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.