Saturday, November 3, 2012

Currently Reading..

I am currently reading Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America by Jo B. Paoletti for my personal enjoyment and interests, and I am reading The Truth about Supervision: Coaching, Teamwork, Inteviewing, appraisals, 360 Assessments, Delegation, and Recognition by Anne O'Brien Carelli for my own professional development.

The first book has to do with gender stereotypes, the history of them, changes over time, and what they mean for society. This book primarily looks at children's clothing in regards to gender stereotypes.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Annotated Booklist for Lab B

Ayers, A. M. (2007). Jesus loves me. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
An engaging autobiography detailing Anita’s trials growing up with an abusive father. Historical details are abundant regarding time and place during the early sixties in Indianapolis. This book is an emotional read detailing not only the struggles and graphic abuse that Anita suffered, but also the struggles of her family to stay afloat during their many hardships.
Bellamy, S. S. (2010). Hoosier justice at Nuremberg. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society Press.
This historical true crime narrative tells the story of Indiana residents Frank Richman and Curtis Shake’s prominent roles as civilian judges in tribunals held in Nuremberg. Both men are retired Supreme Court justices, who were called in the late 1940’s to try top German industrialists for crimes against humanity.
Bill, F. (Author). (2011). Crimes in southern Indiana [CD]. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books.
A compilation of engaging, eye-opening short stories about the pitfalls of America where the daily struggles of survival push people to the brinks of desperation and despair. A dark, shocking, and literary writing, Crimes in Southern Indiana also has a strong sense of place and well-developed characters.
Brock, P. (1999). Indiana gothic: A story of adultery and murder in American family. New York, NY: Nan A. Talese/.
For true crime fans, Brock effectively combines fact and fiction in re-telling his family’s secretive dark past in this atmospheric and riveting read. Brock successfully re-creates the early 1900’s in Davies County, Indiana with great detail and provides a time-travel type experience for readers. This book details the murder of Brock’s great-grandfather Ham Dillon at the hands of his own brother-in-law, following his affair with his wife, in which they had an illegitimate child together.
Carr, C. (2006). Our town: A heartland lynching, a haunted town, and the hidden history of white America. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.
Journalist Cynthia Carr combines mystery and true crime elements in her examination of past and current race relations through her investigation of the brutal lynching of two African American men in Marion, Indiana in 1930. This book presents historical facts in conjunction with well-developed narratives, including the author’s deeply personal narrative of her own familial connection to the Klan.
Cavinder, F. D. (2010). Historic Indianapolis crimes: Murder & mystery in the Circle City. Charleston, SC: The History Press.
Local historian Fred Cavinder recounts the gruesome tales of past murders and other crimes that have taken place in Indianapolis.  This book is heavily fact-based with short narratives and photographs throughout the individual stories.
Crowel, T. R. (2008). The passerby: A novel. Highland, IN: Success Press.
Crowell’s well-researched and detailed account of a real crime is filled with mystery and suspense. In this fictional story, he sets out to find out who killed eleven-year-old Trudie Brice twenty years earlier in Penn County, Indiana. Young Trudie was found strangled to death in her home two weeks before Christmas. Crowell sets out on a two-year investigation to find the killer, and attempts to obtain a confession from a man he considers a suspect in this cold case murder investigation.
Dean, J. (1966). The Indiana torture slaying. New York, NY: Bee-Line Books.
Reporter John Dean presents a glaring and riveting fact-based narrative of the horrific torture and murder of sixteen year-old Sylvia Likens in 1965. This book begins with the discovery of her lifeless body, the events leading up to her death, and the preceding court cases for each of the accused.
Dean, J. (2008). House of evil: The Indiana torture slaying. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.
In this dark and gripping fast paced true crime story, reporter John Dean provides chilling details of the horrific torture and murder of Sylvia Likens proceeded by in-depth details of the resulting court case. This book contains more narrative than Dean’s other book on the same crime.
Faulconer, T. (2002). In the eyes of the law: The true story of love, betrayal, murder, fame, and justice in 1950’s America. United States: 1st Books Library.
Forrest Teel seemed to have it all with a good job as corporate vice-president and head of the international division at Eli Lilly in 1958. That was until he was found murdered, and his long-time mistress was later arrested for the crime. In this measured paced book, Faulconer combines case facts, history, and narrative for an engaging read.
A history of violence [DVD]. (2006).
