Thursday, April 20, 2017

Week 16 Post

First, how have reading and books changed since you were a child, for you specifically? Second, talk a little about what you see in the future for reading, books, or publishing - say 20 years from now. Will we read more or less, will our reading become more interactive? What will happen to traditional publishing? This is  a very free-form question, feel free to wildly extrapolate or calmly state facts, as suits your mood!

Answer 1.
Libraries have been part of my life since I was a child.  My grandmother, a nurse by trade, volunteered at the library of my elementary school.  When I was in late elementary/early junior high my mother worked at different elementary school library.  My aunt worked at a public library.  My grandmother was an avid and quick reader of mysteries and it was common for her to place several inter-library loans per week for many years.  None of my family, except for me, have any library degrees, however they loved working at libraries.  So, with so many family members involved with libraries you can say that libraries are in my DNA.  LOL.

As a child I would often go to my elementary library to get books, especially in the summer.  I was involved in sports and other activities, however my family made sure I was exposed to and spent time at the library.  I enjoyed and still feel the excitement of reading a new story. 

As I got older my love of libraries and reading were not as prevalent, especially in junior high and high school.  I was involved in more sports, activities, and with the increase in homework reading for enjoyment took a backseat.  In college library visits were for homework purposes.  Add in a job or two with homework and the library became a place for studying and doing homework.

When I graduated with an undergrad degree in Art and Education and received a state teaching license I was ready to teach.  However, vacant art teaching job were not available.  So, I saw a job add for the library evening circulation supervisor at Calumet College of St. Joseph.  I got the job and started substitute teaching at the same time.  After a few months of the substitute teaching jobs in the daytime and my library evening job was getting to be too much for me.  I wanted a full time job with health insurance and other benefits.  So, after speaking to the library director JoAnn Arnold she told me to give her two weeks before looking for a new job.  Within that time, she was able to get me promoted to full time with the understanding that my new position would include her teaching me how to copy catalog and that would also be in charge of the audio visual equipment in the library.  JoAnn said that she has noticed that I am adapting very well to the academic library environment, have a knack with audio visual equipment, and that my teaching skills have come in handy many times.  This was the start of my library career path.

To make a long story short, over the next 15 years I advanced to the standings of administrative staff aka assistant director.  I was in charge of circulation, cataloged copy and original materials, head of audio visual equipment and did reference help one-on-one and in large classroom groups.  However, something was missing.  I needed the MLS degree.  Even with all my years of on the job training I still learned an incredible amount of helpful and priceless information in graduate school at IUPUI…I am graduating in May!!!!!  To expand my horizons, I am currently working in a public library. 

Getting back to my relationship with books.  In junior high when I got the chance to read I would go to the local library or bookstore.  In high school I spent a lot of time at the comic book store.  I could have saved a lot of money if I had only known about inter-library loans from my local library.  In college my time was so consumed with school and work that casual reading was few and far in-between.  However, after college I began working in the library and began reading more and more.  Now-a-days I read when I get the time.  Some of the hard copy novels have been replaced by my e-reader.  With graduation within view I already have a large stack of books with more books being added to it that I am ready to jump into.  

Answer Two.

20 years from now when the world is taken over by the Borg there will be no need for libraries.  All essential books will already be coded into our collective. Resistance is futile…..Ok, that is not true or is it? Oh’ just beam me up!  LOL.

Seriously, with current technology and how quickly technology is changing the future of libraries, books, and publishing will be continuously evolving organisms.  As time has passed so has the way that books are seen by the consumer, the publisher, and the library.  At one time books were hard and expensive to produce and regulated to only the wealthy and religious leaders.  When Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press in 1450 the world changed.  Printed materials could be printed quicker and less expensive than by hand copying (Landis, 2012).  More and more people learned how to read and it went from text mainly about and for religious and governmental institution to being enjoyed by the common person.

Libraries started out in ancient times as part of the private collection of the wealthy and powerful people.  One of the first libraries was by King Ashurbanipal (668 BC to 627 BC.).  He was a powerful and just king to his people and prided himself in his vast collection of clay tables.  He would invite his friends to borrow materials from his library.  Of course, ruining a clay tablet was a lot more serious than leaving a book out in the rain and the punishment was far worse than having to purchase a book.  However, this shows how important knowledge and reading materials were in ancient times (Mingren, 2016).

As time flew by libraries went from subscription libraries where they collected dues from its members to eventually free (tax funded) public libraries.  As the types of libraries changed, so did the reason of the libraries.  Books are still an important part of the library structure however other types of mediums have joined them including magazines, audio books, DVDs, etc. Also add in more community programs the library setting has evolved.  

Publishers have also evolved with libraries.  Vendors work with multiple publishers to bring different books, periodicals, audio, video, and interactive resources to library patrons.

So, where do I think books, libraries, and publishers will be in 20 years?  A better way to look at it is what do I want these three to be like in 20 years?  Let's start with the physical library buildings.  Libraries will become functional works of artistic architecture.  The buildings will bring pride to their community.  The buildings will house physical books, periodicals, video games, and other kinds of research and entertainment items.  The physical library will be an integral part of the community.  It will offer rooms for programs, a holodeck, advanced research areas, different kinds of entertainment venues, and wonderful archive museums.

