June 2009, Volume 1, Issue 6
Check your Fall Calendars!
Festival of Books
Oct. 2-3 in Deadwood
SDLA Annual Conference
Oct. 7-9 in Aberdeen
Be Creative @ Your Library or From Home
Why Didn't I Think of That?
Trends & More
Resources to Check Out
Unemployment Resources Available to Public Libraries
You can acquire copies of “Job Dislocation: Making Smart Financial Choices after a Job Loss” for distribution to your patrons. This unemployment-related and financial information brochure was produced by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The brochure offers guidance in how to avoid situations of potential financial instability during unemployment. Topics address such issues as health insurance options and finding out about employer benefit plans. This publication can be downloaded in English and Spanish: printed copies of 25 or more can be requested using the mail/fax order form or e-mail request at FINRA: Job Dislocation.
For more information about this collaboration between the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association and FINRA, visit their Web sites at Smart Investing @ your library and www.finra.org as well as FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation.
Literacy Training Resources for Parents, Volunteers, Library Staff
The Thinkfinity Literacy Network offers free online courses on a variety of literacy topics. The courses are about 45 minutes long and are aimed at parents, volunteers, and library staff. Find more information at Thinkfinity: Online Courses.
Disclaimer: Presentation of any particular curriculum does not constitute endorsement, approval or recommendation for adoption of that curriculum by the State of South Dakota or the South Dakota Department of Education and its offices.
Storytelling Resources to Help Plan Programs
The State Library has many storytelling resources to help you plan a variety of programs. Take a look at this list of some of the newest titles and interlibrary loan one or all of them.
- The Big Book of Reading, Rhyming, and Resources: Programs for Children, Ages 4-8 by Beth Maddigan
- Books in Bloom: Creative Patterns & Props That Bring Stories to Life by Kimberly K. Faurot
- Crash Course in Storytelling by Kendall Haven
- Fee Fi Fo Fum: Puppets & Other Folktale Fun by Linda Blair
- Fantastic, Fun Reading Programs by Kathryn Totten
- I’m a Little Teapot: Presenting Preschool Storytime by Jane Cobb
- More Family Storytimes: Twenty-four Creative Programs for All Ages by Rob Reid
- Puppet Magic by Joy L. Lowe
- The Sound of Storytime by Tiara Dixon
- The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum by Sherry Norfolk
- Storytime Slam! 15 Lesson Plans for Preschool and Primary Story Programs by Rob Reid
- The Storytime SourceBook II by Carolyn N. Cullum
- Storytimes for Two-Year-Olds by Judy Nichols
- Storytimes… Plus! by Kay Lincycomb
- String Stories; a Creative, Hands-on Approach for Engaging Children in Literature by Belinda Holbrook
Book Clubs Move Online
There are as many different types of book clubs as there are people in the world. Book clubs can be sponsored by celebrities, bookstores, libraries, and individual readers. There are book clubs for any reading taste, genre, short stories, nonfiction, poetry, and plays. There are clubs that have members read the same book and others where members read different books on the same theme. Traditional book clubs meet once a month to discuss their selection or selections. However, a large segment of the population is not able to participate in a traditional book club, so an online book club may prove to be a better fit.
At the moment online book clubs have had mixed results, except with one segment of the population. Teens tend to be active on library book blogs, sharing recommendations and offering opinions on the books featured.
Online book clubs have several advantages over traditional book clubs.
Traditional book clubs are forced to limit membership; most traditional book clubs include eight to twelve members. In contrast, online book clubs may have an unlimited membership. In Indiana, Tippecanoe County Public Library’s online book club has a membership of 60.
Those in rural or isolated locations, with health problems, and other obligations can find meeting times and locations an insurmountable barrier to traditional book club meetings. An online book club does not have a physical meeting place, or a set meeting time. Online book clubs have memberships spanning the globe; the For Mystery Addicts book club has members in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. In some cases, authors are able to participate in the discussion of their novel, even though they may not live in the area of the group or even in the same time zone. While many online clubs take advantage of weekly chats, most depend on asynchronous communication via message boards, discussion lists, and blogs. Asynchronous communication can actually improve communication between participants. Rather than trying to get all thoughts out during a one hour meeting, members are able to hold a discussion throughout the month.
Threaded discussions also allow for equal participation. In face-to-face meetings, it is very easy for one or two to dominate the discussion. In a threaded discussion, there may be some people that post more than others, but they do not take over the discussion. Members are able to speak without interruption and to completely articulate their thoughts.
Blogs, discussion lists, and message boards can also be less intimidating for those who tend to be more introverted, as not everyone enjoys addressing a group. Those with speech and physical disabilities may also feel more comfortable communicating in this way.
Asynchronous communication also allows for members to read the book together. Rather than finishing the book before the meeting, then discussing it for an hour, reading can be a month long social activity. Web sites, blogs, message boards, and discussion lists also enable the members to broaden the literature experience by posting author interviews and other information related to the novel or author.
Online book clubs do offer some challenges. Communication is slower when communicating in a threaded discussion. People log on and respond at different times, an individual may not get the immediate feedback that they would in a face-to-face discussion.
Additionally, online book clubs for children need to follow online safety guidelines. Careful moderation is a must when facilitating an online book club for minors. In most environments, moderators are able to monitor posts, deleting any that violate the rules of the community. Moderators also have the ability to approve membership, so that only those that fit the group’s profile, school affiliation, library affiliation, or age statement, are able to join. Hennepin County Public Library took the precaution of setting up their pre-teen and teen book clubs on Moodle, an open source education platform. While it is most often used for classroom use, it adapts well to book clubs. With Moodle, moderators are able to keep very tight control of message content and membership, while allowing participants to create their own profiles and polls.
A successful book club depends upon the flexibility of its moderators. While books and reading should remain at the center of the group, socializing is one of the primary reasons that people join book clubs. There should be an expectation of off topic posts, personal observations, and of course discussion of other titles. Recognizing how important the social aspects of membership were to their teens, The Hennepin County Public Library created other forums for their members to discuss things like summer activities.
Flexibility also refers to when the book club is active. While some are able to meet and discuss a new book every month, that is not true for all. Hennepin County Public Library chooses to hold their teen and pre-teen book clubs only during the summer months, as they feel that children and young adults have more time and are more motivated to read for pleasure during the summer months. For Mystery Addicts holds three organized book discussions a month, while Tippecanoe County Public Library holds one discussion a month.
Dr. Elizabeth Long, sociologist and author of Book Clubs: Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life, said, “literature requires a broad base to flourish.” By creating and moderating online book clubs, we are able to provide that broad base. Online book clubs are a great fit, especially for children and young adults. Members are allowed to participate on their schedule, to communicate without interruption, and can facilitate a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the literature read.
If you would like to explore further, you can find the groups mentioned at:
- Hennepin County Library: Online Book Clubs
- Tippecanoe Public Library: The Book Clique
- Yahoo Groups: 4_Mystery_Addicts
The Cornerstone monthly e-newsletter is created by the South Dakota State Library. For more information on how to be a part of this newsletter, please contact us via e-mail with your questions and ideas.