Sunday, April 30, 2017

The future of books

What has changed in the world of reading and what does the future hold?

Some major changes I have seen in the way we read books

1) E-readers and audiobooks have come into focus, opening doors for people with disabilities to enjoy more books. The popularity of e-books could drive paper book prices up if it hasn't already. This article from NPR discusses how with e-books, publishers can use a temporary price drop to create the experience of discovery, which use to be a phenomenon unique to brick and mortar bookstores.

2) We shop online for everything, books included. I think brick and mortar bookstore will really suffer, especially large chains. Our Barnes and Noble is already stuffing itself full of toys and curiosities to get people in the door. It never seems to be without a crowd, but I do wonder what will happen in the next five or so years. I don't see a lot of small bookstores anymore, but Half-Price Books seems to be still kicking, and bookstores that offer a unique experience, such as Kids Ink are still able to keep their doors open.

3) Crazy futuristic stuff will happen. Things we are doing with technology right now seemed impossible 20 years ago. 20 years from now, whoa... we will probably be reading from software directly implanted into our brains or something. Maybe a projection directly on our wrists? I feel like I've seen something along those lines already. Ah yes, here it is.

Other than that, I have no idea. I feel like the draw for human beings to the written/typed/spoken word, to telling and hearing stories, to sharing information is so universal and timeless that any changes that come along will not effect the deep down integrity of our human connection to reading.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Marketing the Library's fiction collection

Here are some of my ideas for marketing fiction to library fiction (with help from the Saricks Reader's Advisory text)

Book Discussion Groups: Facilitated book discussions for adults, teens, tweens, and older elementary kids are great to engage patrons with the fiction collection. Virtual book clubs and virtual book discussions can help those with disabilities or difficult schedules to participate.

Targeted shelving: Every two weeks to a month, change targeted shelving locations to feature titles specific to a certain interest such as gardening books for spring and summer, holiday books, librarians' favorite picks, etc.

Use the Internet: Social media posts, blogging, and youtube videos featuring book talks and book reviews can generate interest in the fiction collection!

Booklists: Lists featuring titles and annotations such as those we’ve been writing for Reader’s Advisory class, as well as best seller lists can be helpful to readers looking for something to read. Top ten lists are very popular and effective. Author and celebrity inspired lists such as "What is Emma Watson reading" can be fun and engaging.

Promotion of the Reader’s advisory services: Signs, good spatial arrangement, and engaged librarians can help readers to know that the Reader’s Advisor is eager to help them find their next page turner! 


Talks and book signings from authors can also generate traffic in the library and excite readers. Local fiction authors may be eager to promote their books and patrons might be equally enthusiastic to read them!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

African-American Fiction Annotation and Week 14 prompt

In answering the question as to whether or not "specialty" literature such as LGBTQIA or African-American should be placed in specifically labeled locations within the greater collection, I wanted to be sure to examine my privilege as a heterosexual white American woman. 

My first instinct was to say, no these titles should not be separated from the entirety of a library's collection. I know, however, that through the lens of privilege it is easy to say we are, for example "color-blind" or to use another example, "we do not see disability". It is easy to find essay upon essay describing why these viewpoints are problematic. So, by not wanting to pull these titles out of the whole into subgenres, am I in essence saying those same things?

On one hand, it seems that it makes more literary sense to put African-American literature with the genre of the stories involved (romance, science fiction, etc) and perhaps the same for LGBTQIA. Is that the best way to serve our patrons though? I'm not sure.

In arguing for inclusion in schools for the disabled, the point is often made that the non-disabled students have much to gain from exposure to their disabled peers. The relationship is mutually beneficial. Can including African-American, LGBTQIA, and titles from other marginalized groups nonchalantly within the whole collection do the same? Is it ok to have the ideal of increasing empathy in readers by exposing them to historically oppressed communities via their fiction choices, or is that too didactic? My personal preference would be to include "specialty" fiction within the whole collection except for featured times such as Black History Month or Gay Pride week.

I also see the point, however, that if an African-American reader, for instance, wants to easily find titles that represent his or her life experience as a Black American, those titles should be able to be easily and quickly accessed. Having them separate makes titles that much easier to find.

I haven't yet been employed as a librarian, so I'm eager to hear the thoughts of you who have!








Kindred
by Octavia Butler
originally published in 1979
Paperback: 264 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0807083690
ISBN-13: 978-0807083697

Synopsis
Dana, an African-American woman living in 1976 Los Angeles, finds herself mysteriously transported to the antebellum South. She and her husband must learn to navigate the strange world of the past and determine how it will shape their lives and future.


Characteristics consistent with African-American fiction (with help from the New World Encyclopedia) 
  1. African-American author
  2. Protagonist is African-American and the plot largely revolves around the African-American experience
  3. Themes often include racism, religion, freedom, what it means to be Black and what it means to be American.
  4. Consistent with a rich tradition of slave narratives
  5. Seems to exist both within the larger context of American culture and also outside of it
  6. Can extend to many sub-genres such as African-American Fantasy, African-American Science Fiction, African-American Romance, African-American Horror, African-American poetry, etc.

Suggested Read-a-likes
incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
Beloved  by Toni Morrison 
Dessa Rose by Sherley Anne Williams
Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora by various authors

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson


Sunday, April 9, 2017

New Adult

I don't get the judgment that seems to come from some people regarding what other people read.

MAJOR CONFESSION AHEAD...

I LOVED TWILIGHT. I loved it. I loved all four books. Then, after I read the books I enjoyed watching the movies too! AND I AM NOT EMBARRASSED. You know what I've never read? Fifty Shades of Grey. That was a HUGE seller. People have polarizing opinions on that book, either finding it tantalizing or repellent. I have no interest but I certainly don't judge those who do.