Books will be available physically and through e-downloads.  Banning books from a library is illegal.  Every book will have an audio book version available through the library.    

Libraries have become part of a national organization that includes museums and national archives.  All the books and archives in all the worlds' libraries, accessible papers in national government archives, and artifacts including 3D pieces in all the worlds' museums have been scanned.  Library patrons can accesses these text via screen displays (high tech tables) and can project crisp 3D holograms of artifacts.

Publishers have accepted that charging high costs for books and academic databases is cheating the world of knowledge.  They are hiding valuable information from the world.  So, after a year all books and articles automatically become free public domain.

The librarian is a highly regarded profession.  Everyone has had to go to a library or ask a librarian for help in their studies at some point in their lives.  So, all people have realized that without the help of librarians there would be no doctors, lawyers, world leaders, and other professions.  All people have also realized that libraries have entertained them with countless hours of enjoyment.  With this realization a much higher pay grade for professional librarians is achieved (hopefully this one does not take 20 years.  LOL).

OK, maybe my version of a library is a bit far-fetched for 20 years in the future.  But I have hope.

Good Luck to everyone in their future library careers!

Cited sources
 Landis, L. (2012). The gutenberg press.  Oregon University Libraries.  Retrieved from
Mingren, W. (2016). Ashurbanipal: The oldest surviving royal library in the world with over 30,000 clay tablets. Ancient Origins.  Retrieved from

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 15 Prompt

What do you think are the best ways to market your library's fiction collection? Name and describe three ways you do or would like to market your library or your future library's fiction. These can be tools, programs, services, displays - anything that you see as getting the word out.

First, I would start low-tech and low cost.  Those in charge of the library and their superiors love low cost options.  Creating a display of books, audio books, and/or DVDs can be very simple as placing books on a table with a sign.  It can be elaborated with posters, banners, colors, lights, and even a unique display set up.  I feel the key to a great library display is that it needs to be eye catching and located in an area of high foot traffic, such as near the front doors, circulation desk, and even the washrooms.

Below are several books displays I found on Pinterest. 

A fun idea for Halloween.  This is not practical for patrons to check out the books.  However, the library would use book sale books for the props and then put horror themed books, DVDs, graphic novels, and audio books next to them. 

This display would catch your attention or you would walk right into it!  J This 3D display may or may not work with your library depending on space, but is a great idea for getting noticed.  

This is a great idea.  Patrons can pose behind display.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles could take pictures of their loved ones as superheroes.  Even us comic book nerds would think that this is fun.  Take a large box, trace the outline, color, and cut out the whole for the heard.  Fun and very low cost.  Place a table of graphic novels and super hero movies next to the display. 

My next set of ideas is to go more high-tech, but also keeping the cost low.  For my Audio Visual class this semester I created a video advertising the new location of my library’s graphic novel section.  I wrote an outline of the script and did all the videotaping and editing myself.  I used YouTube video editor to edit the video.  If I had more time I would have downloaded free editing software and learned how to use it.  I wanted my video to start out on a serious suspenseful note and then turn really wacky.  It took many takes and editing.  Here is the video I created:

With countless people use the internet on a daily basis the library can use it to advertise, alert, and teach their patrons.  Libraries are creating blogs, vlogs, screen captures, and webpages. For my Audio Visual class, I also created a video game event to coincide with this year’s International Video Game Week.  I made up the library (named after my dog).  Here is the URL:

For my History of the Book and Genealogy classes I created a website about the history of my library’s building, mural, and nature walk.  I also added more content to cover the history of the towns three library buildings.  Here is the URL:

The last suggestion I have is very low tech, but effective.  The library can use fliers, word of mouth, and newspapers

When a patron come to the library’s circulation desk to check out books the library worker can inform the patron that they are putting a flier inside one of the books highlighting the previous month’s new fiction and non-fiction books.  These fliers can also be hung up at local community centers, schools, and businesses.  

When the reference desk is helping a patron locate a novel by a certain author they can inform the person that the library has other books by the same author available.

The local newspaper has a community bulletin section.  The library can advertise upcoming programs, activities, and information.    

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 14 Prompt.


Consider yourself part of the collection management committee of your local library, or a library at which you would like to work. You must decide whether or not to separate GBLTQ fiction and African American Fiction from the general collection to its own special place. Some patrons have requested this, yet many staff is uncomfortable with the idea - saying it promotes segregation and disrupts serendipitous discovery of an author who might be different from the reader. Do you separate them? Do you separate one and not the other? Why or why not? You must provide at least 3 reasons for or against your decision. Feel free to use outside sources - this is a weighty question that is answered differently in a lot of different libraries.


I will answer this question in two parts.  The first part will be the point of view of the library I work at and my experiences working there and the second part will be my opinion if I worked at a different library.