Released in 2005, this American crime thriller is action-packed, suspenseful, and full of mystery. In this adaptation of the 1997 graphic novel, Tom Stall played by Viggo Mortensen is thrust into the spotlight and hailed as a hero after stopping a violent attempted robbery at his diner in Millbrook, Indiana. However, his own criminal past comes back to haunt him and spurs more violence, which strains his relationship with his family.
Jones, A. (1994). Cruel sacrifice. New York, NY: Pinnacle Books.
A combination of love, jealousy, child abuse, and lesbianism among a group of teenage girls has fatal consequences. This fast-paced story intertwines fact and narrative to retell the story of the horrific murder of twelve year-old Shanda Sharer, in the small town of Madison, Indiana. This book, unlike Michael Quinlan’s Little Lost Angel, focuses more on the lives of the four young girls convicted of killing Shanda and other background details leading up to the crime.
Lutholtz, M. W. (1991). Grand dragon: D.C.Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
A biography detailing the career and political power of D.C. Stephenson as Grand Dragon of the Klan in Indiana in the 1920s, and his ultimate conviction for second-degree murder. This book also provides a good sense of place and time, detailing the environment in Indiana in the 1920s. In addition, some history about the Ku Klux Klan is explored.
Millett, K. (1979). The basement: Meditations on a human sacrifice. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Millet’s book provides a detailed and graphic narrative about the mutilation and torture of sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens by Gertrude Baniszewski in 1965. Sylvia and her sister Jenny were left in the care of Baniszewski and her family while their parents worked at different carnivals across the Midwest. Gertrude and some of her children as well as two neighborhood boys, imprisoned, starved, and tortured Silvia to death.
Murphy, D. T. (2010). Murder in their hearts: The Fall Creek massacre. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society Press.
In this measured paced read, the author presents a historical, detailed, and heavily fact-based account of the murder of nine Indians along a tributary of Fall Creek. This was the first time under American law that a group of white settlers were sentenced to death and executed for the murder of Native Americans.
O’Haver, T. (Director). (2008). An American crime [DVD].
In this fast-paced and engaging movie, Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener, James Franco, and Bradley Whitford act out the real-life torture and murder of sixteen-year-old Sylvia Likens. Released in 2007, this is a dark and disturbing graphic depiction of the events surrounding one of the worst cases of torture and murder in Indianapolis history.
Quinlan, M. (1995). Little lost angel. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
In this engaging and suspenseful true crime narrative about the brutal murder of twelve-year-old Shanda Sharer, Quinlan focuses on the victim and the investigation of the case. Shanda Sharer was killed less than a year after starting a new school. The author also presents the social and psychological aspects of teenage violence, in conjunction with a detailed description of the brutally violent acts carried out by four teenage girls against the victim.
Roegner, A., & Wooldridge, A. (2010). Eight days in darkness: The true story of the abduction, rape, and rescue of Anita Wooldridge. Austin, TX: Synergy Books.
This dark narrative recounts the eight days of abuse, rape, and torture suffered by Anita Wooldridge following her kidnapping by a convicted rapist. Retold by the victim herself with the help of her counselor, this book presents a deeply personal and emotional re-telling of the abuse she suffered and of the capture and conviction of her abductor.
Schechter, H. (2008). True crime: An American anthology. New York, NY: Library of America.
An exploration of the true crime genre, this book offers an overview of authors in this genre and the many ways in which crime has been written about. This includes accounts of some of the most infamous crimes, such as that of serial killer Belle Gunness, who had many victims in Indiana. Additionally, it presents some of the best literary writing from authors like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Truman Capote, and Ann Rule.
Sissom, C. (2010). Who murdered Chynna?!: The search for Chynna Dickus’ murderer. Indianapolis, IN: Carol’s Adventures.
This book is the first in a series about the violent murder of a twenty-six- year-old woman and her ten- year-old stepson in Franklin, Indiana in July 2006. The case remains unsolved, but author and private-investigator Carol Sissom has set out on a journey to discover what happened leading up to this brutal murder.
Sissom, C. (2011). Who murdered Chynna? II: A journalist tracks clues the killer left behind. Indianapolis, IN: Carol’s Adventures.
This is the second book in a series written about the unsolved case of the brutal stabbing deaths of a twenty-six-year-old woman and her ten-year-old stepson in a quiet subdivision in Franklin, Indiana. In this book, journalist Carol Sissom tracks down clues that may lead to the killer.
Stoner, A. E. (2007). Notorious 92: Indiana’s most heinous murders in all 92 counties. Bloomington, IN: Kevin King, Rooftop Publishing.
Notorious 92 presents brief overviews of the most notorious and horrid murders in all 92 counties in Indiana. One case from each county is presented, and the author relies heavily on the facts surrounding each case in recounting these horrific crimes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lab B: Part II: The Write-Up of My Experiences Creating a Booklist

