Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 16 Prompt

What an absolute interesting discussion to end the semester on, not to mention to finished my last semester in the MLIS program. These two questions have been things that have come up more and more as my graduate experience has progressed, as well as discourse with patrons who have asked me similar framed questions. 

1. How have reading and books changed since you were a child, for you specifically?

Growing up in a small town, in Northwest Ohio, reading was something that I as a kid used as an escape. When you live in a place when there isn't really much to do, you have to find entertainment somehow and because of that, the library became my second home. Technology wasn't a huge part of libraries, wifi didn't exist, and books were one of the only reasons you went to the library. Everything with books were in hardcopy, there was no discussion of downloadable media. Many of the audiobooks at my library were books on tape, not even CD. Now as the years have progressed, downloadable materials have made a dent into the printing industry, however books are still very prominent. Libraries have also become a place where books aren't the sole focus anymore and because of this reading and books themselves in the sense of libraries has changed. 

2. Talk about what you see in the future for reading, books, or publishing- say 20 years from now.

In the future, I see books surviving. Everyone talked about how downloadable books would overtake normal hardcopy books, however printed materials have stood the test of time and will continue to do so. I see a lot more of self-publishing starting to happen and independent authors might become a larger part of libraries. I can see these books finding their way amongst the larger fiction collection, or being separated out to showcase independent self-published books. I think reading will continue to be  a habit engrained in people's minds. I believe reading will still be something that is used as an escape from the "real" world and will entail mostly reading for pleasure. I can also see reading becoming a more interactive experience where there may be online formats in which there are animated stories that pair with the actual readings of the book.   

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week 15 Prompt

Library's are most notably seen as a place where books can be found, however with the change in thinking associated with what the roles of what libraries are, so too do our ideas of highlighting collections. When thinking about the best ways to market the library's fiction collection, there are a few different things that can be done. Below are three different methods that can be used to market the library's fiction:

  1. Monthly e-mail blast.  The OPAC that we use has an algorithm to suggest books for patrons based on various categories and likes that they originally provide. This email blast goes out to patrons who want to sign up for them and will contain five titles for each category that the patrons have signified that the enjoy. Most of these books are books that the library has acquired within the last 2-3 years making them up to date and titles that they might want to read. This option is something that is quick and takes minimal effort on the part of library staff. 

      2.  Bookmarks. The creation of bookmarks that highlight various genres, categories, and              
           popular titles is something that patrons will be able to take with them when they leave the         
           library and will be able to keep for awhile. We normally have these hanging out next to the        
           main desk which ensures that they are visible and readily available for the patrons. Most of      
           the time each bookmark includes 10-20 titles of books that the libraries have so into ensure
           that everyone has a chance to get to pick up a title in a timely manner. 

      3.  Displays. Displays can be a fun and creative approach to showcases what books the            
           libraries have. These are probably my favorite things to do, I get to release my creative             
           energy in making them, but also get to think about what books would good well with each        
           display. Often times the display matches some sort of theme that is timely with the months,        
           seasons, or holidays. This gives library staff the chance to show all aspects of the fiction              
           collection to ensure that the books are given a chance to be read. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 14 Prompt

I'm very glad that this week this was the discussion question. When I worked in Indiana at the Carmel Clay Public Library, there was never any discussion of having separate sections for various "categories" of books. However, now that I am in Dallas and in a system where there are 28 different branches, the discussion of pulling items out to create their own section had been in the works and has been done at one specific branch. This branch is in a predominately African-American neighborhood of Dallas. Because of this there was a community "need" for books that had African-American characters and patrons also wanted to be able to identify these books easily, therefore the library classified them as "African-American literature" and separated them out. This has been something that has had positive feedback from the public who use this branch and request materials online. In my experience, I believe that LGBT and African-American fiction can be separated out, but I believe that there should be a need/reason behind doing so and ways to do so. Below I will lay out my reasons why:

1.  Community Needs.

I think it can be an appropriate thing to pull books in their respective categories to meet the want and need of patrons. If the library is a branch or main library that is in an area of the city or neighborhood which has a population that are looking for books within a certain subject area constantly, it might be worth looking into pulling these materials to make the access easier. As mentioned above one of the branches at the Dallas Public Library is an a mainly African-American populated area and they are extremely proud of their heritage. Because of this, they requested to have books pulled out to be a part of an African-American section so that they would have an easier time identifying titles that fit within their wants/needs. In cases such as these, catering to and listening to the community is very important and library usage at this location has only improved. 