Part 1.  The library that I work at has a mixture of ultra conservative and more open minded staff.  The problem lies in that the ultra conservative staff members express their personal opinions (especially considering sex topics in general and LGBTQ) about what is ordered.  They do not always think of the patron base.  For example, I ordered the book "Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer" by Tracy Baim.  After I catalogued the book it went on the new book shelf and then disappeared.  There is no record of it being checked out.  Was it stolen by a patron? Maybe. But why would a patron steal this biography?

Another example is recently the book called "This Book is Gay" by James Dawson was on my desk to be cataloged.  I found this strange, because there is already a record in the system that I catalogued the book earlier this year.  When I asked the YA Librarian what happened to the other copy she told me that it is missing.  It went from the new book shelves to missing and she is tired of this happening.  So, when I catalog this book again it is skipping the new book shelve and going right into the YA section.

It sounds like I am accusing a certain staff member or two of removing these books.  Don't get me wrong I do not have any evidence nor am I going to blame someone(s) who may be innocent.  However, it just seems strange that LGBTQ books seem to go missing quickly after being out on the new book shelf.  However, the stuff that skips the new book shelves and is put directly into the YA section is still there. 

The question is: is there a need for LGBTQ material in my library?  The answer is yes, especially in YA.  The YA librarian has told me that several of the teens in her programs have requested materials on LGBTQ and the materials that she orders is checked out.
So, will my library allow a LGBTQ section in the library? Sadly, I strongly feel that bringing up even doing a simple display of LGBTQ materials at a full library staff meeting would ruffle some seriously narrow mined feathers.  I already caused an issue last year and a separation of staff opinions when I ordered the graphic novels "Sex Criminals" by Chip Zdarsky and "Motel Art Improvement Service" by Jason Little.  These two books were discussed in several monthly staff meetings that actually ended up in a final heated shouting match.  The director saw merit in these books and left them on the shelf until a staff member checked it out and kept on renewing them until she was told to return the books.  Then she finally did a formal complaint and filled out the book challenge form.  From there the books have been removed from the shelves. 

What about a separate section for African American materials?  The library does not have a lot of materials on the subject nor does it have a strong African American patron base.  We maybe get one black person a month in the library and the school children seem to only ask for reference materials on black singers. So, there does not seem to a need for a separate section.

Part 2.  If I worked at a different library in some other city I could imagine having a separate section for LGBTQ and African American Fiction if there is a need for it.  There should be enough books, a strong patron base, and available space as the three reasons to separate fiction books into these two sections.

In my opinion it does not matter if it is possibly controversial genres like LGBTQ and African American Literature or more common genres like mysteries and science fiction; I feel that there needs to be enough interest in patron requests and circulation numbers in order to make these two or any genre a separate section of the library.  For example, for a class assignment way back when I started grad school (I am graduating this May!) I shadowed a reference librarian in a mid-large city library that has a strong African American patron base.  They have a lot of fiction books on this genre, so they created a separate section of the library for these books.  I was told that these books are among the top circulated items in the library.  Then the library separated their Harlequin novel featuring black characters onto a separate display near the security officer's desk.  Why? Because these are the top stolen book genre from the library. So, there is strong patron base for African American literature and the library filled it by separating the books into a separate genre and in return made it easier on their patrons to find these books.  

LGBTQ: Sunstone


Written by Stjepan Šejić
First published in 2014

To just look at the cover and thumb quickly through the pages one would think that this book is about kinky sex and they would not be wrong. However, the story is so much more than simple beautiful art with bondage. It is a beautiful story about two lesbian women who have wanted to, but never have acted out their sexual fantasy roles of a dominatrix and a submissive. They meet on-line and over the course of a couple of months become friends. When they decided to finally meet and play the BDSM roles they are nervous, unsure, scared, and excited at the same time. That is what makes this such a great story. It is not a story about sex. It is a story about how their lesbian relationship started out as just fulfilling a fantasy and developed into a deep friendship and love for each other outside the bedroom.  


The two lead characters, Ally and Lisa, are written in a realistic way.  They are lesbians, but are not portrayed as stereotypes.  The fact that they are lesbians are not an issue in this story.  There are a couple of scenes were people act smug or negative about their life choices, but this is quickly dismissed as a passing rude comment. 

Before their first in-person date they are both experiencing the typical emotions of excitement, fear, dread, happiness, and hopefulness that most people experience when meeting someone for the first time.  As the story progresses they develop deep meaningful emotions for each other. 

The BDSM scenes are not violent or dark. In their roles Ally is the Dom in the relationship, however even then she is not truly in charge. She is nervous and unsure of her role.  Outside of the game the two woman are equals in a loving relationship.

The art work helps to add to the realism of this story.  The women are not drawn like exaggerated caricature models.  Nor are their bodies drawn in a negative stereotypical lesbian way where one woman is more masculine than the other one.  They are both drawn like real women.  Sometimes they are in sexy lingerie and other times are wearing over-sized sweat pants and t-shirts.
The tone of the story changes depending on the scene.  Sometimes it is fun and erotic when the ladies are participating in their BDSM roles.  Other times it is relaxed and romantic as they are cuddling on the couch watching television or playing video games.  Still at other moments they are anxious, confused, and happy when they are thinking about each other and where their relationship is going. 

