Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ask Here PA a huge success!

Congratulations to Ask Here PA, reported to be the top online reference service in the nation (albeit by a potentially biased source...). This is a fantastic service provided in many states. A list of statewide chat services, along with libraries offering localized chat reference, is available here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Popular Reading in Academic Libraries

Ah, finally some time for professional development after a crazy semester...

I'm reading a great article entitled "Giving Pleasure Its Due: Collection Promotion and Readers' Advisory in Academic Libraries" (The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34.6: 520-526). The authors of this article make a number of suggestions for incorporating popular reading into the academic library:
  1. Create genre lists (in print and/or online) of popular reading materials held by the library.
  2. Leave the book jackets on to grab readers' attention.
  3. Displays: pick a popular reading book and highlight related nonfiction and archival materials, books from the year end "Best of..." lists, Banned Books Week, books and their movies, staff recommendations, etc.
  4. Bring eye-catching books (and CDs or DVDs) to display during instruction sessions.
  5. Recommend and encourage use of the local public library for popular reading and for various assignments where a public library would have more resources (self-help books, an entire class reading the same novel, etc). Along with that, of course, is having an awareness of the local public library's policies for college students.
  6. Become more familiar with readers' advisory resources.
I would also add that reading Publishers Weekly is a great way to keep up on the popular books. We circulate it around the staff here. While I occasionally find books to add to my library's collection, I more often find books I want to read or that I want to recommend to friends.

I have done a few things both at my current library and my previous one to promote popular reading. Over the Summer, I put together a more or less permanent popular reading display (as opposed to all the other displays I attempt to change monthly). The books cycle as they are checked out. At my previous job, I set up a popular reading collection by leasing books through McNaughton. I also really enjoy creating displays for Banned Books Week, although sadly I did not have time to do that this year. After reading this article, I am also considering the creation of a online list of popular reading books available here at my library, which will be helpful to students and also to me when I'm trying to restock the display. :)