Feodor Dostoevsky, translated by Jessie Coulson
Title: Crime and Punishment
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: 1989
Number of Pages: 465
Geographical Setting: St. Petersburg, Russia
Plot Summary:
Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished student, has developed the idea that extraordinary men are above the law—and he is one of these men. In order to prove this theory, Raskolnikov goes to kill a pawnbroker he sees as evil and also ends up killing her sister. However, this act brings Raskolnikov to face his own conscience and also leads him into contact with the deeply religious Sonya, who becomes a prostitute to help her family, and Porfiry, the investigator for the murder. Both of these characters help Raskolnikov see his mistake and face the idea of redemption.

Character centered- As the genre would imply, Dostoevsky focuses on the people of the story much rather than the story itself. The reader looks forward to learning about each story than the plot as a whole.
Writing style- The narrator seems to speak directly to the reader while the main character, Raskolnikov, seem to have an inner dialogue. This dialogic form can get long and confusing when multiple perspectives are brought in, but it works well with the story.
Tone- While mostly dark, there are some areas the reader will find some humor of a soap opera nature. The reader also receives information second-hand from minor characters and can lead to some wild explanations.

Similar Authors and Works:
Les Misrèable by Victor Hugo: Contemplating good and evil. Following the story of Jean Valjean, readers are taken down to the barricades of the Parisian 1832 uprising.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert: Focus on character story. Emma Bovary dreams of romance and excitement, unfortunately, she finds deceit and despair (of her own making).

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolsky: Finding salvation. A worldly careerist must face the unheard of idea of his own mortality.