Johnson County, Indiana is located approximately half an hour south of Indianapolis. According to the Johnson County, Indiana Highlights, in 2011 there were approximately 141, 656 residents. Around 53 percent of the residents were between the ages of 25-64. The Johnson County Public Library (JCPL) system is responsible for serving this vast and growing population. The JCPL system is made up of four library branches, with one each in Trafalgar, Franklin, New Whiteland, and Greenwood. According to L. S. Kilbert (personal communication, April 20, 2012), in 2011 they had 77,648 registered library borrowers with a total (print) book circulation of 599, 855.
Since over 50% of the population is 25 years of age or older, adult reader’s booklists are important. The Johnson County public library system does not have many nonfiction book lists for their adult readers. Therefore, when I asked the Adult Services Librarian at the White River branch what would be a good topic, she named many nonfiction book list ideas. True crime particular to Indiana was top on her list of nonfiction book list suggestions. She stated that there was a need for this particular booklist due to patron requests from patrons browsing the true crime section, and that this would help staff and patrons. They have done a display on the topic before, but do not have any kind of formal list created for it that shows all of the titles available within their four branch library system. Therefore, I decided that creating a nonfiction booklist and writing annotations for nonfiction books would provide me with more of a challenge, and take me out of my comfort zone more.
What is true crime, and how did it come about? According to the Reader’s Advisor Online database, true crime “originally developed during the Victorian era (latter half of the nineteenth century) when crimes were reported upon salaciously in newspapers and contemporary novels.” True crime is a popular sub-genre of nonfiction. As many crimes are often sensationalized in the media and in literature, this genre continues to attract increased readership.
True crime stories often connect to readers emotionally and intellectually. The genre can fulfill a dark human interest about crimes and criminals. It stories often provide an in-depth description of the crime scene as well as of the crime itself. In addition, occasionally true crime authors will give readers insight into the character and inner thought processes of the criminal behind the crime(s). Many titles will also detail police procedures and court proceedings. The details of the trials can fulfill an almost universal desire for justice for the victim(s). True crime books are generally sexually and violently graphic, present a dark or grim tone, and have suspenseful and disturbing plots. Titles in this genre include the preceding appeals, but true crime characters, plots, and subject matter can also be appealing to readers. Many true crime books discuss violent crimes such as murder, rape, child abuse, torture, and kidnapping, and are therefore not for the faint of heart.
Indiana true crime focuses on those stories detailing crimes and criminals specifically in Indiana. Many of these books recount some of the most notorious and horrific crimes that have taken place in Indiana. In addition to some of the general appeals of true crime, Indiana true crime stories can appeal to a reader’s desire for familiar settings, people, and historical periods. One particular title: In the eyes of the law: The true story of love, betrayal, murder, fame, and justice in 1950’s America, provides great detail of what life was like in and around Indianapolis in the 1950’s. This may be appealing both to people who grew up during that time, and to people who are simply interested in learning about that particular time period.
In addition to true crime, I also included some fiction and Audio-visual materials on the topic of Indiana crime. These items have many of the same appeals, but they also often have more narrative elements, suspense, and mystery. Many of the fiction titles however, are based on real crimes and criminals. Therefore, while they may not be completely fact-based, they are still a viable option for readers interested in learning more about a particular crime or criminal.
The next step was creating the list. Originally, I had a difficult time coming up with twenty different titles of Indiana true crime stories. This is part of the reason why I decided to include fiction to help expand the list, and increase the options for patrons interested in this nonfiction genre. I began with some general searches such as “Indiana true crime,” as well as some basic subject searches “Murder –Indiana. The second subject search returned the most results, with sixteen different titles. Some other subject searches included: Crime –Indiana, Criminals –Indiana, Serial Murder Investigation –Indiana, Rape –Indiana, and Abuse –Indiana. I also did some general web searching on Google, and discovered other crimes and criminals around Indiana as well as some other possible titles for my list. This was how I later discovered the book: True crime: An American anthology, which features a piece on Belle Gunness, a serial killer from LaPorte, Indiana. My final list has 22 different titles on it, with seventeen non-fiction true crime titles, two fiction books, one audiobook, and 2 DVD’s. I used the Johnson County public library catalog as well as Good Reads, Amazon and other book-seller websites to obtain summaries and reviews of the titles that I included.
In addition to having difficulty locating Indiana true crime titles, I also ran into some other obstacles while creating my booklist. An issue came up regarding the validity and appropriateness of two of the titles available. There are two books that were self-published by a woman who had just gotten her private investigators license to “investigate” an unsolved murder in Franklin. The story is about a young woman and her ten-year-old stepson who was found murdered in their home in a quiet subdivision in Franklin in 2006. No arrests or information on any legitimate leads has been made public, but this particular author claims to know who the killer is and exactly what happened. These are poorly written books with many parts appearing as the author promoting herself and her private investigator business. After looking these books over, I was ready to remove them from my booklist. However, they are about a very local and well-known crime and the Franklin branch library had duplicate copies of both titles. The librarian later discovered these titles in his search, and told me that I could add them. I voiced my concerns about the books, but he said that they do in fact circulate frequently so he asked me to add them back in. I added these two titles back to my list, but as I was reviewing my brochure, I discovered that one of my titles was no longer in their catalog. I inquired about this title and was told that it was discarded due to damage, and that they likely would not replace this title based on its age. I went ahead and removed this title since it is not likely that they will make this title available to JCPL patrons again.
Creating the booklist did take a lot of work. Due to the limited number of Indiana true crime titles available though, I had to add nearly every title that I found. I got positive feedback regarding my final product (the brochure) that I created. The librarians liked the layout and the graphics that I added to my brochure, which is not something that their other brochures have.  

