Category Archives: RA Tools

Learn about Loan Stars in March 9 Webinar

loanstars2For those of you interested in the Loan Stars program, they are offering a free webinar this Wed, March 9 from 10-10:30am (Vancouver time) to give you the low down on how to participate in Loan Stars:

Join BookNet Canada to learn everything you need to know to participate in Loan Stars, the new readers’ advisory service fueled by voting library staff across the country. Plus, get a guided tour of CataList, the online catalogue tool where Loan Stars voting takes place, to discover how to get the most out of your account, including accessing digital galleys, ordering books, exporting MARC records, and more.

This is a good opportunity to learn more if you’ve signed up for Loan Stars with enthusiasm, but stalled in the actual process of reading and selecting your upcoming favourite titles.

-Meghan S, Surrey Libraries

 

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Surrey Libraries Launched Diverse Books Challenge for Staff

piles of books.jpgThe January 2016 What Are You Reading blog post about Reading Challenges inspired us at Surrey Libraries to launch a staff challenge. We had been discussing ways in which we can encourage more diversity in our own reading habits and help our Surrey Libraries Book Blog be more reflective of the Surrey community. Therefore, we launched the Surrey Libraries Diverse Books Challenge for Staff!

This is a fun, optional reading challenge adapted from this tumblr post, which was inspired by the We Need Diverse Books movement. We are encouraging Surrey Libraries staff to read and submit reviews to the Surrey Libraries Books Blog for a chance to win prizes.

Here’s how it works:

1)      Participation is 100% voluntary

2)      Read books fitting one, two, or several of the criteria below. Read one book, read two books, read green books, read blue books. Feel emboldened to read books that fit more than one of the below criteria – intersectionality is encouraged!

3)      Write a short review for the Surrey Libraries Book Blog and email it to Meghan S. Mention that your book was read by participating in the “Surrey Libraries: We Read Diverse Books Challenge” and your name will be entered in a prize draw for a gift card.

4)      A draw slip will be entered for every review.

5)      The challenge is launching March 7th and ends May 8th

6)      Happy spring reading!

 

Challenge Criteria

  1. Surrey author
  2. Book translated from one of the top 5 unofficial languages of Surrey (i.e. Punjabi, Mandarin, Tagalog, Hindi, or Korean)
  3. BC author
  4. Canadian author
  5. Author of colour
  6. Female author
  7. First Nations author
  8. Graphic novel by a female author or author of colour
  9. Immigrant perspective
  10. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer) – protagonist or author
  11. Mixed race author
  12. Over age of 70 – protagonist or author
  13. Physical disability or chronic illness – protagonist or author
  14. Positive portrayal of main character living with mental illness
  15. Exploration of a refugee experience
  16. Under 20 but written for the adult market – protagonist or author

We’re excited to hear about people’s diverse reading experiences!

-Meghan S, Naomi E, & Jenny F at Surrey Libraries

RAIG is Reaching Out

Glyph_Logo_pngImages are a powerful means of communication. Somewhat ironically, pictures are increasingly used to connect fans of 1000s of words (books). Instagram is an popular platform for bookish images as Jennifer Streckmann discussed previously on this blog. The Readers’ Advisory Interest Group (RAIG) began posting images on Instagram at the end of 2015. You can find us @bclaraig.

Join us by tagging your library’s bookish photos on Instagram with #WhatAreYouReadingBC. Or use this hashtag to share what you are reading now.

RAIG aims to connect with our colleagues across BC in the Library profession. To reach out, RAIG will contribute to each issue of the BCLA Perspectives quarterly publication.

Our regular feature will be called “Titles to Talk About” and will promote three titles library staff can talk about with their patrons, friend, families and communities. We will promote a BC author in each feature. The intent is to pool our collective knowledge and give library staff across BC a chance to learn about titles to recommend in a brief, easy to use format.  Library staff will be able to broaden their knowledge regardless of their own reading interests or geographic location.

We are starting with the first-ever RAIG: titles to talk about piece by Shelley Wilson-Roberts published on February 1, 2016 in Volume 8 Issue 1.

 

RA in a Day Genre Guides

Every year at our RA in a Day workshop we run “Speed-Dating Through the Genres”, brief ten-minute long presentations about various genres of books. The presenters also create printable guides to the genres, which you can find right here on our website! We now have almost twenty different genres covered, so check them out!

This year we added four new genres, the handouts and presentations for which you can find below. Thanks to the presenters who created these guides and presentations!

