Category Archives: Awards

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 msavage@surrey.ca.

  • 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.

 

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Introducing the Library Bound Student RA Award!

Confetti

Library Bound and the BCLA Readers’ Advisory Interest Group are pleased to announce The Library Bound Student Readers’ Advisory 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, March 16, 2015 by 5 pm.

Award: Full 2015 BCLA Conference registration plus one night’s accommodation.

How to Apply: Email the following to Heidi Schiller at hschiller@cnv.org:

  • 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.)

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 March 16, 2015 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.

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 Scotiabank Giller Prize 2014 — A Tweet-Cheat-Sheet

Cathy Mount has a background in academic and business libraries, and is now pursuing her interest in public library work. A dedicated reader of classic literature, she strives to achieve a balance with contemporary fiction. She often looks to book prize nominees for inspiration, and enjoys book prize events as an opportunity to connect with other readers. Cathy tweets at @cathy_mount.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist is out! In the spirit of brevity, I present Twitter style book reviews (140 characters or less) of the 2014 nominees. I hope these teasers help you choose which books you want to read first, and assist you in advising your patrons on the ones that suit them best.

  • Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu
    Contemporary #roadtrip adventure for a Velvet Underground fan in search of purpose & happiness.
  • The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis
    Integrity, compromise, identity and forgiveness — set in #Crimea, with a dash of Zionism.
  • American Innovations by Rivka Galchen
    10 #surrealiststories of characters lost in their own minds.
  • Tell by Frances Itani
    The aftermath of #WWI and #disfigurement on one soldier and his family.
  • Watch How We Walk by Jennifer LoveGrove
    Reconciling the world we are raised to believe in with the one we live in.
  • Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
    1930: Glamour in NYC, #gulags in the USSR.
  • Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani Mootoo
    A family’s history told forward and sideways, moving like a crab. Parenting, #estrangement, immigration, and #genderfluidity featured.
  • The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill
    #Comingofage story of twins who grew up in the media spotlight, set in Montreal, 1995.
  • Paradise and Elsewhere by Kathy Page
    14 thought provoking, quirky, and #feministshortstories. Unsettling tales told with beautiful writing.
  • My October by Claire Holden Rothman
    Language, culture, and #separatism divide a Montreal family.
  • All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
    Can a work of #mourning be a comedy?
  • The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan
    #Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle & #AirIndiaFlight182.

Excerpts from the longlist books can be found at http://www.scotiabankgillerprize.ca/finalists/2014-longlist/.

Scotiabank Giller Prize Events in Vancouver

The shortlist will be announced at 11am EST (2pm PST) on Monday, October 6, 2014. This year, the Scotiabank Giller Prize event Between the Pages: An Evening with the Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalists will be held in Vancouver (November 6), Halifax (October 20), and Toronto (November 3). Readers will get a chance to peer inside the minds and creative lives of the shortlisted writers. Each event will feature special guest appearances and entertainment. Ticket details to follow at http://www.scotiabankgillerprize.ca/news-events/events-and-important-dates/

The winner will be announced on Monday, November 10th at 9pm EST (6pm for those of us on the west coast) at a gala ceremony, broadcast live on CBC Television. The North Vancouver Giller Prize Party will be held the same evening from 4:30-9pm PST, with a live stream of the awards show, drinks, appetizers, prizes, and readings of the nominated books. Further details and tickets are available at http://northvancouvergillerprizeparty.eventbrite.ca.

Readers’ Advisory Sessions at PLA 2014: Audiobooks

Today’s post comes from Anna Ferri, the 2014/15 BCLA student representative, one of the two UBC student representatives with RAIG, and a current MLIS candidate.

This year I was bound and determined to make it to the Public Library Association Conference in Indianapolis, March 11-14, 2014. Since the conference is only held every other year, this was my one chance to attend as a student, with both the reduced conference fee and with no one’s agenda but my own interests. Accordingly I went to several Readers’ Advisory sessions and brought back a few tidbits to share. For brevity’s sake, I’ll post a couple separate blog posts during this month on sessions I attended. The full program for PLA is on the conference website, along with an array of handouts for each session that are really worth checking out.

All About Audiobooks: Improving Readers’ Advisory for Listeners

One of the first sessions I attended, and one of the standout sessions of the whole conference for me, was “All About Audiobooks: Improving Readers’ Advisory for Listeners”. This panel included librarians, a representative from NoveList, a board member from the Audio Publishers Association, and the founder of AudioFile magazine. Their incredibly informative discussion was organized around the new audio recommendations feature in NoveList, available with NoveList Plus, and the Audio Characteristics appeal terms they developed for that purpose. But the discussion ranged far and wide and was peppered with a lot of excellent advice.

