Author Archives: chloethelibrarian

About chloethelibrarian

I'm a new librarian working in Vancouver, BC.

RA in a Day 2016

A sign stating "Welcome to RA in a Day 2916" behind a silhouette of a microphone

Welcome to RA in a Day 2016!

The BCLA Readers’ Advisory Interest Group is proud and grateful for the success of RA in a Day 2016! Our warmest appreciation and thanks to everyone who attended the event, or who followed along on social media (#RAinaDay16). We would also like to thank our supportive sponsor Library Bound.

This year the event was held on October 18, 2016 in the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch. The Readers’ Advisory Interest Group would like to acknowledge that this event took place on the ancestral, traditional and unceded Aboriginal territories of the Coast Salish Peoples. Continue reading

RA in a Day 2016 – Registration is open!

Have you registered for RA in a Day 2016 yet? It’s getting closer and we’re getting excited!

Register now! Registration closes at noon on Friday, October 7.

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016
9:30am -4:00 PM
Vancouver Public Library, Central branch

Presented by the BCLA Readers’ Advisory Interest Group, this event is about building your RA confidence, reminding you about what you already know, learning to better serve your patrons as readers advisors and enjoying this practical professional development event.

This year we are back in downtown Vancouver, and we are excited about our workshop that explores the relationship between library catalogues, readers, and readers’ advisors, with Samuel Richmond, Head of Bibliographic Services at VPL.

We are honoured to have a keynote speech by Dr. Catherine Sheldrick Ross, professor and former Dean in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. Sheldrick Ross authored The Pleasures of Reading: A Booklover’s Alphabet which drew on over 300 open-ended interviews with avid readers to explore questions about the experience of pleasure-reading.

This year our ever-popular Speed-Dating Through the Genres will feature:
• Adventure!
• Fiction in Translation: French Canadian!
• Non-fiction graphic novels!
• Mindfulness!

Plus we will host a Bookslam demo to which we invite audience participation : )

Event Fee(s)
BCLA Member $ 50.00
Non-Member $ 70.00
Student $ 30.00

Join in the conversation on social media with the hashtag #RADay16.

Register now! We hope to see you there on Tuesday October 18th.

SLAIS recommends!

This spring, as the university semester came to a close, I asked some of my fellow SLAIS students to recommend what they’ve been reading/listening to over the past school year. Here are the recommendations:

cover of Warren the 13th - a young boy tiptoes across town while a sinister couple gaze after him


Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio and Will Staehle

The red, black and white illustrations, by Will Staehle, hooked me from the first page. I loved the story of the resilient and resourceful Warren fending off numerous challenges to his legacy, his family’s strange hotel.

~ recommended by Jennette C.

cover of Where the Sea Breaks Its Back - a scene of several ships floundering in huge waves


Where the Sea Breaks Its Back: The epic story of early naturalist Georg Steller and the Russian exploration of Alaska by Corey Ford

A non-fiction account of the ultimately disastrous expedition of Danish explorer Vitus Bering, his Russian crew, and naturalist Georg Steller to southern Alaska in the 1740s.

~ recommended by Matthias Olhausen


cover of Sorcerer to the Crown - image of a red dragon with its mouth open


Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Magic is waning in England and Zacharias, the first black Sorcerer Royal, and Prunella, a young woman with an immense magical ability of her own, set out to figure out why. A fun, witty narrative of romance, intrigue, and adventure that doesn’t shy away from the fact that its characters deal with oppression and institutional racism.

~ recommended by Chloe Riley


Gastropod podcast logo


Gastropod by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley

Gastropod is a podcast that “looks at food through the lens of science and history.” The topics are always well-researched, often featuring guest experts, and navigating between science, history, and story for a consistently captivating show. [link to the podcast]

~ recommended by Gwen Doran


cover of Rolling in the Deep - a young woman is pulled underwater by a webbed hand

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

If you like your horror smart and slick with a slice of too-terrifyingly-close-to-reality science on the side, this slim novella by Mira Grant is for you. Rolling in the Deep recounts the last fatal voyage of the SS Atargatis, which sets sail for the Marianas Trench with a team of scientists, a group of actors, a camera crew, and a collection of interns, to determine whether or not mermaids could possibly exist. None of them are ever seen again.

~ recommended by Meghan Ross



cover of I'll Give You the Sun - colourful lines in a sunburst pattern


I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

“If you are a young gay boy, or if you ever were a young gay boy, then you need to read this amazing YA novel. Even if you’re NOT and never were a young gay boy, read this book anyway. It’s brilliant. It’s poetic. It’ll break your heart and sew it right back up again only to rip it right out of you.” [full review here].