Classics for English Language Learners by Anna Ferri

Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic Fiction by Sarah Dearman

Feminist Memoirs by Stephanie Hong

Personal Finance by Jenny Fry

The Challenge of Reading Challenges

Our library celebrates its 150th birthday this year, and as a gift to the community we created a book of 150 reading challenges, which replaced the Adult Summer Reading club we have done in previous years. Our intention was to create a marketing piece for the library that would showcase our collections and share our enthusiasm with everyone who uses the library.  Erin Watkins, our Manager of Programs and Community Development, was instrumental in getting this off the ground.  Thanks, Erin!

This is what we discovered while putting the booklet together:

150_RC_Slide

 

Many hands make light work. We had staff from multiple areas of the library contribute ideas for the challenges, but we had one person compile them. This allowed for diverse interests, collection areas and material types, which we hoped would appeal to a broader range of our community. The challenges were meant to encompass all aspects of our library’s collection in as many formats as possible to inspire people to move beyond their tried and true reading, viewing, and listening habits. Literacy is not just about books, and having the challenges touch on multiple formats will give people a chance to explore areas of the library that they may have previously ignored or been uninterested in. Having staff from all over the library contribute really helped set the groundwork for the challenges. Having one staff member compile the results was a way to ensure we kept to task and made it to our goal of 150 challenges – one for each year the library has been in existence.

Enthusiasm helps! Staff enthusiasm for a project like this helps us all see how diverse our colleagues and their interests are, which makes the workplace a fun place to be. It also means that we are better able to use that knowledge in a readers’ advisory situation because if we don’t share the reading interests of the patron in front of us, we can certainly find someone who does.

More heads are better than one. Collaborative work meant that wrangling 150 challenges into a semblance of order so they could be put into a booklet was much more effective. It also established a way for us to riff off each other’s ideas and build on each other’s work. One of the most exciting aspects of this format meant we could move beyond the familiar territory of the Adult Summer Reading club booklist and offer book bingo, a crossword puzzle, and a drawing challenge as well.

We have built in social media components in terms of a section of the challenge being called “Share” where we encourage community members to share their challenges with us on social media, and we have already had some really fun contributions for community members.

NWPL Instagram

If you are thinking of doing something similar at your library, don’t hesitate! Not only will it reinvigorate your passion for connecting with library users, but it will empower you to learn even more about the collection in your own library and inspire your own reading/viewing/listening habits. We can’t wait for the conversations we’re going to have with our library users: in the stacks, at the desk, on social media – all about what we love to watch, read, and listen to. It’s going to be a great summer!

What are your plans for adult summer reading inspiration at your library? Comment below so we can all be inspired!

Shelley Wilson-Roberts is the Public Services Librarian II at the New Westminster Public Library.

Listen On…How Audiobooks can help you with RA

So much to read, so little time! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed attempting to keep up with fiction and non-fiction. I regularly take stacks of books home each week but can only manage to read a portion of them. Of course, I read reviews, browse our incoming New Books section and talk to patrons about books. But, for me, one of the best ways to keep up with reading is … to listen to books.

Early on in my library career, a wise colleague named Elfriede suggested that I listen to audiobooks as a way to acquaint myself with popular authors that I didn’t read. It had never occurred to me to listen to an audiobook. I loved reading; why would I want to listen to a book? Like many patrons, I associated audiobooks with people who didn’t like reading or couldn’t read because of vision problems.

Elfriede suggested that I could listen to genres that I didn’t usually read or books that didn’t appeal to me. I took her advice and checked out my first audiobook – Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.   While Sebold’s book was popular at the time, I had no interest in reading it. I thought I‘d listen to the book for a while to get an idea of what it was like and then stop – ready to function more ably as a reader’s advisor. I started the novel on my drive home from work one evening. When I got home I couldn’t leave the car. I kept listening. The narrator, Alyssa Bresnahan, was mesmerizing. I felt like she was reading the book to me; I was hooked.

Alice Sebold

Before I started listening to books, I was one of the few librarians I knew who didn’t really like mysteries and thrillers. Now, after starting listening to books to increase my reader’s advisory ability, I devour mystery series. Just like I look forward to the latest Richard Ford or Miriam Toews in print, I can’t wait for the latest Flavia DeLuce mystery by Alan Bradley in audio. Other favourites include Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series, anything by Denise Mina, Ken Bruen, James Lee Burke or Lee Child.

louise Penny

I’ve become attached to certain narrators. I’ll listen to anything read by Simon Vance (Peter May’s Enzo files or Chris Ewan’s Good Thief’s Guide mysteries), George Guidall (from Lillian Jackson Braun’s cat cozies to Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme thrillers) and the inimitable Barbara Rosenblat (especially the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters). I’ve joked that Ralph Cosham, who is Louise Penny’s Gamache to me, could read the cereal box and I would keep listening. Audiobooks read by narrators with accents are especially appealing as the story and characters are so enriched. The Help by Kathryn Stockett, read by multiple narrators, is one of my favourite ‘listens’ – and a book that I didn’t really want to read. I think the audio version is better than the book. An AudioFile reviewer noted that “audio is THE way to be inside this story, brilliantly cast with four voices…[the narrator’s] musical speech and emotional connection to the characters are riveting.” Generally, I stay away from author-read titles. But Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please and Tina Fey’s Bossypants, both read by the author, are not to be missed.