For instance, remember that your ear cannot skim content that your eyes might skip over. While this may seem like a reference to slogging your way through a long dreary text, the real point here was about the reader’s sensitivity to content. With audiobooks, it can be especially important to assess a listener’s tolerance for foul language, violence, sexual content, or even more particular things like children getting hurt or misogynistic language. It isn’t as easy to skim past or skip over difficult content in the audiobook format.

Another suggestion was that full cast audio plays can be an excellent recommendation for families who are traveling together by car for the summer. A good western or adventure tale with a full cast, sound effects, and good production values can keep all ages engaged and amused. But be wary of how sound effects might impact drivers. A thrilling cops and robbers tale can get a little too exciting for mom or dad when the sound of a siren comes blaring out of the stereo.

Appeal Characteristics for Audiobooks

It was exciting to hear that NoveList has taken the time to develop a rich set of appeal terms (34 to be exact) around audio characteristics. These are listed at the end of their downloadable guide to appeal terms. These terms can be used to group together or help delineate audiobooks in a way that is relevant to how listeners experience narration and production along with the more traditional plot, tone, writing style, etc. Whether used within the bounds of NoveList or just kept on hand as a ready way for any librarian to discuss audiobooks with patrons, they are a fascinating and potentially useful list.

“Detached”, for instance, refers to narration that is “emotionally removed from the story” and can ask the reader to do more of the emotional work or interpretation of the novel. Remember that the audio appeal characteristics refer to the narration style and not to the emotional content of the book as a whole. Audiobooks with a “detached” narrative style can be especially good for book clubs. The panelists suggested Night by Elie Wiesel as read by George Guidall as an example of an effective use of this narrative style.

Audiobook RA Resources

The panel also listed several of the key places to go to keep up to date on quality audiobooks. Of course there’s a bit of a bias towards resources curated or sponsored by organizations represented on the panel, but these are still some excellent places to scan for keeping up with current audiobook trends.

The Listen List – A yearly list from ALA’s RUSA of 12 excellent audiobook titles including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays, each presented with a description of their appeal and several listen-alikes.

AudioFile Earphones AwardsAn ongoing recognition of the best audiobook narration in current tiles published in the AudioFile magazine and available on their website.

Audie Awards – Sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association, these awards recognize “distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment”. Both the winners and finalists from past years can be found on their website.

AudiobookRex.com – A new website from AudioFile that is updated weekly with a curated list of select audiobook reviews. One especially nice feature is a little button at the top of the page that brings you to a list of categories, including Top Picks, for easy browsing. It’s a ready way to bite off a manageable chunk of the most current audiobooks.

Throughout the month of May students from UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies will be posting their best Readers’ Advisory tips to the RAIG blog!

Providing LGBT Reader’s Advisory Services

Today’s guest blogger is Amanda Wanner, the Library Coordinator for Qmunity’s Out on the Shelves Library and an MLIS student at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.

An average-looking teenage girl approaches the reference desk, and shyly asks, “do you have any novels with bisexual girls?” Quick! What do you do? Do you rattle off the first (or maybe the only) book you can think of? (“Have you tried Annie on my Mind”?) Do you give the patron a blank stare? Does your body language look welcoming and casual, or do you tense up and give the impression that you are uncomfortable?

Based on a landmark 2005 study of public libraries in Vancouver1, a surprising number of librarians handled a similar query with devastating incompetence. In this study, a confederate patron (a high school girl) asked 20 different library reference desks, “I am planning to start a club at my high school. A gay-straight alliance. What books do you have that could help me out?” Some of the worst responses to the reference request included blank stares, raised eyebrows, walking away in the middle of the reference interview, tense body language, and making disparaging remarks about the topic.

The study reported:

Despite the fact that the reference desks were not busy, it seemed to Angela [the confederate patron] that many librarians wanted to conclude this “non-routine” interaction as soon as possible. In three cases, Angela recorded that once the librarians clarified that she wanted gay and lesbian materials, they became even more rushed, despite the fact that no customers were waiting. During the interviews, two librarians uttered what Angela considered were disparaging remarks about her topic: one referred to gay and lesbian-related fiction as “weird fiction,” while another said that she had moved teen gay and lesbian fiction to another location so the library “wouldn’t offend anyone.” (Curry, 2005, p. 70).

Given this history, is it any surprise that LGBT patrons may not feel comfortable approaching a reference desk? For members of a historically marginalized community, approaching a reference desk to ask about LGBT-related items takes courage. Sure, we live in Canada, where we have made great strides for gay and lesbian civil rights. But civil rights battles for trans* rights are still ongoing, and changing minds and attitudes in some areas will take time. The study quoted above was conducted in 2005. How do librarians today deal with LGBT questions? Have things gotten better?

