Week 5: Reading and literacy

What’s on in Week 5

Twitter chat

When Monday 14 August, 6pm – 7pm
Topic Reading and literacy (focusing on readers’ advisory services in the Twitter chat)
Guest tweeters This week we’ll be joined by:

  • Jo Beazley (@jobeaz)
  • Alison Miles (@alisonwrote)
Twitter Chat Champions This week’s Twitter Chat Champions are:

  • Debbie
  • Kirsty
  • Michele
  • Sarah
  • Steph
  • Samantha
  • Taylor
Hashtag #ifn614readchat
Questions Q1 Why are readers’ advisory services important?Q2 What makes a good readers’ advisor? What skills, knowledge & attributes do RAs need?

Q3 What are the characteristics of good readers’ advisory practice?

Q4 What tools and resources do you recommend to assist with readers’ advisory work?

Can’t participate in the Twitter chat? Check out the Storify archive

New to Twitter chats? Check out the post on participating in a Twitter chat.

Synchronous Twitter chat debrief session

When Monday 14 August, 7.15pm – 7.45pm
Where Adobe Connect
What  We’ll debrief our Twitter chat in Adobe Connect right after the Twitter chat.
Can’t make it to the debrief? We didn’t really debrief because the Twitter chat went really smoothly tonight. We did talk about A1 and I’m going to make you a video overview.

Things to read and watch

learning-materials-iconThis week I’m dividing the resources into two categories. You don’t have to read or watch materials for both categories. It’s fine to choose just one.

Readers’ advisory

Read or watch the following:

  • Thorton-Verma, H. & Schwart, M. (2014, February 3). The state of readers’ advisory. Library Journal, 139(2).
  • I need a book! A guide to readers advisory. This video is a bit old, but it covers the basics of readers’ advisory well clearly and concisely. It looks at genre and appeal characteristics, two factors that are important in recommending books.
  • Chapter 3: Reference services* in Evans, G.; Saponaro, Margaret; Christie, Holland; Sinwell, Carol (2015). Library Programs and Services: The Fundamentals, 8th Edition. *Also covers readers’ advisory.

Got time to do more reading? Try these:

* This is an excellent book. Other chapters may be useful for you to read for your activity post this week.

Additional resources

Every readers’ advisor needs to know about Nancy Pearl. Check out her books or get your own Nancy Pearl action figure.

The library has a number of readers’ advisory titles for various genres. You might like to take a look at one.


Please note: Some of the literacy readings are from ebooks so I’m working with the library on getting you access. A couple more readings coming soon.

Things to explore

Reading and literacy products, programs and services

This week, I’d like you to forage around and find an interesting service or product related to reading and literacy and share it with your peers. You can post to your forum or to Twitter. This isn’t a mandatory task, but it’s definitely a fun one.

As an example, let me share a couple of services from my local public library with you.

Book Coasters is City Libraries Gold Coast’s online book club. What do I love about this? Well, it’s a site that’s close to my heart because this was the last project I worked on at my last library gig. At the time I was the Online Futures Librarian and I worked with the adult services team to create Book Coasters. We set it up as a book club, where there was a set book each month that everyone would read and discuss. Over time, it’s evolved considerably. It’s now more free flowing rather than being focused on a particular title each month. It also looks a lot different, because we initially set it up to focus on the selected monthly book. This site has been running since June 2009 with a consistent posting volume across the whole time period. That’s pretty awesome!

Other services the library offers:

  • Book club kits that provide multiple copies of the same title to be used by book clubs.
  • Hot Reads, which are short loan copies of popular books. This program is designed so that there will always be copies of hot reads on the shelf in the library. To keep the stock turning over quickly, they can be held, requested or renewed and must be returned to the branch they were borrowed at. These restrictions means there are always great books on the shelves.
  • Pinterest boards on topics related to reading. They’re not super prolific pinners. What do you think of these boards?

I also wanted to draw your attention to the library catalogue, which also includes functionality to help readers find books they’ll enjoy. Below is a catalogue record for a Michael Robotham book (awesome writer. He writes smart, psychological thrillers, and he’s Australian).

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 7.20.22 PM

On the screen:

  1. Virtual shelf browser shows you items that you’d find nearby this one if you were looking at physical books on a physical shelf. This promotes serendipitous discovery… Those instances where you go to the shelf for one book and come back with something completely different.
  2. Review content drawn from LibraryThing (an awesome site where you can catalogue and review your book collection).
  3. Tags assigned by LibraryThing users provide another way to browse and find similar items. (Question: How useful do you think these tags are?)
  4. Similar books generated by data from LibraryThing.

Readers’ advisory

The State Library of Queensland provides online training for Queensland public library staff, including a readers’ advisory module (available under A new look at old ideas). You can sign up for an account if you’d like to complete the training.

Things to do

assessment-iconWeek 5 learning activity post

You need to complete your Week 5 learning activity. You can complete any of the six activity types that are included in Assignment 1 but remember you need to complete one of each type of activity over the course of the semester.

Marks for submission date

Remember, there are additional marks for submitting this activity within particular time periods. The breakdown is:

  • Submit by the end of the nominated week: 2 additional marks
  • Submit by the end of the following week: 1 additional mark
  • Submit after the end of the following week but before the next check point: 0 additional marks

Sub topics or related concepts you might like to deal with in your activities

  • Readers’ advisory services for
    • adults
    • teens
    • children
    • particular market segments
  • Reading programs for children
  • Online readers’ advisory tools
  • User generated content for reading recommendations
  • Storytime
  • Digital storytime
  • Using patron data to generate personalised reading recommendations
  • The role of tacit knowledge in readers’ advisory work

This isn’t an exhaustive list. Rather, it’s intended to give you some ideas for where you might start.

Argue a point of view

If you’re doing the ‘argue a point of view’ topic this week, you can choose from one of the following topics (argue for or against the statement). Please note I may not agree with all of these!

  • Literacy development is not the concern of public libraries.
  • All storytime programs should include a craft activity.
  • Academic libraries should support their customers’ leisure reading.
  • Public libraries should exploit patrons’ data to provide them with customised reading recommendation newsletters like those provided by Amazon and GoodReads.

Other things to do

  • If you didn’t come to class last week, please watch the video overview of the design thinking activity on the Week 4 page.
  • Check the Twitter Chat Champion schedule. If you didn’t sign up for a week, I’ve randomly allocated you one. Make a note of your week so you don’t accidentally miss it!
  • Get ready for our Twitter chat by taking a look at the tips I’ve prepared.