2. Displays

If a library is thinking about creating some sort of separate space for collections such as LGBT or African-American Lit, starting out with a display may be a good indicator of whether or not a full shift in cataloging and placement is necessary. If there is a potential need for these specific subject areas, then the display that is created should have material move constantly. If and when you start to see materials fly off the shelf, then it may be time to create a more permanent home for these specific categories. If I were to take park in creating this display, I would most likely create some way of keeping track of the number of items moved so that prior to creating a section I could make a case to the board/library director with statistics to support the need for this specific area. 

3. Bookstore System of Classification

The BISAC system of classification has been something that has been gaining recognition as something valid for libraries to use. The BISAC system is pretty much having books separated based off of subject categories. Most bookstores are set up this way and many libraries are considering dropping the Dewey Decimal System and moving to this situation of organization. The whole idea is to become patron centered and reclassifying/thinking of the library in a way in focuses on the patrons and how they would better access materials. In a way pulling the LGBT collection and the African-American collection is just doing a mixed approach of the dewily decimal and BISAC. For this reason, we can see that there is a way that to incorporate more subject sections while also keeping the standard way that has existed in libraries forever. 

With all this said, as mentioned above, I don't think separating out LGBT and African-American lit is a bad thing. I believe each situation at each library is a different case and should be treated that way. It's necessary to ask the community what they want and adapt that with what we as libraries function and aspire to be. In the future I can see this BISAC system taking over libraries completely and changing how libraries classify and work with patron needs to transform. 

LGBT Annotation

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Young Adult Annotation

Week 13 Prompt

This topic is something near and dear to my heart. I have a confession...I am a grown adult man and I still love to read YA fiction! Phew, I'm so glad to get that off of my chest.

Growing up in a small town reading books that were considered "young adult" or "graphic novels" didn't really exist. Every bit of the young adult and graphic novels were located within the adult section. Granted, this was about 10 years ago. Nowadays there are specific sections for both in many libraries. Before moving to Dallas, I worked at the Carmel Clay Public Library in the Young Adult Services Department. During the day there obviously wasn't much teen traffic as they were at school, so much of my interactions before 3:15pm were with adults. Believe me, adults LOVE young adult books. The question wasn't about whether or not adults like young adult/graphic novels, but how can we as librarians work to make sure they feel welcome in the section and that they have as much ownership to these books as teen patrons. I believe working in teen services has helped me gain some knowledge with these ideas.

One of the very first things that I did to try and entice adult readers and support their claims that YA books were legitimate choices were to partner with the Adult Services department. Each month there is a staff spotlight that showcases some of our favorite books to read. Rather than sticking to solely "adult" titles, I added some young adult books into the mix. There were bookmarks that went along with the displays so adults were able to see that the books were located in the Young Adult section and by giving them a chance to pick up the book from there, they in theory would have a chance to browse the full collection. This may seem simple, but I noticed a few adults with my bookmark starting to peruse the collection. 

Another way that I have tried to make to highlight the teen and graphic novel collection to adults so that they feel like they are able to read the collection is to create displays in the teen section as well as make sure patrons are signed up for the monthly "suggested reads" newsletter that sends out books based on their likes to the patrons. These "suggested reads" include young adult books and graphic novels. I like to also point out to patrons that we have a vast  downloadable collection that they are able to check out from the comfort of their home, including ebooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels (through hoopla).