Indiana Department of Workforce Development. (2011). Johnson County, IN. Highlights. County Highlights.                                                                                                                                            Retrieved from
Libraries Unlimited. (2006). Definition: True Crime. The Reader’s Advisor Online. Retrieved from

Lab B: Reading List--Indiana Crime titles at the Johnson County Public Library system


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Currently Reading...In a Fisherman's Language by James Arruda Henry

I just got on interlibrary loan (yay!) "In a Fisherman's Language: An autobiography" by Captain James Arruda Henry. I read about this book in one of the popular culture magazines. In case you haven't heard about this book though, Captain James Arruda was in his mid-nineties when he learned to read and write. The old saying: "you're never to old to learn" rings true to this story. As told in the story I read about this book, James would maitain his secret about his illiteracy by pretending to read newspapers in restaurants or listening to what others ordered off the menu and ordering the same thing. No one knew, even some of his closest friends and family had no clue until he was much older. He was inspired by another 98 year-old man who had struggled with illiteracy, but successfully taught himself to read and write. He later began working with an English teacher to learn to read and write. He began with the simple task of learning his ABC's followed by learning how to sign his own name. This books is comprised of short stories about Arruda's life growing up and some of what his life is like today. The sentences and paragraphs are somewhat choppy, which may annoy those who are grammar fanatics. However, I think that knowing where he's coming from makes you appreciate his writing no matter what your educational background is.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Annotation #5: YA---The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Written By: Suzanne Collins 
...And the basis for the new hit movie
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Science Fiction
Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy
  •         Action-packed
  •         Bleak, menacing tone
  •    Character-driven
  •    World-building
  •     Strong sense of place
  •    Descriptive language
  •    Fast-paced, suspensful, & engaging
    Time Period:  Futuristic
An alternate or future North America known as Panem

Plot Summary:
A twist on the idea of survival of the fittest "The Hunger Games" is a fight to the death on live TV. There are twelve districts surrounding the capital of Panem, and each of the twelve districts has one boy and one girl that are sent as "tributes" to participate in the "Hunger Games," and represent their districts. Once someone turns 12 years old, their name is entered once in the drawing for the "Hunger Games," and an additional entry is added on each year until they turn 18.  

