Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week Eleven Prompt

E-books and audio books have appeal factors that are unique to the medium and also alter traditional print appeal factors as the text goes from written on paper to e-book or audio book format. Many librarians, such as myself, may not notice or think about these appeal factors if they are not regular audio book or e-book readers. As someone who identifies as both a visual learner and a technology distracted learner, when I want to read it is always in print format. My mind wanders too frequently while listening to something and my life is so absorbed with 'screens' that e-books never appealed to me. However, despite my preference away from these formats, I need to be aware of the unique appeal factors they carry so that I can provide accurate reader's advisory for these popular formats!

 The ability to change font size and color in e-books immediately makes me think about the ways in which this could be used as adaptive technology for patrons with disabilities who may struggle with traditional print book size or color text. Anyone who has worked with fonts before can also attest to the mood and feeling of the text, ability to play around with font and text size can speed up or slow down pace or turn a serious text more lighthearted and vice versa. As Mediatore notes, if the narration of an audiobook does not match the text's mood or style, the reader could end up disliking a book they may actually enjoy. The narration is an important appeal factor to be considered in audiobooks. Factors specific to audio books such as accent, pauses, music, changing voices for characters are all appeal factors that a reader may have an opinion about.

Another important factor to consider when providing RA for patrons looking for e-books and audio books is format. Does the patron use cassette tapes, CDs, MP3 files, a kindle, or another format? I know from experience the sadness that comes along with being sold on a title only to find out it in not available in the format you use! As newer technology keeps coming out, this factor will likely be important to clarifying for quite some time.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Western Annotation

Ranger's Trail

By: Elmer Kelton

Series: Number 4 in Elmer Kelton's Texas Ranger series

Ranger Rusty Shannon returns from the Civil War to his home in Southern Texas shaken, but ready to begin a new life with his love, Josie. Josie's younger sister has recently gotten into a bit of trouble with an outlaw clan and when she escapes back to freedom, the outlaws, coming for revenge, murder Josie by mistake. Heavy with grief and anger, Rusty is out for his own revenge. With his two friends on his side, and a notion of justice, Rusty sets out travelling across Texas ripping up the land in search of the person who killed Josie. There are mistakes, bloody battles, and long rides across the journey, but finally Rusty comes face-to-face with the person he believes murdered his beloved Josie. In this tense final moment, Rusty gets new information about the murder he did not bargain for, will this final twist be enough to weaken Rusty's need for vengeance or will this final showdown end in blood and gun smoke?  

Western Characteristics:

Setting: Set in Texas in 1874, the setting is given a lot of detail and character.

Plot: The plot is heavy in both good versus evil themes and vengeance/justice themes. Kelton does a nice job blurring the lines ever so slightly between good and evil and showing the ways in which the main character's desire for vengeance leads him astray, but true western lovers will not be disappointed in the overall good versus evil and vengeance themes present.

Pace: Fast-paced and action packed


The Taken by Mike Keary

Cry of the Hawk by Terry Johnston

True Grit by Charles Portis

The Last Mountain Man by William Johnstone

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Book Club Observation

I would say I suffer from a case of "book club envy". I have been in many failed attempts at book clubs and have also had a failed attempt at starting my own book club. The problem was always coordinating schedules and finding people who are dedicated to actually read the book and come to the meeting. I have never been in a successful book club and after my last failed attempt at starting one a couple summer ago, I have not tried to be involved in one since. For my observation, I decided to go to the "Forever Young Adult Book Club". This book club is not conducted through the library, although many children's and young adult librarians are often in attendance. This book club was interesting because Forever Young Adult Book Clubs are conducted across the country. These book clubs use the website to know what to read next and this website can also help someone find a FYA book club near them. The tagline the Bloomington FYA book club told me to describe their group was "a book club for people who are a little less y and a little more a". Although the focus is young adult literature, every person in attendance was a younger woman (20s and 30s).

The month I attended the book club had read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. This book was actually not a book recommended by the website, but the group had decided last week to read this book instead of the book the website suggested because many members did not want to read the other book. The group met at a local brewery for this discussion, though they admit the location changes from various places around town including restaurants, breweries, or coffee shops. There were 7 people in attendance. I had not read the book but was there only for observation. There was no set leader to the group, although one teen librarian who may have been the one to form the group spoke up often when discussion began to lag or asked a new question if people had run out of ideas. Most people in the group shared ideas equally and the tone of the group was relaxed and friendly. There was one person in the group who was rather quiet. I later found out it was her first time attending. Although she did not contribute very often to the whole group discussion, I noticed a couple other members trying to engage her in casual conversation often. There is a second book that follows up from the first Six of Crows and some of the people in attendance had read both of the books. These people seemed anxious to continue sharing their thoughts and contributing questions. They never revealed any spoilers but encouraged other members to read the second book often. This extended knowledge gave them a bit of privilege and power in the conversation but it was not abused to the point where other members seemed uncomfortable. Overall, this book club felt like some friends coming together and discussing something they are passionate about (young adult literature) in a welcoming and energetic space.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Reader's Advisory for Parents

Ideally, reader's advisory for parents will result in the parent finding a book that the parent and child will both want to read the book multiple times. Repetition is a helpful learning tool for young children and ne research study even found that repetition is one of the best ways to build vocabulary and develop reading skills for young children (Garner, 2011). If the book is an inappropriate length, poorly written/illustrated, or not on a topic of interest to the child, then the book is less likely to be reread and less likely to be promoting vocabulary building through repetition.

A lot of reader’s advisory for parents happens away from the reference desk. Passive reader’s advisory is a well-used tool of librarians to provide quick access to books for parents. Book lists for children’s books are everywhere. From themed book lists, to “if you like ___, you may like ___”, to children’s book award lists; these types of lists are relied upon by many parents to quickly find large amounts of books their children may enjoy. Parents, teachers, and librarians all pay attention to children’s book awards, such as the Newbery Medal or Caldecott. The Newbery winner is expected to sell 50,000 more copies than an equivalent book (Clark, 2003). Having a convenient list of these books along with other desired titles or subjects is commonly available to parents in public libraries and serves as an effective means of passive reader’s advisory. Book displays are also another very common and well-used passive reader’s advisory tool that appeals to parents. Parents often run tight schedules and may not have the time to research good children’s books or endlessly browse the vast sea of picture books, and talking to an actual librarian may seem like a chore to some parents as they would have to talk and keep track of their young child simultaneously. Book displays are an ideal tool for these types of parents as the recommended books are out and easily accessible.

Reader’s advisory for parents is a practice that provides its own unique challenges and opportunities. Libraries should be adept at providing reader’s advisory for parents, children, and parents with the children present. A respectful, listening attitude towards all patrons provides meaningful connections and examples for parents and children to follow. Reader’s advisory for parents can take many forms including traditional discussions at a reference desk, book lists, book displays, and story times. It can include recommending books, audiobooks, toys, music, or movies. Reader’s advisory for parents is a skill that all children’s librarians should be familiar with in order to promote early literacy in their library and to serve a population of library users that can rely on the library on a weekly or even daily basis and account for a large portion of a public library’s circulation statistics.