For me, it is an absolute necessity for us as librarians to ensure that adult readers who enjoy graphic novels and fiction feel as though they can pick up any of the books. Every reader is different and because of that, it is our jobs to make sure that even adults feel welcome to read books that may be deemed "too young/immature" for them. The Young Adult section has evolved over the years and many of the books involve hard hitting situations that are often times more complex that many would think. Just because the section in the library has a title of "Young Adult" or "Graphic Novel" that doesn't mean that those books are limited to that population of readers. The library is an open space for all and because of that librarians need to make sure everyone feels welcome to read whatever they want when they want.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Prompt 12

Reader's Advisory Matrix

Title: Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America
Edited by: Astra Taylor, Keith Gessen, editors from n+1, Dissent, Triple Canopy, The New Inquiry
Published Date: 2011

Where is the book on the narrative continuum?
I would definitely have to say that this book is mix of narrative and factual based areas. The writing is mostly told through people's stories about what is going on which is very narrative, but interspersed throughout are other chapters filled with actual data about the Occupy Movement.

What is the subject of the book?
The Occupy Movement. This book documents different memories and moments written by people who were apart of the Occupy movement that swept the nation. This movement was created to combat the social inequalities that are going on in America and the lack of true "democracy" that takes part.

What type of book is it?
It is an anthology of first person accounts of the Occupy Movement as well as reflections done by some of the world's leading "radical" thinkers.

What is the pacing of the book?
The pacing is fairly quick. The writing style from the various authors is personable and make you feel like you are there in the movement itself. 

Describe the characters of the book.
The characters in this book are those who took part in the Occupy Movement. The writing is done by those who had a stake or were present in the moment of the protests. The accounts include perspectives by participants who were interviewed at the time of the protests as well. Side characters within the book include: the government, Wall Street, "big" banks, CEOs, etc.

How does the story feel?
The story brings many feelings forward to the readers, based on how readers feel about the Occupy Movement. The book in itself seems to be sad and angry in the sense that social inequalities in this country have continued to grow without much done to stop it. With all that said, it has a hopeful outlook on what could be. 

What is the intent of the author?
The "authors" a.k.a editors of this anthology are trying to bring forth the stories and the events of the Occupy Movement and bring a voice to those that may never have been heard before. 

Does the language matter?
Yes! The language in this book matters because it gives the readers a feeling for how angry and upset these political activists are.

Is the setting important and well described?
The setting in this book while ever-changing, is very important. The setting gives an understanding to exactly where the Occupy Movement took place and reasons why the activists and protestors are so upset about the social inequalities that are going on. The setting is well-described in the sense that they go into details about their specific area they are protesting. 

Are there details, if so , what?
There are quite a bit of details throughout the book. The details are different based on each new chapter and they cover anything from who is in attendance at the rallies, what was said at the rallies, how the police reacted to their "occupation", as well as various statistics about how the social inequalities happened.  

Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials? Are they useful and clear?
Throughout the book there are various charts and graphs, as well as pictures to support everything that is going on in the book. They are all changed to be red and black which fits in with the overall feel and look of the book. All of them fulfill a specific purpose and are very useful to the readers. 

Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience?
This whole book is built around those three characteristics. The reader is learning about the Occupy movement, the story-teller's experiences, social inequalities and more. They reader is also given the opportunity to have more understanding about why the Occupy movement came about. Finally, the book is centered on author experiences and through these stories the readers are able to learn from those experiences. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 11 Prompt

Hi everyone,

I apologize if some of the font in my Week 11 prompt was too dark to read. Blogger is not saving the changes I have made to the post. The portions that are darker are the prompt questions Professor Cataldi asked us. 

Sorry for the inconvience!!

Week 11 Prompt

With the evolution of libraries and services we provide, ebooks and audiobooks have definitely become a staple in library collections everywhere.

What does the change in medium mean for appeal factors?
With the change from physical copies and the move for digital experiences so too have the possible appeal factors in reader's advisory. One of the main things that I found, when working with teens and this discussion expanded into adults, was that when it came to ebooks, convincing themselves to read longer books was much easier. Often times the width of a book would be something that intimidated them as readers, however because a device that reads ebooks are thin, they felt more confident in starting a larger book. I think another thing to consider when thinking about appeal factors is that the e-reader gives options that the reader may never have been able to deal with. I personally have a Kindle Paperwhite and this device, while not super technologically impressive, it gives light on the screen that can be adjusted so that while my wife is sleeping I can continue to read without bothering her. Often times the devices in which you listen to audiobooks or read ebooks have long battery life and because of that they can be taken on trips without taking up room like hard copy of books might. My previous library had nooks with preloaded titles on it for patrons to check out. I was told on numerous occasions that patrons would check these out before they went on vacations because of the convenience associated with them. The Nooks were preloaded with materials that crossed a wide variety of genres and interests to ensure that there would be something for every reader. 