When Katniss Everdeen's 12 year-old sister Prim is the first name drawn, Katniss decides to protect her sister and volunteer for the games. She faces 23 other "tributes," including her fellow male "tribute" from District 12, Peeta Mellark. The two become known as the "star-crossed lovers" of the games, after Peeta publicly announces his love for Katniss during his pre-game interview. However, eventually they will be  pitted not only against bigger, meaner tributes but also against one another. 

Read-Alike Titles from NoveList:

Variant by Robison E. Wells
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Hole in the Sky by Pete Hautman

Read-Alike Authors from NoveList:

Margaret Peterson Haddix
Jeanne DuPrau
Paolo Bacigalupi

As School library Journal states, "This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like 'Survivor' and 'American Gladiator."  This is perhaps why this has become such a huge "must read" for many because of the similarity to many reality TV shows.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Annotation #4: Historical Fiction --Traveler by Ron McLarty


Written by Ron McLarty

McLarty’s first book is Memory of Running

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Mystery
Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Time Period: 1960's

  • Relatable characters
  • Mystery Elements 
  • First-Person narrative, descriptive writing style 

Plot Summary: This story is told through the eyes of protagonist Jono Riley, who is now a middle-aged bartender and part-time actor. When Jono receives word that his childhood crush Marie has died, he decides to return to East Providence, Rhode Island for the funeral. McLarty weaves the re-telling of Jono's upbringing in the working-class neighborhoods of East Providence in the 60's with his current life as a struggling actor. Jono performs mostly single character plays in front of dismal, single-digit audiences. Growing up, he had three close friends Bobby, Cubby, and Billy. He reconnects with them upon his return decades later. While he is in Providence, he also reconnects with former school officer Kenny Snowden. Kenny was one of the original officers investigating the shooting of eleven year-old Marie. Jono and others later learn that Marie died from a "traveler." The bullet was never removed, and it began moving in her body, eventually killing her. Jono and his new girlfriend Renee get wrapped up with an investigation that eventually links Marie's shooting with several other mysterious shootings and/or killings around the same time. Read "Traveler" to discover the truth behind these mysterious events. McLarty also weaves in details of life in and around East Providence, Rhode Island in the 1960's.  

Author Read-Alikes from NoveList:

  •          Jonathan Coe
  •         Elizabeth Hay
  •         David Gilbert

Title Read-Alikes from NoveList:

  •        The Crow Road by Iain Banks
  •         For the Love of Money by Omar Tyree
  •        Scooter by Mick Foley 
More About the Author:
   Ron McLarty is an award-winning and well-known actor and playwright. He has appeared in many popular television shows including: The Practice, Law & Order, Spenser: For Hire, and Sex in the City. He is also married to actress Kate Skinner.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Special Topics Paper--Reaching Out to Patrons with Disabilities

