Author Archives: sarahdearman

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

Recently, I discovered a post on Book Riot (if you don’t know about Book Riot yet – you’re welcome), titled A Call to Action for Librarians, written by Shauntee Burns-Simpson, NYPL librarian and President of the New York Black Librarians’ Caucus. In it, she challenges librarians – and library staff – to critically examine our readers’ advisory philosophies. Are you exposing your users to the full range of authors and literature out there? She asks.

Are we? Am I?

I think it’s really easy to fall into the routine of recommending the same authors over and over again. Like Jeffrey Archer? You’ll love Vince Flynn. James Patterson? Michael Connelly. In exchange for a quick fix answer to our readers’ advisory questions, I think we’ve inadvertently sacrificed a chance to promote more diverse books.

In the article, Burns-Simpson lays out a few questions for us to ask ourselves:

  • Do you always pick the same genre of books for your book discussion?
  • What type of book displays do you create to showcase diverse literature?
  • What authors do you invite to your library?
  • Is it always well-known authors, or do you invite not-so established authors to have platform to talk about their books?

When we bear these questions in mind, we open up conversation surrounding the need for heterogeneity in the book trade, and we have an opportunity – one that I feel is unique to our profession – to foster change in our communities, and to take it upon ourselves to promote diversity in literature. Because now, more than ever, #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Ashley Kilian

Fraser Valley Regional Library

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Port Coquitlam Reads!

Many public libraries have adopted the “community-led” model of service with the idea that services and programs should reflect the needs and interests of a library’s unique customers. Community involvement and input into program and service planning is a priority in community-led libraries.
At Terry Fox Library, we have maintained a display of “Staff Picks” for many years. Staff members fill out a bookmark explaining why they love certain books, and the books are put on display. Many customers eagerly check out staff picks and the staff feels a sense of satisfaction when customers borrow one of their favourite reads. However, staff picks don’t represent the variety of reading tastes of the Port Coquitlam community. My colleague and I wondered how we could involve our community members in the process of passive readers’ advisory at Terry Fox.

We decided to ask community members to recommend their favourite books, and create a display called “Port Coquitlam Reads”. To begin, we will approach recognizable citizens of Port Coquitlam such as City council members, charity directors, artists and business owners. Many of Port Coquitlam’s citizens are heavily involved with a variety of sports. We would like to involve athletes, coaches and referees in Port Coquitlam Reads, too. A bookmark has been designed and printed that features “Name and Role in the Community” and a space to write about “Why I Loved This Book”. We will ask members of the community to fill out a few bookmarks each and return them to the library. Port Coquitlam Reads will be a great way to promote awareness of community organizations and will hopefully be a method of forming connections between citizens. We are looking forward to launching “Port Coquitlam Reads” this fall.

Lori Nick

Library Technician at the Fraser Valley Regional Library

Nine Reasons Your Print Readers Need to Try an Audiobook

Reading Stephanie Crosby’s July post (Listen on…) about using audiobooks to help with Readers’ Advisory brought to mind some compelling reasons that die-hard print readers might be surprised to find themselves listening with rapt attention to the next story they pick up. Convince them to go audio with these 9 points.

9.  Audiobooks are great company. Forget leaving the TV on for background noise while you craft, clean or cook, and listen to a story instead.

8.  All copies of the book are out. Because audiobooks are not the go-to format for most readers, they’re often on the shelf when the printed titles have a wait list. Letting readers know that they can have the title right away if they’ll take home the audio version (or download it) can persuade them to give listening a try.

7.  There isn’t time to read the book before its due date arrives (or the assignment is due, or the book club meets, or the borrowed eBook self-destructs). The obvious advantage to reading an audiobook is that it allows for multi-tasking. Have to clean out your chicken coop, weed your yard, or embark upon an epic shopping quest at Costco? That’s no reason to stop reading, if you’ve got an audiobook with you.