~ recommended by Alan Woo


cover of Captive Prince - image of a faded stone wall with a single thin window


Captive Prince Trilogy by C.S. Pacat

Intrigue and action-packed gay romance set in an alternate history/High Fantasy world. Excellent pick for romance enthusiasts and fans of The Goblin Emperor or Game of Thrones.

~ recommended by Krista Parham


cover of The Thousand names - a man in a billowing cloak walks towards a city holding two swords above his head



The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

~ recommended by Myles Wolfe




Let us know your recently-read/recently-listened/recently-watched recommendations!

Chloe Riley is the SLAIS student representative on the Readers’ Advisory Interest Group. She’s currently a student in the MLIS program at SLAIS, and works at the Vancouver Public Library.


New Historical Romance Releases

Springtime is just the time of year to fall in love with some new romance novels. I have a fondness for historical romances, and luckily a number of my favourite historical romance authors have recently released new books!

Cover of Listen to the Moon; a half-naked couple embrace


Rose Lerner, Listen to the Moon

This author focuses mostly on working class characters in the Regency era, and this book features a very proper valet-turned-butler and a happy-go-lucky house maid who enter a marriage of convenience to get employment at a local vicarage. Third in the Lively St. Lemeston series, but can be read as a standalone. Fun, sly, and steamy!

What else from this author: The rest of the Lively St. Lemeston series are refreshingly grounded in local politics rather than high society; try True Pretenses, which features a Jewish con man and a Tory heiress.


Cover of A Seditious Affair; a young man lies provocatively on a bed

KJ Charles, A Seditious Affair

A romance between a seditionist, radical bookseller and a conservative, privileged Tory, who both look forward to their weekly anonymous rendezvous – until they unexpectedly meet outside of the bedroom. The second in Charles’ early 19th century historical m/m romance series, Society of Gentlemen, and can be read as a standalone. Featuring power play, politics, revolution, and falling in love.

What else from this author: The third book in Society of Gentlemen was just released this month! It’ll be next on my list. Also check out The Magpie Lord, a historical fantasy m/m romance series.


Cover of Her Every Wish; a young woman in a green dress looks longingly into the distance

Courtney Milan, Her Every Wish

I will read anything Milan writes! This novella is part of her new Regency series, the Worth Saga, but can be read on its own. Our heroine enters her local parish’s competition for the prize for the best new business proposal, but she needs a bit of coaching on her presentation. Luckily, her old flame is just the man for the job. Featuring a bisexual mixed-race hero, working-class romance, entrepreneurial spirit, and a warm and sexy second chance romance.

What else from this author: The Suffragette Scandal in her Brothers Sinister series is one of my favourite historical romances, and her upcoming contemporary romance, with a transwoman as the heroine (Hold Me), is one I can’t wait to read.


Cover of Because of Miss Bridgerton; a young woman in a ballgown glances at herself in a mirror

Julia Quinn, Because of Miss Bridgerton

There’s probably no need to recommend Julia Quinn to anyone who’s already familiar with historical romances, but just in case: this is Quinn back on form and back with the Bridgerton family. This one features a heroine who is most comfortable outdoors managing her father’s estate and wearing breeches, and who clashes with the stuffy boy (well, okay, Earl) next door. Witty banter, smart characters, and a slow-burn romance.

What else from this author: Quinn’s prolific series of regency romances are popular for a reason! Try The Duke and I or Romancing Mister Bridgerton, both from the Bridgerton series.


A few other new(ish) historical romance releases:

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Romance Anthology, featuring stories by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley

Jeannie Lin, Clockwork Samurai (Gunpowder Chronicles #2)

Sarah MacLean, The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal and Scoundrel #1)

Theresa Romain, A Gentleman’s Game (Romance of the Turf #1)

What historical romances are you looking forward to?

Organizing an RA Workshop at Library School

Last autumn, a number of fellow library school students and I decided to organize a Readers’ Advisory Workshop for SLAIS students. This was in response to feedback from our peers regarding the lack of Readers’ Advisory education in our classrooms, and a desire to develop some knowledge and skills on our own. We decided to focus on some basic topics that we were interested in learning about and sharing, as well as what we thought would appeal to our potential participants.

Ask Your Readers Advisor - Newton Free Library

Image from Newton Public Library, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

My collaborators included members of various student groups at UBC: ALA Student Chapter, BCLA/CLA Student Chapter, UBC Librarians without Borders, SLA @ SLAIS, and YAACS @ UBC. Our workshop took place in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC, on the traditional, unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

Despite the fact that we held a two-hour workshop at the end of a busy semester, we had a really great turn-out of students who were willing to take a break from their end-of-term workload and talk about Readers’ Advisory and books with us.