How do we provide reader’s advisory services to a diverse population of library patrons including those with physical and visual disabilities? Brochures listing suggested reads for a particular genre or online suggested reading lists may work for some patrons, but not others. Similarly, promoting browsing within the fiction stacks may be beneficial to some patrons while others may find that it greatly limits their accessibility to the materials that interest them most. This is frequently the case when working with patrons with visual and/or physical disabilities.
There are several ways libraries assist visually and physically challenged individuals with obtaining reading materials that meet their needs. The two most common programs are Talking Books and homebound services. Other possible resources include the large print, audiobooks, and braille collections. This paper will primarily examine the Talking Books and Homebound library services but will also explore some important aspects of the other collections mentioned. In conjunction, it will investigate what is currently being done regarding reader’s advisory for patrons with disabilities and offer some suggestions for improving upon these services.
One of the programs available to assist visually impaired and other disabled patrons is Talking Books. This program provides digital and audiobooks to library users with temporary or permanent visual and/or physical disabilities. According to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Talking Books originally began in 1931 as a result of an Act of Congress and has expanded over time to include other materials, formats, and user groups. While this is a valuable program, in the past it has struggled to remain current with the use of newer technologies and therefore lost some of its relevancy among users. Until just a few years ago, the only format available to Talking Books users was the cassettes that required an awkward, non-mobile friendly device to listen to them. Users now have the option of checking-out digital talking books that are contained on a small flash drive type cartridge but also require a special playing device to listen to them. The next best possibility for updating this service and appealing to a large group of disabled users may be the use of e-readers and a vast e-book collection.
As Forsyth (2009) notes, e-books can be beneficial for readers with poor hand strength or other physical disabilities or visual impairments. With an e-reader, readers can increase the font to a larger size or can often even choose to have the book read to them. E-books also help expand the options for large print and/or audiobook users, as there are a limited number of fiction genres and nonfiction titles available in large print or in audiobook formats. In addition, books can take a much longer time to become available in these formats; whereas, the e-book is often available at the same time or soon after the paper version (Forsyth, 2009, p. 136-137).  
When a library patron registers for Talking Books, they can specify subjects, genres, and specific authors which interest them. They can also specify if they do not want materials that contain explicit sex, violence, or strong language. Additionally, Talking Books patrons can choose to select materials themselves from a catalog of available titles or have books selected for them based on their reading preferences listed on their application for the program. The Indiana State Library also provides a toll-free number that Talking Books users can call for reader’s advisory services to help them select materials that match their interests. I contacted a librarian from the Talking Book and Braille Library at the Indiana State Library, and she stated that each patron is assigned a Reader’s Advisor who works with him or her the entire time he or she is using this program. There are only two reader’s advisors at the State Library though, so it seems as though they could easily get bogged down. However, these two reader’s advisors have been working with many of the same patrons for several years. Therefore, they have become better familiar with their patron’s reading preferences.
How do readers find materials that match their interests through the Indiana State Library’s Talking Books program? It seems the most common way is to have the ILS pick items for them or for the librarians to hand-pick their books. These materials are generally picked solely on the basis of the reading interests and preferences that the patron has listed on his/her application. In addition to having some basic reading interests and preferences stored for each patron, the Indiana State Library’s ILS can also search for books based on subjects. This helps increase the librarian’s ability to continuously match readers with books. However, this may not be the best way to meet a reader’s interests, if books are selected solely on the basis of subject matter. Another common way for patrons to find materials that interest them is to review the new books list in the bi-monthly catalogs sent to them. To further assist patrons, these catalogs can be received in large print, on cassette, or in Braille. Additionally, patrons can receive books that interest them by calling the toll-free reader’s advisory assistance line mentioned earlier.
The Indiana State Library’s Talking Books Program also receives several calls from patrons that do not have any specific titles, subjects, or other reading interests in mind. Therefore, when a patron calls to request books, they will often receive more in-depth and specialized assistance through a thorough reader’s advisory interview. During this interview, the reader’s advisers will ask questions such as what subjects or genres they are interested in and if they have read anything that they enjoyed recently. The Indiana State library however, does not make use of any specialized or specific reader’s advisory tools such as NoveList. I also spoke with a librarian from the White River Branch library of the Johnson County Public Library system, and they also do not use any specific reader’s advisory tools. While, a subscription to a database such as NoveList may be too cost prohibitive for some smaller libraries; there are many free reader’s advisory resources that they could make use of. Some of those free resources include for romance readers, for mystery readers and for horror readers, among many other great reader’s advisory resources available for free online
Another popular library program that increases the accessibility and use of the libraries collections by disabled patrons is the homebound or home delivery program.  In her article “Homebound Services: Old Ways and New Ways,” Theresa Gemmer (2003) explains that we should also watch our word use in the naming of such programs, since a large percentage of the users of this program are able to go outside of the home.  She suggests “Home Library Service” instead of homebound service, which could unintentionally exclude some patrons who think it is not for them (Gemmer, 2003, p. 36).