6.  Vocabulary. Reading aloud to children is a strategy for vocabulary development [sources cited in linked article] in primary school. Whether the audiobook reader is a child learning to read, an English language learner, or anyone who loved testing their lexicon with Readers’ Digest vocabulary quizzes, audiobooks can introduce new words in a memorable way.

5.  Pronunciation. I hear a word read aloud in an audiobook and shudder to realize I’ve been saying it wrong for years (or, I gloat to think that the narrator flubbed it). Audiobooks give me a good example or a dire warning about correct word use and pronunciation that I don’t get when I read text.

4.  It’s nice to have someone else read to you. Hearing stories read aloud can be relaxing or energizing, and it’s always engrossing when done right. Maybe your reader remembers when a parent, a sibling, a librarian, or a teacher read aloud to them while they let their imagination create the images to go with the stories; let them relive those happy memories by recommending an audiobook.

3.  Choice of formats. Audiobooks come in a few different formats: preloaded audiobooks (Playaways), single MP3 CDs, downloadables, CD sets, and sometimes, you’ll still find tape cassettes. Your readers can choose the format that works best for their devices and activities.

2.  Motion sickness is suddenly irrelevant. Relax and keep your eye on the horizon, drift along on a cloud of Gravol-induced calm, and enjoy your book without trying to focus on jumpy text while ignoring your rolling stomach.

1.  Audiobooks let you put loud-talkers and crying babies on mute. Can’t read your book on the train because the guy two rows over is shouting into his cell phone? Put in your earbuds and let the narrator of your audiobook lead you onto another plane of existence.

Have you been successful converting readers to listeners? Tell us your tactics in the comments below.

Natalie Fouquette

Digital Services Librarian

Fraser Valley Regional Library

Adult Summer Reading Club at the Terry Fox Library

Like many libraries in BC, the Terry Fox Library has been completely consumed with Summer Reading Club since June. This year was one of our biggest years ever, with hundreds of kids coming in to get their stickers, prizes, and medals.

This summer was particularly notable, however, because of the increase in Adult Summer Reading Club participants. We had over 400 adults join up and participate in the program from June to September, which is an increase of 14.6% over last year. And, interestingly, last year showed an increase of 38% over the year before. Why the consistent increase over the last two years?

One of the reasons we have had an increase in adult participation is because we have improved the quality of prizes. Staff ventured out into the community to ask local businesses if they’d be willing to support the Adult Summer Reading Club and dropped off a donation request letter. Although larger businesses have donated, we found that smaller businesses were more likely to donate prizes to get their names out into the community and show community involvement. We gave away some fabulous baskets this year with gift cards, books, chocolates, tea and more.

This year we had the kids, teens, and adults SRC at the same desk. I think it made a big difference to promote the ASRC alongside the kid/teen programs because it got the word out to more parents, and it encouraged them to model the importance of reading and literacy to their children.

I also noticed our staff were particularly excellent at chatting up customers about what they were reading and had a lot of enthusiasm. These interactions made the program more special and involved, and for those who hadn’t signed up it was a good segue into an invitation to join the club.

Although it went well, I would change a few things for next time. For example, we gave away one huge basket each month. Even though the massive prize basket looked great and got people really excited, I would create more small draws so that there are more chances to win. One of our libraries had the brilliant idea of doing a family draw, so if everyone in your family signs up you have a chance to win an awesome prize basket. Genius.

I would also like to create easy ways for adults to participate and interact with one another through out the summer, whether it is recommendations for great summer reads from ASRC members that are put on display, simple contests, or incorporating readers into our social media (for example making community recommended lists in Bibliocommons or posting pictures of readers with their favourite summer books on Instagram, Facebook, etc.) Either way, getting people more involved would raise the profile of ASRC and also create more opportunities to have fun.

In the end, the Adult Summer Reading Club is a great way to get adults involved in the library and to celebrate literacy and reading in our communities. We had a lot of fun talking to members about their summer reads and it was a joy to give away the prize baskets to the lucky winners. Why let the kids have all the fun?

Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to make Adult Summer Reading Clubs great? Leave a comment below!

Sarah Dearman
Librarian at the Fraser Valley Regional Library