August 30, 2015 at 5:09 pm #1515
For this week we covered “Reading and Literacy’, in which I will reflect with a focus on “Issues Based Reflection’.
When reading ‘The State of Readers’ Advisory’, a particular quote got me thinking. To paraphrase, ‘staff can have RA ‘angst’ when recommending material they might not be familiar with’. I thought this would be especially true in an increasing diverse society. I will tread carefully, as I am aware that many types of people like many types of stories and so forth, yet do staff need to be careful with what they suggest, so they won’t cause offence?
There may be element of content in a book that a librarian may not know its significance and meaning, that could cause offence to someone else, whether political, ethical or cultural. However, I question is that the librarians responsibility? As the chance of being offended is something that all people are at risk of, and surely people are responsible enough to realise that it is just part of the story, the author’s opinion, or the relaying other people’s opinion.
Sarick’s believes Librarians should be ‘alert’ to elements that may lose its appeal. Sarick believes librarians should use questions to help negotiate RA: Does the book advocate a particular political, religious or social position? Does it address social or moral issues that some readers may find offensive?
I do find this interesting, as ‘chance encounters’ with books could help change a person’s perspective when they were not looking for it. Sure, it is not the librarian’s role to teach people these new perspectives, however, it is surely not their role to ‘censor’ either. As RA involves communication, chance of any these ‘chance offences’ may rarely happen. But what happens when communication is limited?
Dali, states that RA should be prepared to maintain a conversation with English second language (ESL) readers, even when challenging and can result in “interaction fatigue.” Dali, explained that, – “listening to grammatically incorrect English, tuning into an accent for a considerable length of time, and continuously adjusting responses for clarity and simplicity may be a strenuous and difficult task, and its successful performance requires training, habit, and a great deal of patience.”
Yet, the role of RA and libraries, for me, is a place of community-a ‘safe haven’. It is through the interactions of RA, and the sharing of favourite stories/books, that can also lead to learning of people’s experiences. This in turn could help future interactions with the library patrons, as you have already established a ‘barometer’ for what they like and want.
- This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Natalie Anderson.
September 1, 2015 at 10:24 am #1562
Hi Natalie. Great reflection!
I used to work in retail selling music and movies and I remember accidentally offending a customer by referring to the type of movie he was looking for as a ‘slasher flick’. That was exactly what he was after but it must have been a little awkward for him to acknowledge that he enjoys watching violence and gore. I imagine the same thing happens sometimes for librarians when they recommend a book that has a dubious reputation, even if it is a good choice for the customer. However, as the ‘I Need a Book!” video demonstrated, even a book suggestion that the reader doesn’t like is a kind of feedback for the librarian in future.
I think having confidence in your suggestion is a step towards positive reader feedback. If they see that you’re unsure or that you don’t know much about the book then it may put doubt into their minds. Of course, building confidence in RA services would involve research into various books and the task of keeping up with new releases, and those activities would mean better suggestions from the librarian anyway!
September 3, 2015 at 9:36 am #1581
I currently work in retail, and one of the expectations of the business is to offer the customer something from our range. Sounds simple enough right? Except for when a customer comes in looking for something very specific, let’s say for example, a childrens top with a picture of a koala. Now knowing I have no Australiana products, it seems absurd suggesting the shirt with a dancing hippo instead. However, that is what my work expects, which can be frustrating for me, as the customer must think I am not listening. For the most part I do say we don’t have exactly what they want.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Natalie Anderson.
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