According to the article, “Readers Advisory Services for Older Adults,” “most libraries select books for their home delivery patrons based solely on author and genre preferences, while some libraries conduct detailed readers advisory interviews and still others simply use a checklist” (Forsyth, 2009, p. 131). I also discovered this to be true for the Johnson County Public Library system, as they frequently make book selections for their patrons based solely on genres and authors. Forsyth helps paint a clearer picture of why this might be problematic, when she says: “imagine the consequence of them getting it wrong, (i.e. selecting the wrong books for you) and you running out of reading too soon with no way of getting more titles to read until the next delivery at least a week later.” Forsyth suggests talking with patrons, and recording the appeal characteristics of the genres, titles, and authors that the patron enjoys reading. (Forsyth, 2009, p. 132). What appeals to the reader? Why do they read mysteries, what is it about the mysteries they enjoy reading that appeals to them? Is it the characters, the language, the story line, or simply the length of the book? Keeping confidential patron profiles that include not only genres, authors and titles but also appeal characteristics will help enrich the reading experience for these patrons.
Some other valuable reader’s advisory interview questions that came up in a review of the literature, included: “what television programs they prefer, what hobbies they have, and what current events have they found interesting lately” (Ahlvers, 2006, p. 308). Asking about television programs that a patron enjoys may prove valuable, when you are working with a patron who is physically unable to get out and obtain new reading material. Particularly in the fiction genre, there are several book series that are based off of or are very similar to a television series. One example is Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brenan Series which is the base for the hit television series “Bones.” Asking about hobbies or current events could also help expand the reading profile for your disabled patrons. They may enjoy reading more self-help books, or non-fiction about current events, or possibly even fiction books that are based on current events. This is one area that is not frequently explored in reader’s advisory services. However, these questions could be particularly helpful for disabled patrons who may have more life experiences than individual reading experiences that they can relate to.
Another collection that greatly benefits visually challenged patrons is the braille collection. Braille collections are most commonly used by blind individuals. However, some patrons will begin reading large print or possibly even e-books but may be forced to learn and use braille due to a progressive or sudden loss of vision. The latter is usually less common though as Burrington (2007) points out, “in common with many people who lose their sight later in life, lack of sensitivity in my fingers has meant I found learning this particular tactile format too difficult.” He also points out that as of 2007, there were only 300 titles available in the National Library for the Blind; therefore, not providing a large variety of books to choose from. In addition, Burrington mentions that he often downloads books and uses assistive software like JAWS to listen to them. Audiobooks are another option for braille readers that may help expand their reading options. However, this format still offers a more limited number of titles than what can be found in regular print or e-book collections.
An area that is greatly neglected in the literature and is rarely found in the repertoire of many librarians’ professional experiences, is working with younger patrons that have visual or physical disabilities. A majority of the literature seemed to state that patrons using Talking Books, homebound services, braille, or large print collections were fifty or older. Having had a very close friend with extensive physical disabilities, I know that there are young people who could benefit from such services. One program that I found that is available for free to students from K-12 all the way through to adult students, is a website called Bookshare. Bookshare is an online library of digital books, magazines, newspapers, etc. for patrons with print disabilities. Patrons can access reading materials in accessible formats through Bookshare almost the same day or soon after the release of the print version. While providing reader’s advisory for a younger person may be very similar to providing it for those fifty and older, younger patrons may be less aware of the services available to them or embarrassed to seek out and use such services. Particularly with Talking Books, many younger patrons are reluctant to use this program that employs a lot of outdated technology. Additionally, the reading interests for younger verses older patrons can differ greatly. This is an area that needs to be explored further to fully understand what different needs these patrons may have.
Perhaps, most important to keep in mind are the different format types and the individuality of each user. With such a vast array of formats available for books, librarians must educate themselves on the advantages and disadvantages of each, but also solicit feedback from their patrons. Equally as important as format, is the individuality and unique reading interests of each patron. The librarian from the Johnson County Public Library system stated that they did not really do anything different for patrons with disabilities. They simply tried to treat everyone as an individual. Along with that guiding principle, we also must avoid making assumptions about our patron’s reading preferences based on their age or physical abilities. As Ahlvers somewhat humorously points out, “When asked what she liked to read about, ninety-three-old Sadie stated that she wanted to read about “sex, sex, sex,” to the surprise and delight of a colleague” (Ahlvers, 2006, p. 309).  Keeping format and patron individuality in mind with each reader’s advisory transaction can ensure a more complete and effective service.
In conclusion, many of the same questions and service guidelines for reader’s advisory with non-disabled patrons also apply to deploying this service with disabled patrons. There are numerous programs and resources for assisting disabled patrons in their book selections, but there are also many overlooked and/or hidden resources that rarely get used. For disabled patrons, format and individual reading needs and preferences are just some of the important things to consider. Perhaps, the best advice is to know your patron’s needs and reading interests and be willing to go that extra step in meeting their individual needs.

