When I was younger, I was your typical voracious bookworm child. When you’re a bookish youngster, people tend to view it slightly negatively. They want you to get out there and do other activities, such as sports and other outdoors or physical activities. Being a child that read for fun was considered “weird” outside of part of my immediate family. Now, it seems like people would do anything to get their kids to read a “real” book. Reading comic books or websites aren’t seen to be legitimate by most parents, which I’ve stated before is quite ridiculous. There are plenty of parents that put their children on a rigorous education track quite early, and they want the child to be reading the “right” things, which is kind of a throwback to the earliest RA. I don’t believe this is sustainable.
As such, in 20 years or so, I think recreational reading will be a horse of a different color. With the popularity of smart phones and ereaders, there’s never and excuse for not having something to read. I use the smartphone app Pocket to save articles and webpages on my laptop in order to read them on my phone when I’m on-the-go later. I believe many people, myself included, will substitute shorter, remote reading sessions for some of their longer, at-home reading sessions. I’m hoping that ebooks will finally be more easily distributed by libraries in the future – the current model is that there is no one perfect model, even though libraries and publishers are continually working together to find a happy medium and meet the needs of both. Something should give over the next 20 years, and we should be able to easily access large ebook collections with just the use of our library cards and our electronic device of choice. Perhaps this will lead to more stolen reading moments while we’re riding in our self-driving cars to our once-a-month meeting with all of our colleagues, since we’ll all be working remotely, right?
One of my favorite things to do during the summer was participate in summer reading challenges. I was (and am) always motivated to read a whole lot during my free time, and it was a good way for me to record my accomplishments and share them with people who would appreciate them. I always liked the idea of a more guided summer reading challenge – you could make a list of certain criteria to meet, and people could read books and record them and potentially be entered into drawings for prizes or have their name recognized somewhere. You could then create displays focusing on different criteria in the challenge – a book of poetry, or a book published this year, or a book that has become a movie or tv series. This would be good external motivation for people to view these displays and potentially be motivated to pick something outside of their normal wheelhouse. I firmly believe that, when this happens, the best of connections between a reader and a book can be made.
I also, as a library patron, respond well to read-alike and staff pick displays. Taking already popular books, putting them front and center, and displaying them along with books that readers may also like is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You can showcase the popular book (Yes, Me Before You is over on that display, ma’am. There should be one copy left) but also highlight other books that the patron might enjoy for similar reasons as the popular book, but that might not have reached the same level of display. I also enjoy staff pick displays because it gives a little human interest to things. If I notice that “Joe” has been suggesting books that I really enjoy, I might be able to seek him out and ask him what other books he really likes. Making it a little more personal might encourage users to seek librarians out for RA help when they might not otherwise.
I also, in a future library, would love to host book clubs about popular or up-and-coming books. A lot of smaller libraries don’t use this tool, and I think it’s an important one for a variety of reasons. In smaller communities, there inherently aren’t that many things to do in the community. Adding a book club adds one more fun, safe, enriching activity that anybody in the community can participate in. You can use this as an activity to bring patrons in, provide a good time for them, and potentially pair them with other books that they might like if they enjoyed that month’s selection.
First, I believe that it is our duty to highlight and showcase resources that we have, as a library, that may be able to inspire, educate, or otherwise aid any patron. As such, I believe both the GBLTQ fiction and African American Fiction genres should get their own places in the general collection, as opposed to being shelved without distinction. Placing these books in with general fiction would be a disservice to the genre, as they are separate and distinctive enough to warrant attention of their own. Secondly, there are most certainly patrons who would both identify with the themes/characters/plots/etc of these books, but that also don’t know that the genres exist. Rather than relying on “serendipitous discovery,” which is a lovely notion, we could bring these genres into a brighter light and allow these patrons to see them without waiting on “fate” or “happenstance” or what have you. Thirdly, by showcasing these genres and giving them their own separate space, it sends a message to patrons that need these genres; that we are here, that we support them, and that we are willing to recognize them and give them any aid possible. That is our job as librarians. We are here to put the right resources into the hands of the right people, and how can we do that when those people don’t even know that resources exist for them? The separation is not about segregation, it is about knowledge and awareness.
Will Grayson, Will Grayoson
By: John Green and David Levithan
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication Information: April 6, 2010. 322 pages
Synopsis: Have you ever met a person with the same first name as you? How about the same first and last name? This is the story of two Will Graysons who meet on a cold Chicago night, and they begin to find out that they have more in common than just a name. Each struggles with an important relationship in his life – one with his best friend, who is as flamboyantly gay as he is larger than life, and one with the boy he can only love through a computer screen. The chaos of teenage life pushes the two Wills together, culminating in romantic blow-ups and the world’s most flamboyant, ridiculous high school musical. Will the Wills survive? Or will they come out on the other side changed men?
