now blogging at

Just a quick update, long overdue. I am now blogging about reading and reader services at reading360. Join me there to talk about reading maps, readers advisory practices, staff development, and our continuing work with readers, etc.

The project report is available there, as well as from the QPLA site here.

~ Alison

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Rural Libraries Queensland shout-out

Jo and I would like to send a special thank you to staff at State Library of Queensland for inviting us to present about readers advisory and our project to the Rural Libraries Queensland training course this week. We’d also like to thank the wonderful RLQ attendees who had travelled from far-flung places in Queensland like Longreach, Carpentaria, Goondiwindi…
Our preso covered our top ten low cost/no cost/high return ideas for RA in public libraries – these factors being especially important in small libraries with low staff numbers, but still relevant to large library services in times of tight budgets.
Among other things I gave a 15 second review on Megan Caldwell’s Vanity Fare and the attendees recommended a great follow-up for readers of 50 Shades of Grey – Rachael Treasure’s 50 Bales of Hay. Have you enough reading knowledge to recommend to others?
We’ll include these ideas in our project report.

RLQ Tourist CardSomething the rural libraries have now, that  we’re all envious about, is their RLQ Tourist Card which enables people living or travelling in outback Queensland to borrow from all RLQ libraries. And they have a combined catalogue across 28 member Councils. Imagine all those possibilities for collaboration across RLQ with bookclubs, eAudiobooks, reviews, etc.
130 library services across South Australia also have this collaborative opportunity with One Card . Victorian libraries are also going for united strength.

We would love to hear from staff in these libraries to let us know how you’re using the One Card concept to support the delivery of outstanding readers advisory service.

 

The Voice of the Dead – guest post by Mallory Owens

Our first guest poster for 2013 works in a Defence library and presented at the  Celebrate the Book Readers Advisory Conference in Kansas last November. Mallory Owens has some interesting tales to tell of practising RA in her research library, but today she has posted about discovering dead narrators in young adult fiction – the topic she discussed at the conference. Read on…

***

Despite growing up and moving on to bigger and better things (or so I like to think), I continue to have a love affair with YA fiction.  Even in my mid-20s, teen angst and melodramatic life conundrums of adolescent characters appeal to me in a way that no other genre has quite been able to.  National sensation brought on by titles like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games sparked a greater interest in this continually evolving field.  YA literature isn’t just for young adults anymore, but can be enjoyed by readers of all ages!  Whether it serves as a reminiscence of good-ol’-days or a thankful reminder of what has been outgrown, YA fiction taps into thoughts and emotions everyone will or has experienced.

So when I decided to speak at the 2012 Reader’s Advisory Conference hosted by the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and the Northeast Kansas Library System this past November, I knew YA fiction would be my focus.  As I began to think over the recent titles I had read, I realized a reoccurring theme throughout: dead people.  Since the release of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold in 2002, dead characters have been making more frequent appearances in YA literature.  Similar to Sebold’s Susie Salmon, many of these characters appear as narrators, recounting their death and observing the impact it has had on the world they left behind.  Included on the handout I made for my breakout session are 16 titles with dead narrators with this similar theme.  Also included are titles with dead characters in supporting roles, narrators that are undoubtedly dying, and those that begin with the foreboding sense of death that will affect the reader’s entire view throughout the novel.  [The Voice of the Dead handout]

Although the titles vary in characters and carry different themes including supernatural, romance, suspense, thriller, and horror elements, they all strive to make sense of death, a subject almost incomprehensible to an age group that often views themselves as invincible: teenagers.  Writing styles also vary widely, from long chapters full of prose to short, insider views composed in verse.  Yet each author targets the emotion of their readers to more fully focus on the elements that make us all human.  All the titles encourage thought on human nature and what we leave behind when we vacate our human bodies.  In a sense, they are all trying to make readers think about exactly what the manager of Our Town was hoping to discover in the quote included at the top of the handout: what is eternal in terms of a human being?  What legacy, if any, do we leave behind?  The biggest common denominator within YA titles with dead (or soon to be dead) characters is that they will leave the reader feeling haunted by the characters who are now haunting their former lives.  Will they leave the lasting impact they believed they would before they realized their short time on earth was complete?

Have you read any titles recently, YA or not, with a dead narrator or deceased character in a supporting role?

***
Mallory Owens is a reference and acquisitions librarian at the Combined Arms Research Library in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA.  Although much of her work is of an academic nature, she enjoys participating in reader’s advisory whenever she can and can often be seen cornering people into conversations about what they are currently reading.  When she isn’t devouring YA novels or attending book club, Mallory serves as the president of her local chapter of the Special Libraries Association and volunteers with Make a Wish Foundation of Missouri.  In her few moments of free time, she enjoys perusing Netflix with her husband Elijah and cuddling with her beloved cat Oliver.

wish we were there (again)

We took a lot of photos in Auckland, mostly inside libraries and certainly of many librarians. Check out the many readers advisory techniques used in Auckland’s libraries on our flickr collection.

And if you’re visiting Auckland, please drop in to the libraries and say hello from us. We miss those guys!

As well as meeting great librarians from the public libraries we also met the very inspirational Fiona Mackie, President of SLANZA (great article about her and Word Up in Collected #9, pages 16-17) and Catherine Frew from the Corporate Library. We caught up with the marvellous Tosca Waera (Social Media Coordinator, the personality behind @Auckland_Libs), Sally Pewhairangi from Finding Heroes (who inspires us with her big ideas) and Paul Brown – our amazing tour guide and readers advisory expert.

Here’s a link to a LIANZA 2012 paper by Richard Misilei, the awesome manager of  Tupu Youth Library – South Auckland Libraries: Connecting with Southside Youth. A library service to be proud of. If you’ve been there, shout about it!

Auckland City Libraries

We visited Central City, Botany, Tupu, Onehunga, Massey, Titirangi, Henderson, Takapuna and East Coast Bays libraries.

it’s who you know

The point of going to a conference is to learn more about the profession, and to meet up with others in the profession. I’ve sometimes found the most valuable things happen outside of the conference framework, but happen because of it.
We both went to the QPLA off-year conference held at State Library of Queensland, Brisbane. It was a mini-conference but packed full of valuable information and ideas. More on that soon.

We’re grateful to Nadia Patch, Coordinator of Reading at Brisbane Libraries, for spending her lunch break in an interview with us. We were so impressed with the work Nadia does and how she works with the team leaders (branch librarians) to work on a coordinated and very successful approach to reader services. Nadia’s team had developed eye-catching genre bookmarks which feature a space for librarians to write their own recommendation before personally giving the bookmark to a customer.
And the BCC bookclub booklet features 40 reviews written by library staff – awesome production.

We were also excited to meet Sue McKerracher, Director of the Library Agency managing National Year of Reading. After the conference I was fortunate to meet with Jane Cowell and Tammy Morley at State Library (Jane is Director Public and Indigenous Library Services and Tammy is Manager Capacity Development). Jane and Tammy were very supportive when I asked the question – how can we work with State Library to support reader services in Queensland public libraries?
They’ve also suggested we submit an article to the PLC enews, so look out for that.

The conference was all about advocacy, and personally I found Sue Henzcel and DK’s presentations the most valuable in this area (Sue on metrics and DK on social media advocacy). I found a lot I can use to support reader services delivery in the public library service.

I finished my trip with a visit to Robin Lee at Brisbane Square Library (colleagues Suzanne and Esther had visited BSL and Fairfield to check out RFID) – and met some more wonderful Brisbane librarians.

Conferences and library visits are an invaluable opportunity to meet talented people who are doing great things in our industry.

Who have you met who has influenced your professional practice?