The story is about two women who are lesbians.  Their sexuality does not define who they are; it is a part of who they are.  They are sexually curious women who start a BDSM relationship that developed beyond their sexual needs.  They develop a friendship that turns into love for each other.   

The story uses the BDSM life style to show a kinky side to their lesbian relationship.  It is the reason the two meet, but is not the main point of the story.  The developing relationship and emotions between Ally and Lisa is the core reason for the story.

The story continues in volume 2 with more attention paid to the developing relationship between Ally and Lisa and less about their sexual exploits.  

This is a graphic novel and uses word bubbles and the inner monologue boxes very effectively. The banter between the different characters flow nicely.  The conversations do not seem rushed or forced in order to fit the scene. 

The inner monologue is used effectively to express additional emotions the characters are feeling.

Pacing: The story unfolds at a good pace. It can be wordy in spots and sparse in other areas allowing the art to tell the story.  It does not feel rushed or drawn out, however it is a quick read.

GoodReads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics in 2015. 

Goodreads gives it 4.41 stars out of 5.

Wendy Browne from Women Write About Comics states: “Scratch the surface of this book and you’ll find a heartwarming little story about friendship and romance.”

Jessica Camacho from Geeked Out Nation states: “Sunstone is heartfelt, honest, sexy and beautiful.”

Sunstone v.2-5 by Stjepan Šejić.

Jane's World Collection Volume 1 by Paige Braddock.

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh.

Dates! An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction edited by Zora Gilbert.

Love is Love by various writers and illustrators.

My Opinion and Second Opinions
This book could fall into several different genres or sub-genres, such as Women's Lives and Relationships and Erotica. I agree with the book falling into these other genres or sub-genres, however I find it to be more about the relationship of women who are lesbian.  I liked how the underlying message did not center only on Lisa and Ally being lesbians; nor did it center on their sexual adventures.  This book shows how their sexual preferences does not define them.  It is only one part of who they are.  In the end it is about two woman falling in love with each other.

As someone who is not part of the LGBTQ community I wanted to get some other opinions about the books, so I asked a few of my lesbian and bisexual friends who read comic books and manga to read this graphic novel.  Of course this is only their opinions.  They told me that they really enjoyed it because even though it is about lesbians it is not preachy or trying to prove an equal rights point. At the end of the day the book and my friends lives are not about standing up and announcing they are homosexual; it is about living life with the ones you love.   

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 13 prompt

The common belief is that adults still don't or shouldn't read that stuff. How can we as librarians, work to ensure that we are able to serve adults who enjoy YA literature or graphic novels? Or should we?

There is no doubt that as librarians and book lovers we should encourage adults to read YA and graphic novels in they want to.  There are two important steps to help serve adults in the YA genre and graphic novel format.  The first is to not be judgmental.  Adults can read any genre they chose.  It is based on their own taste, not the age of the reader.    

The young adult genre centers on stories about young adults characters.  It does have plenty of books with similar fantasy and romance themes like the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer to real life issues from books like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares.  The YA genre, like other book genres, has many sub-genres, such as historical fiction, humor, horror, science fiction, mystery, etc.  Sometimes YA stories have many sub-genres within the same story.

Graphic Novels and there readers can be stereotyped easily.  This is wrong.  The graphic novel format is a form of a written story told through words and images or a story told just through images.  Some graphic novels like the ones written and illustrated by Lynd Ward from block prints tell entire stories without a single written word.  His books, God's Man and Madman's Drum tell complex stories of love, hate, religion, life, death, government, industry, and society.  Other graphic novels like Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns are very wordy.  Since, graphic novels are a format and not a genre it can include stories about ALL genres and sub-genres. What makes someone want to read a graphic novel story is the same as a novel; it involves the six appeals of pacing, story line, characterization, frame/setting, tone/mood, and style language.  However, with graphic novels is another very important appeal: art.  The art style and story can separately make or break a graphic novel.  For full enjoyment the story has to have the appeals the patron wants to read and the art style that is pleasing to them.

The second important step with helping serve adults in the YA and graphic novel format is to do your research.  If YA, graphic novels, or any other genre or format is not part of your normal reading choices then as a librarian you will need to take time to learn about these different areas.  There are many ways to learn about different areas outside of your own genres.  You can read scholarly articles, read book reviews, talk with fellow librarians and books lovers about different types of books and possibly the most important way is to give other genres another chance.  With so many sub-genres available you may find a niche that you did not know you like.      

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 12 Prompt

    Haunted Indiana 3 by Mark Marimen
Published 2001 Thunder Bay Press.

Where is the book on the narrative continuum?
  • A mix (combines highly narrative moments with periods of fact-based prose)

What is the subject of the book?
  • The books contain ten true stories of haunted places in Indiana.  The locations are from all over the state. 

What type of book is it?
  • The book contains historical information about the specific haunted place in each chapter, including past owners and situations that led up to the reasons for the supposed hauntings.  The historical information is then followed by eye witness accounts and folklore about the hauntings. 