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?

When it comes to the "physical"ness of a book, I'm not entirely sure that it affects my knowledge of the overall genre. However, with that said, I believe that the electronic devices and reading associated with books can either enhance your experience or detract. Fore instance, when looking at the romance genre, which is predominately an ebook reading powerhouse, I don't believe that the fact that it is a electronic copy makes much difference. These books are often times quick in pace to fit with the "action" that is going on with them and with just one push of a button the page turns, keeping the general pace of the book flowing. As mentioned earlier, when it comes to the fantasy genre, I can see electronic devices being a blessing for those patrons who are intimidated by the sheer size of the books, but contrary to that the reader may lose the sense of maps and extras that the physical copies of the books give out. Without easy access to these extras the magic of the genre can be lost and with that the sheer knowledge of what that specific genre could be. 

How about readers being able to change the font, line spacing, and color of text- how does that effect pacing and tone?

Changing the font, line spacing, and color of text can definitely be something that both enhances and detracts from the possible intent of the author. One subject area that comes to mind where making changes may effect the overall pacing and tone is Poetry. Often times the poet/author may want the poem to be laid out a specific way which gives proper rhythm and pacing to the content, if the reader changes that, the pacing could be thrown off. When it comes to books about horror that have a darker tone, changing the background color to black might aide in the feeling of darkness that the book is trying to achieve. 

How about audiobooks? Track length, narrator choice, is there music?

Audiobooks are something that I personally never tackle because I find them extremely boring and when I read, I like to read at my pace. One thing I have noticed though is that many people are turning to downloadable audiobooks because more and more finding a CD player in cars and elsewhere is becoming increasingly difficult. When patrons have issues where they don't like to read, or have a long commute (as is the case in Dallas, the commute part at least) audiobooks are a great suggestion for them. Sometimes the sheer amount of hours associated with the audiobooks intimidates listeners, but when I explain that most "tracks" are only 3-10 minutes long, they feel like they might be able to tackle listening to it. I've also found that audiobooks with a full production team including multiple narrator's and music tend to sit better with patrons as these are in reality a "movie" without pictures. Audiobooks can play into the different genres with the "cast" of narrators they choose to include. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Club Experience

Book Club Experience:

I attended a book club at the Frisco Public Library in Frisco, TX. This book club was a YA book club for people ages 16 and up. I was intrigued by this idea of seeing whether the attendees were mostly teens or adults. The book they had read for the month was Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella. I had previously started this book, but did not finish because a new YA series had come out and I just never picked the book back up, so for that reason I decided to just observe the overall discussion and functionality of the book club.

Who is asking the questions, is there a leader or do people take turns?
I previously had an idea of what a book club was and it looked much like this: a library staff member sitting up front with other people in a semi-circle around them with the librarian leading and facilitating all of the questions. Much to my surprise this book club was not like that at all. There were only 4 people in attendance (including me), however the library staff member, Jen, later told me that they normally have a small group of about 5 people outside of her attend. All of those in attendance were equally "in charge" in that they brought their own questions and posed them to the group.

If there is a leader, does the leader answer the questions as well or let the attendees respond first?
Like previously mentioned the "leader" was honestly acting as a member of the group. Questions posed were very casual and it made for more of a discussion rather than question and answer type format. However, when the questions/discussions started to die down, Jen did take over to continue onwards.

What type of questions are asked? Any involving just yes or no answers?
Much of the questions asked were about the plot as well as character development, with just a few about the setting. When I say these questions were asked, they were really just brought up and posed in response to discussions that were brought up. None of the questions that were asked were solely yes or no questions, Jen, and the other members of the group did a good job of phrasing them so there always needed to be some sort of explanation beyond yes/no.

