Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 16 Prompt

Both of our readings this week talk about the culture of reading and the future of the book. So I have two questions for you as readers, pulling on your own experiences and all of the readings we have done over the semester: First, how have reading and books changed since you were a child, for you specifically? Second, talk a little about what you see in the future for reading, books, or publishing - say 20 years from now. Will we read more or less, will our reading become more interactive? What will happen to traditional publishing? This is a very free-form question, feel free to wildly extrapolate or calmly state facts, as suits your mood!

Books have changed dramatically since my early twenties—as a child there wasn’t much of a change in the format of books. Since my early twenties, the medium of everything has changed, bye-bye CD’s, Hello MP3’s and iPods. Everything has gone digital, I don’t even have cable or satellite, I stream everything over the internet. Ebooks are super popular, the ease of usage means that they are just going to become more popular. Ebooks are already becoming more interactive, especially for children—my niece loved showing me her interactive ebooks.

I think ebooks will just get more interactive, but I don’t know exactly how. My dream, however, is for holonovels—like Star Trek style. I would love to be my favorite character in my favorite book, who wouldn’t want to defeat Voldemort?

Week 15 Prompt

What do you think are the best ways to market your library's fiction collection? Name and describe three ways you do or would like to market your library or your future library's fiction. These can be tools, programs, services, displays - anything that you see as getting the word out.

To market my library’s fiction collection there are three methods I would use:

First, I would use word-of-mouth, because nothing beats word of mouth. If someone told you that a restaurant had horrible food and abysmal service, would you eat there? No. If someone said that Joe Schmo was the best lawn guy they ever had, you’d be likely to call up Joe instead of Bob who you saw on TV.

Second, I would use book displays. Book displays are like direct product advertising. I’d also put these displays lining the way to check out, because marketing research shows that this sort of product placement boosts sales.

Third, I would utilize Twitter or Instagram, both are excellent and free ways to get a message out. Hashtags create an easily searchable format, and are short and sweet. I wouldn’t use blogs are becoming things of the past, and I wouldn’t use Facebook, because I hate it. 

Week 14 Prompt

Consider yourself part of the collection management committee of your local library, or a library at which you would like to work. You must decide whether or not to separate GBLTQ fiction and African American Fiction from the general collection to its own special place. Some patrons have requested this, yet many staff are uncomfortable with the idea - saying it promotes segregation and disrupts serendipitous discovery of an author who might be different from the reader. Do you separate them? Do you separate one and not the other? Why or why not? You must provide at least 3 reasons for or against your decision. Feel free to use outside sources - this is a weighty question that is answered differently in a lot of different libraries.

I would not separate either the GBLTQ or African American Fiction from the general collection. Distinguishing them with a special sticker is okay, but housing them separately isn’t a good idea in my opinion. First, housing them separately creates boundaries—whether real or imagined. People who browse for books might not venture into those areas because they aren’t type of book they normally go for, so you miss a real opportunity for bridging divides and opening minds. My second reason is that creating a separate section can have negative consequences, no one wants to turn on the TV and see that One Million Moms is protesting outside their library because they don’t like the new section. My third reason is that special sections are a pain in the --- for library pages and those shelving, having one more section to sort and shelve is annoying and tedious. Also, once the sticker indicating the section has come off or obscured, that book will never be shelved correctly.

Week 13 Prompt

Though this week's group of "genres" (Young Adult, New Adults and Graphic Novels) all seem very different, they all have in common the fact that many people don't feel that they are legitimate literary choices and libraries shouldn't be spending money on them or promoting them to adults. The common belief is that adults still don't or shouldn't read that stuff. How can we as librarians, work to ensure that we are able to serve adults who enjoy YA literature or graphic novels? Or should we? I can't wait to read your thoughts on this. Thanks!

While “the common belief is that adults still don't or shouldn't read that stuff,” that’s not the policy at our library system. Spending money on buying books hasn’t been an issue, and no one department does the ordering, genres are split among different departments and branches. Now “New Adult” and “Young Adult” and graphic novels might be shelved in Young Adult sections but that doesn’t mean they aren’t for everyone.

As far as advertising, I’ve never seen a reason to advertise books. We have book displays, and new book sections, but I don’t believe advertising is really something libraries should focus on, advocating reading banned books is different than advertising a particular book. Advertising a book and then not having it in stock is super frustrating for staff and patrons. If we want to further serve those who might be offended by having to find the latest trending book in the “teen” or “young adult” sections then finding a new name for the section could solve your problems. 

Week 11 Prompt

Ebooks and audiobooks are a part of our landscape. What does the change in medium mean for appeal factors? 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? How about readers being able to change the font, line spacing, and color of text - how does that affect pacing and tone? How about audiobooks? Track length, narrator choice, is there music?  For this week, I want you to think about how ebooks and audiobooks affect appeal factors - also think about appeals that are unique to both mediums. Please feel free to use your own experience and that of your (anonymous of course) patrons. I look forward to reading these!

To me audiobooks and ebooks are never as appealing as a “real” book. I like the smell, the weight, the easy referencing of real books. I like the fact that when I’m reading a book, you can tell that I’m reading a book, not just playing on my phone.

Because I have an auditory processing disorder, audiobooks require more attention than I can normally give. My mother, however, loves audiobooks—she’s dyslexic, but loves listening to stories. My father also now loves audiobooks, he’s an over-the-road trucker and listens to about 3 books a week. For both of them, audiobooks have a greater appeal than regular books because it’s the format they can both utilize easily, but because audiobooks are so expensive, it’s hard keeping them “in books.”

Ebooks are all the rage, and I’ve mostly succumbed to them. 99% of all the books I buy now are ebooks. For me, it’s the instant gratification and the ease of ebooks—I can buy the newest Rick Riordan book the moment it comes out, I don’t have to drive to the bookstore or library. With ebooks, I can carry dozens of books around at once and I don’t have to worry about running out of something to read. To me, reading an ebook seems to go much faster, but that might be just because with the books on my phone there are more opportunities to read. For those who are older, or struggle with their sight, the ability to make fonts different and larger makes ebooks more appealing than regular books.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 12 Prompt

Hiroshima by John Hersey

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Book Club Observation

I observed the monthly book club at my local library, this month they read The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline. I did not participate; group discussion really isn’t my thing. The group was made up of mostly older people (think 60’s plus).The leader, a librarian, started the meeting and gave a brief summary about the book. There weren’t any provided snacks or beverages, but several people brought their own beverages. When the meeting started, the leader was the one asking the questions. The questions were all discussion questions to facilitate group discussion. Eventually the discussion took hold, and the group began to lead the discussion themselves. There were one or two who tended to monopolize the conversation, but that’s not unusual for older people who live alone. All of the attendees participated, and it was a friendly and open atmosphere.
The library system has a whole collection of book club kits: 10 copies of the book, and a list of discussion questions—the Central group doesn’t use the book club kits. The group typically reads narrative non-fiction, 90% history based, and all are Americana. The librarian creates a list of questions to begin the discussion, and incase conversation lags. The librarian also typically chooses the book, but he brings several selections for the group to decide on—he always makes sure that the book chosen has numerous copies throughout the system so that members have no problem accessing the book. The selection for next month is American Childhood by Annie Dillard.
Summary of The Orphan Train:
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude? As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship. (Amazon).