Articulate Appeal.
What is the pacing of the book?
  • This is a quick read.  Each chapter various between 15-20 pages.  This is a good pick up and read book in one sitting or a book that can be read in short sessions since each chapter tells a different independent story.

Describe the characters in the book.
  • The characters in the book differ based on the story.  Some are characters are Indians, police, hotel guest, school children, just the average country folks, etc.  Considering the limited number of pages for each story the book does a good job describing the people involved in the history of the location and the hauntings.  There is not a lot of details into the personalities of the people, but enough historical facts are given to breath life into the characters.  

How does the story feel?
  • It feels like a book of short horror stories about haunted places mixed with historical facts.  The stories do not fall into the true sense of Historical Fiction, because the characters and facts are all supposedly true; the stories  are very short, the language used is modern no matter the time frame, and the characterization of the people are not deeply involved.  However, it does have a very light overall feel of historical fiction. 

What is the Intent of the author?
  • The author wants to entertain and educate about different historical hauntings in the state of Indiana. Author Mark Marimen grew up and still lives in Indiana.  The last page of the book is a personal request from the author to contact him with more Indiana folklore that he can investigate, research, and write up in more volumes.  There is a volume 4.

What is the focus of the story?
  • The focus of the story is to present historical information about different haunted places in Indiana.  Each story starts out with historical facts and a description of the place followed by what events caused the haunting.

Does the language matter?
  • Yes, it is very important. It tells historical facts in a short story setting.  While there are dates and names of people involved in the events the book does not feels very academic.  The language is more in a narrative style.

Is the setting important and well described?
  • The settings are a major part of this books.  Considering the short number of pages, the settings are described nicely and adds to the eerie feeling of the book.

Are there details and, if so, of what?
  • There is an abundance of details in this book.  Each story has details about the location, people who lived there, eyewitness accounts, and the events surrounding the hauntings.  This includes dates, names of people involved in the event that caused the haunting, and what eyewitnesses have seen. 

Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials?  Are they useful and clear?
  • There are no graphs or charts.  However, there are a few photographs of tombstones and the outside of houses and buildings.

Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience?
  • The book explains in detail the haunted experiences that the eye witnesses have come in contact with. 

        Why would the reader enjoy this book?
  1.      Easy pick up and put down pacing of the stories.
  2.      Interesting facts about local history.
  3.      Feels like a books of short horror stories.   


Monday, March 27, 2017


The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo
By Amy Schumer
Published 2016

In this book Amy Schumer shows that she is more than a comedian who likes to talk about sex and degrade herself for a joke. She has lived a difficult life dealing with her parents’ divorces, her father's battle with the disease multiple sclerosis, helped mentally challenged people, has been in abusive relationships, and cares very deeply for her sister. These parts of the book are an insight into her personal life and how her experiences have shaped who she is and her strong opinions about people and life in general.

Characteristics of Nonfiction: Autobiography/Memoir

This book is less of an autobiography and more of a collection of memoirs with a few central themes.

There are chapter headings that explain the general overview of each chapter.  However, there are one or both overwhelming subjects that find their way into every chapter.  These subjects are family issues and sex.

The tone of this book various greatly.  At some points it is very sad and somber when Amy is recalling facts about her volunteering at a summer camp for mentally challenged adults and at other parts it is hilarious when she is reviewing old diary entries from her childhood.

The writing style varies.  It can be very straight forward when Amy is discussing her views on gun control.  This is done in lecture style writing.  In other parts of the book her style changes to a friendly banter between old friends; like when Amy is using abbreviations like J.K. for just kidding. The different writing style may bother certain readers, because it does not flow naturally from one topic to another.  However, the audio book read by the author does help this issue.

The pacing in the book has highs and lows. Some of the chapters about her family issues are slowed down to such a slow pace that it feels longer than it is.  Other times the pace is more upbeat, especially when recalling stories about good sexual experiences and fun outings with her sister.

This book does a great job of relaying to the reader how Amy feels about the different characters in the book.  She makes you feel sad for her broken relationship with her mother and angry at the boyfriend who physically abused her.


Publishers Weekly: “Her prose, like her popular comedy act, is plucky, forthright, hilariously raunchy—and honest.... Amid ill-fated dates, alcohol-induced blackouts, and late-night eating binges, Schumer, in these candid, well-crafted essays, wears her mistakes "like badges of honor."

Chicago Tribune: “What [Schumer] offers here is a better, more deeply felt life-so-far book than most I've read...Schumer weaves a brave, vulnerable tale without falling into the usual celebrity traps of neediness and defense.

Emily Yahr from the Washington Post writes: “This is not solely a breezy beach read. With little notice, the essays whiplash from hilarious to grim as Schumer lays bare some of the most traumatizing moments of her life.

Associated Press: “Readers will laugh and cry, and may put the book down from moments of honesty that result in uncomfortable realistic details from her life. More important, the essays challenge readers to harness their own stories and rest in the fact that they’re good enough. Experience the world. Be bold. Love your body. It’s OK to fail and make mistakes. And lower-back tattoos can only make you stronger.