Lightning Talks

The organizers contributed lightning talks on different RA topics:

  • Intro to RA Basics, including a brief history of RA, read-alikes & appeal factors
  • Types of RA, such as direct & indirect
  • RA resources, including a Novelist demonstration
  • Adult Literacy Levels
  • Diversity and RA
  • RA for early, late, and intermediate age children
  • RA for adolescents and young adults

(We admit that a few of us attended RAIG’s 2015 RA in a Day, and were inspired by the Adult Literacy Levels discussion and Dr. Brenna Clarke Gray’s keynote on Diverse Reading!)

Genre Roundtable

Each of the organizers prepared a quick introduction to a genre, including why people like to read it, and some important titles to know. We took a tour through Mystery, Fantasy, Feminist Memoirs, and Romance. We encouraged our participants to feel free to discuss a genre they were interested in, too! While acknowledging that it wasn’t a genre, one of our participants shared some of her experiences and recommended resources on providing LGBTQIA+ RA service.

Some of the takeaways from our genre discussions included:

  • The importance of incorporating diversity in our reading and our recommendations. Sometimes we need to make the effort to seek out diverse genre lit, and avoid simply falling back on “classics” of the genre, which are likely not diverse.
  • The surprising number of sub-genres that we didn’t know existed (cozy mysteries!) and the confusion of blurring genres (where does fantasy end and sci-fi begin?).
  • Discussion of what “genre” means, and how broader themes and topics like LGBTQIA+ can become confused with genre.

Bookslam Demo and Recommendation Hour

We had hoped to conclude with an informal bookslam demonstration and a reading recommendation exchange, in order to practice booktalking and recommendation skills. We’d even encouraged participants to bring a recently read book or a favourite book with them. Unfortunately, we ran out of time!

Reflections and Opportunities

  • Organizing and facilitating a two-hour workshop was only possible with the help and collaboration of all of the organizers. Thanks, everyone!!
  • We provided snacks and drinks, which were vital sources of sustenance during our  two-hour discussion.
  • We tried to build interactive sections into the workshop, and unfortunately we ran out of time before we were able to get to the recommendations part (the bookslam and booktalking). I would definitely try to build that more cohesively into the workshop next time, as we were dissappointed to miss out on that interactive element.
  • Our participants brought really great ideas, experiences, and questions with them, which spoke to the interest and enthusiasm for learning and practicing RA. I hope to see more events in the future, and I encourage students in MLIS and Lib Tech programs to develop their own RA events.

Chloe Riley is the SLAIS student representative on the Readers’ Advisory Interest Group. She’s currently a student in the MLIS program at SLAIS, and works at the Vancouver Public Library.

Announcing the 2nd Annual Library Bound Student RA Award

Library Bound and the BCLA Readers’ Advisory Interest Group are pleased to announce our second annual … Library Bound Student RA Award!

Are you a BC resident currently enrolled in an MLIS or Library Technician program? Are you interested in Readers’ Advisory services? You can apply for funding for this year’s BCLA Annual Conference!

Deadline: Monday, February 29, 2016 by 5 pm.

Award: Full 2016 BCLA Conference registration plus one night’s accommodation.

How to Apply:

Email the following to Meghan Savage at

  • Tell us your name, your school, and contact info
  • Describe why you are interested in Readers’ Advisory in 500 words or less
  • Confirm that you are a member of BCLA. (Not a member yet? It’s free for students! Sign up at the BCLA website.)
  • Apply by 5:00 pm on February 29, 2016

The Fine Print:

Only current BC residents intending to work in BC after graduation are eligible to apply. Applicants must be registered in either a Masters of Library and Information Science/Masters of Information Science (or equivalent) program or a Library Technician program and be a student at the time of the February 29, 2016 deadline. The institution can be located in BC or elsewhere (via online study). Members of the BCLA Readers’ Advisory Interest Group will screen applicants and choose the winner. Applicants must be current BCLA members. Award covers full BCLA Conference registration plus one night’s accommodation (to be arranged through BCLA). No other expenses (travel costs, meals, etc.) will be provided. Successful applicant will be expected to write a brief 500-word or less report about the experience of attending the BCLA Conference.


“On becoming a diverse reader” in BCLA’s Perspectives

A new issue of BCLA’s Perspectives has been published! This issue includes an article by two of the members of the Readers’ Advisory Interest Group, Chloe Riley and Virginia McCreedy, on Dr. Brenna Clarke Gray’s keynote address at the recent RA in a Day workshop, which challenged library workers to read more diversely:

Dr. Brenna Clarke Gray is a professor at Douglas College and a contributor at Book Riot. Her keynote address was entitled “Doing the Work: Diversifying the Reader’s Experience, Come Hell or High Water.”

For other reports on this year’s RA in a Day event, check out our write-up on the Literacy Levels workshop, and our RA in a Day 2015 Must Reads. We also recently published a post on why #WeNeedDiverseBooks.