Do all attendees actively participate?
In this group every single person participated and most of them equally. I could definitely tell that they were all very comfortable with each other and had been attending the group for awhile. All of the attendees seemed to realize that everyone had something to say and allowed each person to ask a question and/or comment on what was going on. 

Do any attendees swoop in and steal all the spotlight?

Many of the attendees were pretty well balanced with their responses and how much time they took to talk, however there was one person who did steal the spotlight on certain topics. I don't believe that she really meant to steal the spotlight, the discussion just moved to talking about a specific character that they really identified with and it was more out of excitement than making sure their opinion was heard over everyone else. 

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

The book club meets in a smaller meeting room that seemed to be set up ideal for book clubs. A majority of the book clubs offered at the Frisco Public Library take place in this specific room on the fifth floor. The lighting wasn't full of florescence, but there were lamps set up to make the mood softer. The seats were soft chairs and allowed for everyone to feel comfortable while they discussed the book. There was also a window that looked outside and provided some natural light as well.  

Are snacks or drinks provided?

There were drinks and snack provided, but it wasn't necessarily provided by the library itself. The participants of the book club sign up and each month they bring in something. I think this is a great way to establish that attendees will come back each month because they will have signed up for snacks. 

What types of books does this book club normally discuss?

As stated above, this book club is a Young Adult book club for both teens and adults to attend. Each month is a different teen book that covers various topics. The book choices cross genres and nonfiction/fiction boundaries as well. The attendees helped Jen come up with the list for the year which again shows their investment in the success of the book club.


Overall, coming to a the book club was a such a great experience. After moving from Indiana to Texas, I honestly missed the feeling of talking about books with other people as this was something I did with the teens during our Teen Library Council meetings. Everyone was very welcoming in the club and were genuinely excited to discuss the books and go further in depth with their understanding of the book. I asked Jen how long it took to get a basic crowd, and she explained that this book club has been well attended since the beginning. They don't keep their book clubs for the sake of having them; they cater to their patrons and adjust what type of book clubs they offer based on what patrons would attend. I thought the atmosphere really contributed to the overall experience of the meeting.They also extended the experience outside of the one meeting to GoodReads so that members could keep up with the club and have longer discussions. I believe after this shadowing, learning the needs of the patrons in order to create a better book club experience for the participants.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Special Topics Paper

Reader’s advisory has been a force to be reckoned with in libraries for many decades. One of the main jobs of public librarians was to help reader’s find books that they would love and fit within their idea of what a good book was. Patrons would come up to the reference desk and ask questions and the librarian would be there with a wealth of knowledge and resources available to answer their question(s). Today as the role of public libraries expands and the role of the librarian itself changes, so too does reader’s advisory. Often times patrons are not comfortable coming to the desk to ask for help and feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of books that are made available to them. For that reason, the role of a librarian in reader’s advisory is changing from that of a person who sits behind a desk, to a person who must actively engage in all aspects of helping patrons find books they may love, through displays, programming, and through online programs that they make available to their patrons. My paper highlighted and showcased these three techniques and showed how reader’s advisory does not always have to be an “active” engagement with patrons.

In my paper, I discussed displays, programming, and online programs/social media as ways to engage in passive reader's advisory. When it came to displays I talked about mostly about adding 3D elements as well as staying up to date with current pop culture phenomena to enhance the displays. Then I moved on to talk about how programs like a book in a bottle, and bookmarks placed strategically at programs to provide reader's advisory without having conversations. I also finally talked about the role of social media and its extended reach to patrons about staff picks and the various book displays that are shown throughout the library.

Reader’s advisory is something that is constantly changing with the times and with the role of libraries within communities. Reader’s advisory has manifested itself to be something outside of a big wooden desk and into the world of being creative whether that be displays, programs, art, or photography the future of reader’s advisory is access. This access means to suggest that reader’s advisory is expanding past a building and into the homes of millions of citizens making the job that librarians do both physically and virtually present. Because of this, librarians are expanding their grasp on reader’s advisory to not be so rigid, but more relaxed and proactive at the same time.