Good Reads gives this book an overall rating of 3.38 out of 5 stars.

Kirkus Reviewer: “A hilarious and effective memoir from a woman with zero inhibitions.”


Yes Please by Amy Poehler. (2014).
Bossypants by Tina Fey. (2011).
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. (2011).
Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. (2007).
Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy by Ophira Eisenberg. (2013).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week Eleven Prompt: E-Books and Audio Books


Ebooks are growing in popularity. In 2011 E-book sales increased 117.3% (Copeland).  However, a report in the New York Times from 2015 states “E-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), which collects data from nearly 1,200 publishers” (Alter, 2015).  So, does this mean that E-books have reached its peak and we will all go back to reading hard copies of the stories we love? Hardly.  According to a report from Fortune magazine the reason for the decline is that the AAP has tried for years to allow them to set process on E-books from vendors such as Apple and Amazon.  This has finally occurred and the higher prices has surprised consumers and resulted in less sales.  The article goes on to explain that independent E-book publisher sales continue to increase, because they did not participate with the AAP in price setting (Ingram, 2015).

Price is an important factor of E-book usage for students.  A college student can save a lot of money when they rent the book instead of buying it new or even used.  Modern software allows them to highlight passages and write notes.  However, this learning style does not work for everyone.  Some students find it easier to learn by making tabs and highlighting passages with notes in a physical book.  I like using a combination of E-books and physical books when doing my graduate work.  I sometimes get flustered with bouncing though several open tabs on my web browser and would rather use post-it notes as page indicators in hard copy books.  On the other hand I find it much easier with locating phrases, subjects, and terms in an E-book by doing a simple search. 

The other advantage of E-books is space.  I have a library at my house.  Roughly just over ½ of the books are mine with the rest being my wife’s books.  When she told me the other day that she was going to donated her James Patterson and Janet Evanovich books to the charity organization PAWS I offered to box up the books and take it to the store for her.  Is it because I am a good husband? Yes, and well…I want more space in our library for my books.  I love hard copy books.  I love the feel of the paper and seeing the left side of the book increase in size as I read.  It is like a self-accomplishment that I do not get from Ebooks.  I have several copies of Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol.  However, my worn out copy is still my go-to copy. On the right is a picture of my book.  It just feels right and I have so many memories reading from this particular copy.  The other reason I love hard copy books is the type of books I read.  In my library about ¾ of my books are art books.  I find that the images of the books look better in hard copy form than in electronic form.  Also, art books that I have used in the art studio as guides or examples are covered in paint and other art materials.  I feel that an art book with paint on it is a loved art book.  While I can zoom in on e-images online I still print up a copy to use in the art studio.  Then again, as I stated earlier the search functions on E-books makes locating artist or art work so much easier.

I also have about 13 full short boxes of comic books.  I much prefer reading graphic novels in hard copy form.  It is easier.  I do not like having to zoom in to read the text or move around the images to see all the pages in detail.  For me, this seriously takes away from the graphic novel experience.  However, big and little comic book publishers have been working on ways to bring the hard copy graphic novel feel to E-readers.  This does not mean that I do not read comics online.  Some comics are created to be read on line and are more sensitive to the E-reader format.  Comic Rocket is a free website that currently has over 40,000 different independent comics in a large amount of genres and sub genres for all different ages.  A majority of these books cannot be purchased in hard copy.  Currently, I am reading a funny series on their website called Menage a 3.  A quick summary of the story is having traits similar to a modern day version of the television  series Three’s Company, but with more adult content and nerd culture jokes.  Here is the URL for Comic Rocket .

As for novels I like my E-reader over hard copies.  I have found that the ability to enlarge text, change font, back lit display, and how many books my Kindle holds to be a major advantage.  Caring multi-volumes of book in E-book form is so much easier and lighter in by backpack.  I also like to try free E-books from Amazon.

So, in the end I do believe that the physical aspects can affect how someone feels about reading hard copy versus E-version.  Beyond the physical advantages and disadvantages of each it seems more psychological to have likes and dislikes of the appeals based on the reading device.  The six elements of appeals found in books: pacing, storyline, characterization, frame/setting, tone/mood, and language/style should have the same affect on the reader, because the words have not changed.  However the psychology of experience, comfort, and familiarity does make a difference.  As stated earlier have several different copies of a Christmas Carol and have read them along with an online copy from Project Gutenberg.  However, my ragged old copy of the book just seems better, because of the memories and familiarity I have with it.             

Audio Books

I have on average a 45 minutes to 1 hour drive in one direction to work.  So, I love listening to audio books.  They are a great way to pass the time and catch up on some good reading (listening).  Also, with places like LibriVox,, and many Old Time Radio show (OTR) websites have free downloads of stories for free.

An advantage of audio books is that a person can listen to them on the go.  They are available in CD, audio cassette, and digital downloads.  However some people do not like this audio book format.  An example is my wife.  She has tried many times, but has a hard time concentrating on the stories when they are read to her.  She would much rather read the stories herself. 