YA characteristics: Themes of friendship, sexuality, and trust issues. Romance, betrayal, and the struggles of growing up.
Read this if you like: Flamboyant characters as well as relateable ones, books that go somewhere you don’t quite expect, and remembering what it’s like to be in high school.
Read-alikes: How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis, Wide Awake by David Levithan, and Paper Towns by John Green.
As an adult who enjoys consuming both YA novels and graphic novels, I believe that these genres should be promoted and purchased in libraries. The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what genre a person reads, because reading ANYTHING is much more beneficial than reading nothing. My younger brother used to be a nonreader, but by exposing him to Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts anthologies, my mother and I were able to spark an interest in him that now has him knee-deep in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
By having Young Adult be its own section, instead of tacking it onto the children’s section, it could remove the taboo of adults reading YA books instead of making adult books the only thing accessible to them. My own library is like this – the YA section is adjacent to, but clearly separate from, the adult section. This allows a natural segue from one to the other, and it allows me to not feel infantilized by pursuing the type of books I like to read.
Creating a graphic novel display would be one of my favorite thing. I think there could be a graphic novel for everyone- small children, science fiction enthusiasts, and people looking for a beautiful narrative. Everyone can be served, so we shouldn’t ignore this genre.
Readers’ Advisory Matrix for Yes Please by Amy Poehler.
- Highly narrative
- Subject – Poehler’s life, specifically certain events that changed her life or the way she views the world.
- Type – a humorous autobiographical work
- Appeal factors
- Pacing – This book unfolds at a leisurely pace, mostly due to the different “stories” in each chapter.
- Characters – while Poehler is obviously the main character and the only one present in every anecdote, characters are important. She speaks about her life and people who have influenced her, so her feelings of importance of each character transfer to the reader.
- The story feels humorous, down-to-earth, and inspiring.
- Intent – To tell her life story thusfar in a way that inspires others, especially young women interested in a male-dominated field.
- Focus – The events and people that helped Poehler attain the success she has acheived thusfar in her career.
- As a work of humor, language is definitely important.
- The settings are only described in detail at some points, when Poehler is trying to set the stage for the entrance of an important person into her life, or at the beginning of a huge event.
- There are many details, including describing relationships with people and the background behind events.
- No charts/graphic material as it is not necessary
- Learning, understanding, and experience are the very core of this book. Poehler aims to share her experiences in order to help benefit others.
- A reader would enjoy this book because of its:
- Learning experiences
Although I don’t have much experience with audiobooks, as they have proven to not be a very successful medium for me, there are quite a few additional appeal factors that one must take into account when doing RA for them. Now that there are several different formats for audiobooks, you must absolutely make sure that the patron either has access to the format you have available, or that you can provide that access for them. Some people don’t have a device to play MP3 files, and some don’t have access to a cassette deck. Though this doesn’t have anything to do with the book, there is definitely merit to finding out what format the patron prefers or must use.
Another important aspect is what they prefer in a narrator. The narrator truly makes or breaks the audiobook. Some people may prefer male voices over female, or vice versa. They also may prefer that the reader changes their voice to denote different characters speaking, while others prefer a more uniform narration. Does the reader want music or sound effects with their reading, or will they find it silly or hokey? These are all important things to ask when broaching the subject of audiobooks.
As a reader of both physical and ebooks, there are many reasons I would choose one over the other. Ebooks are, by and large, much more portable and travel-friendly. I’m currently on my way back from my honeymoon, and on our drive down I was sad that there wasn’t any light to read by. Then I remembered that my backlit Kindle was in my bag, and back to reading I went! However, this isn’t enough to steer me away from physical books. Even with the tools on an ereader that tell you how much, percentage-wise, is left in a book, or how many minutes of reading you have left to finish a chapter, there is something to be said for feeling the pages fall away in your hand as you are engrossed in a book. The smaller pages mean that, sometimes, passages are broken up in an awkward fashion. However, the portability of an ebook might open some doors for bigger, tome-like novels that people don’t like to cart around. An aspect that might have turned off a reader, namely the length of a book, could be negated by reading the book in ebook format. The smaller pages can make the story seem like it is going quicker, which is another advantage. For example, when I was reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I opted to purchase them all on my Kindle instead of lugging each book around. This allowed me to feel less encumbered by the physical book and just enjoy the story.
Digital formats are a fascinating advent, and they deserve to be treated differently, but with just as much respect, as their physical cousins.