Tina Fey

I find it quite difficult to recommend books I haven’t read. Similarly, it’s tricky to find author read-alikes if you haven’t read the original author. Listening to audiobooks can help you differentiate your James Patterson’s from your David Baldacci’s. Haven’t read Janet Evanovich – and don’t plan to! – listen to the fabulous C.J. Critt or, for more recent titles, Lorelei King narrate the witty travails of Stephanie Plum.

Audiobooks are the perfect companion for any activity. At the library, I am constantly trying to promote audiobooks as an alternative to reading. After a busy work day, being read to rather than reading is a soothing way to end your day.  You can suggest patrons use the automatic shut off feature of their phone or iPod if they say that they fall asleep listening to books. Commuting is, perhaps, the best opportunity to listen to books. For those who can’t read on a bus suggest listening instead. Road trips and audiobooks are like chocolate and peanut butter – they go together!

I guarantee that you will not regret listening to an audiobook. It will  provide you with a broader base to provide reader’s advisory services – for every 1 print book that I finish I probably listen to 2-3 audiobooks. You may even become an audiobook zealot like me!

For audiobook reviews and more go to: audiofilemagazine.com.
Look for the monthly Earphones Award winners, Audie Award winners (annual award for outstanding audiobooks) and audiobook reviews.

Stephanie Crosbie is an auxiliary librarian at the New Westminster Public Library.  Her nose (or ears) are frequently stuck in a good book!

Librarians’ Choice at Burnaby Public Library

Avid readers are always looking for good reading recommendations. In the age of internet, social media, and sites like Goodreads, you might think that the opinions of librarians wouldn’t be of much interest to library users but, of course, the opposite is true. It’s important for librarians to recognize this and position themselves as a preferred source of inspired reading recommendations.

When I started working at the McGill branch of Burnaby Public Library several years ago, then Library Manager Barbara Jo May had been doing a book recommendation program for a couple of years, similar to her “Ain’t on the Globe and Mail Bestsellers List” sessions at BCLA conferences. Librarians delivered fast-paced reviews of recommended reads. I participated as a newbie to booktalking, and when Barabara Jo left I carried on coordinating the program.

We decided to call the program “Librarians’ Choice”. We use four librarians (including Information Clerks sometimes) and cover about twenty books in an evening. Each book review is about two minutes. Some popular titles are included, but the focus is more on the “under the radar” books that might otherwise be missed.

Two librarians start off and alternate, then we break for refreshments which gives staff a chance to chat with the attendees, then the next two librarians go on. We provide a booklist so the audience can follow along, and we have often observed patrons madly taking notes. We put display books in the room, and encourage people to browse and talk. The program takes ninety minutes, usually 7 pm to 8:30 pm and we pre-register.

I coordinated this program for four years at the McGill branch. The loyal following that Barbara Jo built up early on continued to grow. Our turnouts would range from 30 to 40 plus, with our International Mysteries evening going viral! Some events were themed — for example: Varieties of Love, Historical, Thrills and Adventure, Real Reads (non-fiction). But many events were a generic selection of mostly fiction with some non-fiction as well and promoted with reference to the seasons: Fall into Books; Winter Reads; Spring into Summer.

BPL-touch-of-mysteryWhen I moved to the Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch a year ago, I discovered that the reading tastes are a little less eclectic than at McGill. Metrotown readers *love* mysteries, so we have so far hosted two mystery evenings at Metrotown, the first one also went viral so we had a full house; the second attracted 30 plus avid mystery readers. We are planning another mystery evening in the fall, and will try a general one in November. We are also planning to include DVD recommendations in at least some of our events. Librarians’ Choice also continues by popular demand at McGill with new librarians coordinating.

It is really gratifying to see people return to the library with their Librarians’ Choice lists as they read their way through the recommended titles. There is a real eagerness to get the inside scoop on what library staff are reading, and I think this is part of the appeal of this type of program. Also, avid readers just enjoy being at an event where something they love doing is celebrated.

And here is a little inspiration for library staff: I was on the Information Desk one day and a woman approached me and said “I just wanted to tell you how much I love the book events that you do. Reading is a solitary, introverted activity, and your events create community among readers.” Wow!

Georgina Flynn is the First Floor Information Desk Supervisor at Bob Prittie Metrotown Branch,
Burnaby Public Library