There are different types of audio books when considering likes and dislikes.  The first are abridged versus unabridged audio books.  Some people like the story read word for word while others like a shorter condensed version that gets right to the heart of the story.  Another way top look at it is that some people like stories with a lot of descriptive language while others do not.

The next kind of audio book attribute to consider is who reads it.  A bad narrator can ruin a wonderful story.  However, what one person considers a bad reader may sound great to someone else.  The voice of the narrator is a personal preference.  When an author reads their book it can bring insights into the story that another narrator cannot.  The author has an intimate relationship with the story.  Their changes in tone of voice can add another layer to the audio book.

Another kind of audio books is one that has some sound effects and a few different readers.  These audio books can have music and a few sound effects to enhance the story.  It could have the same reader changes his voice to sound like two or more different people when reading the story.  Another option is to have more than one person reading different parts of the books.  Some people like this format and other people find it distracting to listen too.

My favorite form of audio book takes the story and re-writes it into a play.  These are often called full cast dramatizations.  I am a HUGE fan of Old Time Radio shows (OTR) from the late 1930 to the present day.  The golden age of radio shows is the 1940s to mid 1950s.  I have collected and researched OTR for several years.  I also have over a thousand OTR episodes on cassette tape and CD format.  It was common during the golden age of radio dramas to take popular books in the genres of mystery, science fiction, horror, comedy, drama, westerns etc. and turn them into radio programs.  These shows have full sound effects, music, and actors.  The advantage of these shows is that they are very elaborate.  However, the plays are only interpretations of the story and are often edited for time and to fit into the play format.  So, if someone likes their audio books immersive then this format is for them.  However, for someone who wants to listen to the story read to them then this format will not be what they are looking for.

The good news about OTR shows is that a majority of them are no longer in copyright and can be found Free online.  They still make new radio dramas today using modern technology for sound effects and editing.  Some of these are also available or free online.  On a side note, I have written and directed several live radio plays in the style of the OTR years.    

Cited  Sources

Alter, A. (2015). The plot twist: E-book sales slip, and print is far from dead.  New York Times.  Retrieved from

Ingram, M. (2015). No, e-book sales are not falling, despite what publishers say.  Time Inc. Retrieved from

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Club Experience

Book Club Experience

Data Overview
Date: February 13, 2017

Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm.
Place: Library Meeting Room.
Book: Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne. 
Facilitator: The books are decided a few months ahead of time.  The facilitator of the month picks the book to read.  Each month is a different facilitator.  The order of facilitators is chosen by people volunteering for certain months.  The same person cannot be facilitator two months in a row. The role of facilitator is optional and is not required to be a member of the book club.    
Number of Attendees: 14 plus me.
Gender: All female, except for me.  There are 2 more regular members who could not make it and they are also female.
Estimated age range: mid-40s to mid-60s.
Format: The group used 7 hard copies and 7 e-readers.

Before the meeting I was given a copy of the book club’s rules:
“The Facilitator’s Role:
 -is expected to bring in several leading questions to stimulate a discussion
-may supply information about the subject matter or author before the discussion begins
-No one HAS to be facilitator if she is uncomfortable in the role.
-are expected to bring 1-2 reactions/questions and/or talking points about what they read.
The Hostess:
-will provide an easy snack.
Meeting time:
-2nd Monday of each month.”

Before the book club meeting I contacted the leader of the adult book club at the library.  For the sake of this paper let’s call her Katy.  Katy works the circulation desk at the library where the book club is held.  She took over as the head of the book club when the previous book club head, Barbara, retired from the library last December.  However, Barbara still attends the book club as an active member.  Barbara also belongs to other book clubs.  Katy gave me  the previously mentioned book club's rules.  I asked her a few questions in order to get a feel for the normal operations of the book club.  These questions are covered above in the Data Overview section.  An issue that Katy and before her Barbara  have come up with is finding available popular titles that are the current rage. When a book is turned into a movie or has been mentioned a lot in social media it peaks the interest of readers. This makes getting multiple copies of the book harder through inter-library loan.  While there are some book club editions available these are often requested by multiple books clubs around the same time.

Another issue the book club faces are those members who want to purchase the book as digital download.  Even though the book club members are able to get a hard copy from inter-library loan some people would prefer to download it to their e-reader.  If the book is newer it may cost more to download and this has caused the group to change book titles until the cost of the book goes down.   

Book Club 
When I arrived to the library’s meeting room 12 ladies were already there socially talking and eating.  They were discussing their husbands, children, grandchildren, television shows, and other topical subjects. The atmosphere in the room was very jovial and light.  It felt like these people are old friends who are catching up with each other.   
Even though it is the job the current month’s hostess to supply food other members brought additional food and desserts for the group.  The food included cookies, cakes, brownies, and veggie tray with dip.  There were also a few two liters of different kinds of pop and coffee.  Small paper plates, napkins, and plastic forks were provided.  