I like literature, I like some erotic romance, I tolerate graphic novels. I like non-fiction. I like to read in general! I love to get lost in a story. Sometimes it is a story that aligns somewhat with my current or past life experience and sometimes it is completely different. Ranganathan's second and third law make it clear that librarians are to help every reader find his or her book and every book find its reader. To me, that means no judging. It's so unnecessary to assert intellectual superiority over someone who enjoys material which you determine to be inferior.

As far as New Adult, it is HOT right now. A lot of the authors start out self-publishing and their fans are DEVOURING their stories. This is a young market that the library should absolutely serve. We should promote and stock materials they love. What is our excuse if we don't? A lot of college students might enjoy New Adult literature in their downtime when they are not reading their academic material. Let's allow those readers to enjoy their books and make sure they feel ok about it.

Does enjoying a bag of skittles now and again mean you can't enjoy a gourmet meal? No!

Monday, April 3, 2017

New Adult Annotation

It Ends with Us
by Colleen Hoover



Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (August 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1476753180
ISBN-13: 978-1476753188

Synopsis
Lily Bloom is a transplant to Boston on her search for the perfect rooftop for reflection when she meets Ryle Kincaid. Where will their intense mutual attraction lead? Will Lily’s painful past infiltrate her future?


Characteristics consistent with the New Adult genre 
  1. Themes include life experiences relevant to those starting their adult lives; romance, first jobs, etc.
  2. Story contains some heavy or dark elements, plot is dramatic
  3. Sexuality is portrayed unapologetically 
  4. Often self-published books gain a following which leads the author to a conventional book deal
  5. Character driven stories, often introspective, characters experience interior growth 
  6. Focus age 18-26
  7. Can extend to many sub-genres such as New Adult Fantasy, New Adult Science Fiction, New Adult Romance, New Adult Horror, etc.

Suggested Read-a-likes
Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton
Punk 57  by Penelope Douglas 
Just one of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
Twist (Dive Bar #2)  by Kylie Scott
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (YA)


Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Reader’s Advisory Matrix for
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

  1. Where is the book on the narrative continuum? Highly Narrative (reads like fiction)

  1. What is the subject of the book? It is the story of how Chip and Joanna Gaines worked to build a thriving marriage, family, and business.

  1. What type of book is it? a memoir

  1. Articulate appeal
What is the pacing of the book? 
Reads like a leisurely Southern stroll, but a quick and easy read, lends itself to be put 
down and picked back up again with no trouble. 

  Describe the characters of the book? The book focuses almost exclusively on Chip and 
Joanna Gaines, a married couple and business partnership featured on HGTV.

How does the story feel? Cozy, inspiring, Upbeat.

What is the intent of the author(s)? To share their experience and share their Christian 
faith. 

What is the focus of the story? How Chip and Joanna Gaines built a successful business 
empire and maintain a loving marriage and family life and a meaningful faith experience.

Does the language matter? Yes in that it is true to the down-home voices of the authors.

Is the setting important and well-described? Some things are described more than 
others such as the locations of the businesses and the homes the Gaines couple flipped.

Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials? Are they useful? None

Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience? Chip and 
Joanna both describe moments of personal and professional clarity. 

5. Why would a reader enjoy this book (rank appeal)? 
1. Continuity with HGTV show (experience)
2. Tone
3. Ease of Reading





Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ebooks and Audiobooks

While I do love the aesthetic of the traditional physical book, I am a passionate devotee of ebooks forever.

I was so excited to get my first e-reader very soon after they were widely available for purchase. This was before I had a smart phone, and I purchased a Nook from Barnes and Noble. I had not been reading as much as I like to, and there were several factors as to why that was the case. As a busy mom, the time I had to read was often at night in bed and I have always hated the bulk and clumsiness of book lights. A backlit e-reader solved that problem for me.

The local library may have our family on a blacklist because of the sheer number of books we have had to pay for due to damages and loss. Not only am I scattered at times, but I've got a dog and a gaggle of kiddos. My best efforts couldn't protect those fragile hunks of paper. My ebooks can't get destroyed and the library automatically retrieves my borrowed titles when they are due! Win-win!

Another issue for me is that I have a visual impairment. Sometimes it is hard to find the title I want  in large print or I may have to wait a long time. With an ebook, I can adjust the font so that I can see what I am reading without needing a "special" text. I can even adjust the contrast when that is helpful. I also can't drive so checking out and returning books via overdrive is way more convenient for me and allows me to move through titles much more quickly.

Another advantage of the ebook is privacy. One of the class readings this week discussed how romance readers love ebooks. Sometimes readers of romance or erotica might like to read their juicy titles without everyone around knowing what they are reading. It's not out of embarrassment necessarily, and there are many reasons a person might want privacy regarding what they are reading. I know for me, I might not have had the courage to explore steamier titles if it weren't for the privacy afforded by ebooks. I like that my choices, regardless of genre, are just between me and the librarians. Political or religious titles that might be controversial may also be appealing in a discreet format such as ebook.

I do not personally have experience with audiobooks. I usually am surrounded by little ears who may not need to hear what I would be listening to or they may just be distracting. I find it very hard to listen to podcasts or someone speaking for long periods of time without zoning out so there isn't a ton of appeal for me. I do think I will check out Amy Poehler's book on audio though. I can see myself enjoying that.  I have a friend who has a long commute and loves audiobooks for that reason. My grandmother is blind and audiobooks are the only accessible form of reading for her, so she is also a voracious consumer of that format. As librarians it is so important for us to help our patrons find the format that is preferable and most accessible to them!

I would love to hear your opinions and experiences regarding ebooks and audiobooks!