Ahlvers, A. (2006). Older adults and readers’ advisory. Readers’ Advisory, 45(4), 305-312.
Bookshare. 2012.  Retrieved from
Brownson, A. E. (1993). Readers’ advisory services for persons with disabilities. Collection Building, 12(3-4), 67-71.
Burrington, G. A. (2007). A user’s perspective. Library Trends, 55(4), 760-766.
Forsyth, E. (2009). Readers advisory services for older adults. Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, 22(3), 128-140.
Gemmer, T. (2003). Homebound services: Old ways and new ways. Bookmobile and Outreach Services, 6(2), 35-39.
NLS factsheets: Books for blind and physically handicapped individuals 2011. (2011). Retrieved from
Talking Book and Braille Library Collections. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Resource for Romance Reads...

This is not for any particular assignment, but I came across it while reading articles for my special topics paper and thought it was worth sharing....It looks like a good resource for current readers of romance, readers new to that genre, and reader's advisers. It's a website called: "All About Romance" at:

What I found interesting about this site, and something that might be helpful in providing reader's advisory, is that they give a "sensuality" on their book reviews. The sensuality ratings range from kisses to burning. The "kisses" books are the softer romance reads that might be better for those new to the genre or just wanting to sample the genre. The "burning" reads are going to be very graphic in regards to the sex scenes and sensuality.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Annotation #3: Mystery--Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

 By:Kathy Reichs

 #6 in the Temperance Brenan Mysteries Series
   Published  in July 2003, 306 pages

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

  •      Descriptive writing style(scientific jargon more common in thrillers)
  •      Suspenseful
  •      Multiple plotlines
Plot Summary: Tempe Brennan, a witty and skilled forensic anthropologist is preparing for a relaxing summer, when several gruesome discoveries of bones and bodies interrupt her plans. First, there is the discovery of infant remains charred to a crisp in a wood stove. Next, during a picnic, her dog Boyd unearths two large bags full of bones. Shortly after this discovery, there is a report of a small plane crash in a field. Tempe’s plans for a romantic retreat with her new love interest, Andrew Ryan, a lieutenant detective with the Quebec homicide division, are put on hold indefinitely. As Tempe investigates all the bones, she tries to link the cases together. During her investigation, Tempe begins receiving emails from someone who calls themself “The Grim Reaper.” Brennan has to put the clues together quickly before The Grim Reaper destroys her, her family, or anyone else close to these cases.
Read-Alike Titles (from and NoveList):
  •      The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
  •      Cross Fire  by James Patterson
  •      Headhunter by Greg Cox
Read-Alike Authors and Series(from Reader’s Advisor Online):
  •     Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta Mysteries
  •    Beverly Conner’s Diane Fallon series
  • Sharyn McCrumb’s Elizabeth MacPherson series
The FOX TV series "Bones" is based off of her work and her books.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Annotation #2: Classic Horror-Frankenstein

Description:'s_monster_(Boris_Karloff).jpg/220px-Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff).jpgHorror Classics:
By: Mary Shelley
(Originally Published in 1818)

š Violence
š Dramatic tone
š Descriptive language and scenes

Time Period: 1790’s & Setting: Europe, Russia, and Switzerland
Plot Summary: The book opens with adventurer Robert Walton’s letters to his sister Margaret regarding his expedition to find a new path to the Pacific Ocean. The crew of his ship convinces an emaciated man named Victor Frankenstein to come aboard. He retells his story to Walton. As a young scientist, Victor creates a new life form from a myriad of dead body parts. However, after seeing his creation, he becomes terrified and abandons the creature. After being rejected by his creator and the human-race as a whole, the monster decides to exact his revenge by wreaking havoc on those closest to Frankenstein. Frankenstein seeks to stop the monster’s destructive behavior, but the monster has one demand and that is to have a female companion with similar features created. Frankenstein battles between his responsibility to this creature he created and to the human race.

Read-Alike Classic Horror Titles (from NoveList):
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
    Dracula by Bram Stoker                                                                        
The Turn of the Screw by James Henry
Read-Alike Authors (from NoveList): 
H.G. Wells, Dave Freedman, & Christopher Buehlman