As I sat down someone said “hey we have to behave the observer is here.”  In return another lady said “this is us behaving.”  A big laugh was had by all in the room.  A couple minutes later two more people came in and the book club started.  I was asked by Katy to introduce myself which I did.  I explained that I am just observing for my MLS class and asked them to pretend that I am not even in the room and act normally.   Someone chimed in by saying “this is us acting normal and if you had not noticed you stick out like a sore thumb.  You are the first male we have had at our book club in a very long time,” and again more laughter.  I felt that they the group is really friendly and comfortable with each other.   In fact, some of the ladies are in different books clubs together.

The month’s facilitator, Leah, told the group that it is time to start and began with a simple open ended question.  Throughout the book club discussion there were not any simple yes or no questions.  Leah asked, “What did you all think of this book?”  This lead to several people taking turns expressing their overall general opinions of the story.  After this Leah asked about the personalities of certain characters in the book starting with her own interpretations.  After that others joined in with agreeing and disagreeing with each other.  Even when people disagreed with each other there was mutual respect. From here the conversations was aimed about different situations in the book.  This is where the tone in the room changed; it become more somber and very serious.  The ladies began talking about their personal view points about murder and if someone should be allowed to use insanity or post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) as an excuse.  This was a drastic change in the aura surrounding the room.  They started giving examples of murders they read in the newspapers or saw on the television news. Then they started discussing if anyone of them knew anyone who committed murder.  This being a small town the discussion of actual names of local families involved in murders were discussed.   There were several small conversations going on at the same time.     

The topic of murder, law, and personal experiences went on for about 15 minutes until Katy encouraged Leah to draw the group back together and asked if they wanted to know the psychology explanations for PSTD.  The group agreed as Katy opened the book DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  After Katy finished reading a few passages from the book Leah urged the group to go back to discussing the different scenes and character relationships from the book. At this point the somber atmosphere returned to being more cheerful and chipper.  This continued until the end of the book club. 

At the very end I was asked to take a couple of pictures of the group.  I happily agreed and took a few photographs of the group.

Personal Observations:
I found the overall experience of this book club enjoyable.  The group works well together and seems to really enjoy discussing books.  However, I also feel that the book club comes together to be social and just catch up with each other. In short, the book club is the reason they come together, but the social interaction is why they stay.

I have helped Leah many times at the reference desk.  She is shy, soft spoken, and awkward around other people.  This shown through as her role as facilitator in the book club.  A couple of times I saw Katy nudge her and motion for her to wrap up a discussion topic or to start a new topic.  Leah told me after the book club that she was nervous, because this was her first time as a facilitator.

I have worked with Katy before.  She is ultra conservative and has very strong viewpoints.  However, when talking to her about book titles that the group has chosen in the past her response surprised me.  Katy said that the group has chosen a large variety of topics, such as historical fiction, horror, comedy, romance, mystery, and more.  She admitted that she likes to read things outside of her normal reading area.  This totally surprised me, because Katy has tried to get books banned from the library that she feels goes against her family values.  She freely has admitted in the past of judging a book by its cover instead of actually reading it, however during the book club she was open to discussing ideas different from her own without judgement.

I was also surprised how personal the conversations were about the topic of murder.  Some book club members felt strongly for or against mental disorders and capital punishment.  This seems like a touchy subject to me.  However, this could also be a good sign about how close the book club members are with each other. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Special Topic Paper. Readers' Advisory: Graphic Novels Summary

Hello All,

I find writing summaries rather difficult, because I feel that I either add in too much information or not enough.  In my paper are plenty of websites listed of where to locate the various types of resources.  If anybody would like a copy I will attach the sources to this blog.

For this paper I wanted to provide information for reader advisors who are not particularly familiar with graphic novels.  The first part of the paper is defining basic graphic novel term including what a graphic novel is: "graphic novel is a term gaining acceptance that is used to describe bound narratives that tell a story through sequential art with or without text." (Butler Library, 2017).  In the paper are brief descriptions of basic graphic novel terms, such as comic book, trade paperback/trade hardcover, omnibus, one-shot, manga, and hentai.

Graphic novels are not a separate genre but a format; in the same way that a novel in printed form is the same item in digital form.  There are many types of graphic novels.  The illustrative medium lends itself very well to any genre.  If there is a genre in fiction and some in non-fiction then there is a graphic novel counterpart. 

The next section of the paper discusses the six appeal elements found in books: pacing, characterization, story line, frame/setting, tone/mood, and language/style.  These are essential when digging deeper to fine tune what the reader wants. 
Graphic novel readers could be interested in a specific comic book series, character, writer and/or illustrator.  With graphic novels different writers and illustrators can interpret the same characters very differently.  The different ways of interpretation can drastically alter the six appeal elements from book to book.

The last sections contains advise for getting reader advisory information for graphic novels from online/ print sources, publishers, fellow librarians/library employees, patrons, and comic book stores/comic cons. A very good way for a reader advisor to learn about graphic novels is to read some in a variety of genres. 

The bottom line is to treat reader advisory for graphic novels the same as you would for other novels.  Take the time to find out what kind of genre, sub-genre, and which characteristics in the six elements of book appeal that the patron is looking for.  The exception is to include the art work as being equally important as the story.    

Butler Library. (2017). Research guides: Graphic novels. Columbia University Libraries. Retrieved from