As a specialised genre, many do not know how to find LGBT materials. It’s easy to consult a booklist, or rattle off the one or two popular LGBT titles that come to mind (“I bet we have a copy of Boy Meets Boy somewhere…”) – and cross your fingers that the patron isn’t looking for something more specific.

But here’s the dirty truth: LGBT books are not a monolith group, and nor are the members that belong to it. In fact, if you look carefully, you will find that LGBT literature is a robust genre, ranging from poetry and essays by sex workers to campy lesbian novels to gender variant young adult novels. Many of these wonderful books, in fact, are carried by our public libraries, but can get lost in the catalogue, buried by inappropriate or offensive LC subject headings.

Are you prepared to provide reader’s advisory services for wide-ranging queries such as:

  • “I’m looking for a good young adult book with a gender variant character. What should I read?”
  • “I think I might be bisexual! Do you know of any good books that star a bisexual character?”
  • “My son has started cross-dressing. Do you have a good book that deals with transgender youth?”
  • “I’m looking for a campy lesbian mystery novel. Do you have any, preferably something really recent?”

Don’t freak out! Resources abound to help you navigate this tricky genre!

Book awards

One of the best ways to keep abreast of recent developments in queer literature is to consult the “Lammys” (Lambda Literary Awards), the largest and most visible awards given in queer literature. Competition categories are highly varied and specific, making it a great source for reader’s advisory research. Prizes are awarded in areas as diverse as “lesbian erotica”, “bisexual fiction”, “transgender fiction”, and “LGBT speculative fiction”, to name a few.

Other notable awards for LGBT literature include:

Booklists, blogs, tumblr…

Using social media is key to keeping on top of new developments in LGBT literature. The breadth of blogs, tumblrs, and booklists online is extensive and overwhelming, so I’ll just name a couple of key spots here. This list is by no means comprehensive!

Publishers

Looking at recent publications from LGBT-friendly publishers (especially local ones) is another great way to stay on top of the literature. A few good local publishers to keep an eye on include:

For more, see Lambda Literary’s list of LGBT Publishers and LGBT-friendly Publishers.

User generated content

Bibliocommons

One of the best ways to navigate LGBT literature is to go straight to the source. How do patrons themselves describe these books? User-generated tags and lists ensure that similar items are grouped together by the population actually reading the materials, and help sidestep the issue of inappropriate or outdated LC cataloguing.

For example, when looking up Zoe Whittall’s novel Holding Still for a Long as Possible in the VPL’s Bibliocommons, the LC subject headings listed for the book are (as of the date of this writing):

These headings aren’t very useful if you’re trying to find a queer-related book! However, patrons reading the book have tagged it as:

  • transgender
  • ftm
  • glbt
  • glbtq
  • lesbian
  • lgbt
  • trans*

What a goldmine! As you can see, using tags has the benefit of allowing users to use their own language to describe books as the language changes, but because tags aren’t a controlled vocabulary, there can also be some repetition or redundancy. That’s okay! Clicking any of these tags brings up a dynamite list of other related books that users have also tagged.

Goodreads

Finally, use a social media site created specifically for bibliophiles, such as Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari. On Goodreads – my site of choice – users can add books to “shelves” (aka add public tags), which are a good way to check whether others have pegged a book as LGBT. The “listopia” function is another way to find similar books based on different characteristics of the book. Users are able to create lists, add to them, and vote on the most relevant titles, making them highly flexible, diverse, and comprehensive.

Making Changes at YOUR Library

When thinking about reader’s advisory services at your library, always include LGBT content. Why? Even if you never see them, LGBT patrons live in every community. If LGBT patrons are not visible in your library, it may be because they do not feel welcome, not that they do not live in the area.

What can your library do to serve the LGBT community?

  • Try creating displays of books that are visible and prominent. Displays that are outdated, placed in unused corners – or worse, completely absent in the first place! – sends a message about the types of services your library offers.
  • Train staff to handle LGBT reader’s advisory questions with sensitivity and tact (including information about pronoun usage, gender neutral bathrooms, and the diversity of LGBT books available).
  • Create a reader’s advisory booklist/manual for patrons with robust LGBT suggestions. Many patrons who are interested in LGBT materials will never approach the reference desk in the first place. Providing anonymous, asynchronous, or self-serve options are critical for this population.

Looking for more information? Check out the LGBT reader’s advisory manual I created for the Out on the Shelves Library at Qmunity, where I am currently the Library Coordinator.

1. Curry, A. (2005). If I Ask , Will They Answer?: Evaluating Public Library Reference Service to Gay and Lesbian Youth. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 45(1), 65–75.

Throughout the month of May students from UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies will be posting their best Readers’ Advisory tips to the RAIG blog!