Week 6: Reading and literacy

What’s on in Week 6

Weekly intro video coming Monday 29 August.

Twitter chat

When Monday 29 August, 6pm – 7pm
Topic Reading and literacy (focusing on readers’ advisory services in the Twitter chat)
Guest tweeters TBC
Twitter Chat Champions
  • Karen Parker
  • Leela Wittmer
  • Stephanie Harland
  • Michelle Dare
  • Hamish Eldershaw
  • Andy Pham
Hashtag #ifn614readchat
Questions Q1 Why are readers’ advisory services important?

Q2 What makes a good readers’ advisor? What skills, knowledge & attributes do RAs need?

Q3 What are the characteristics of good readers’ advisory practice?

Q4 What tools and resources do you recommend to assist with readers’ advisory work?

Can’t participate in the Twitter chat? Check out the Storify archive

New to Twitter chats? Check out our Twitter chat tips.

Upcoming due dates

This week

Type What When Where
Assessment Week 6 Reflection Sunday 4 September, 11.59pm Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the prompt and post to your blog

Next week

Type What When Where
Assessment Week 7 Reflection Sunday 11 September, 11.59pm Check the Week 7 page
Assessment A1 Checkpoint 1 – make sure you have completed activities from Weeks 2 to 7 inclusive Sunday 11 September, 11.59pm Check the weekly pages for the prompts

Learning materials

learning-materials-iconThis week I’m dividing the resources into two categories. You don’t have to read or watch materials for both categories. It’s fine to choose just one.

Readers’ advisory

Read or watch the following:

Got time to do more reading? Try these:

Additional resources

Every readers’ advisor needs to know about Nancy Pearl. Check out her books or get your own Nancy Pearl action figure.

The library has a number of readers’ advisory titles for various genres. You might like to take a look at one.


Things to explore

Reading and literacy products, programs and services

This week, I’d like you to forage around and find an interesting service or product related to reading and literacy and share it with your peers. You can post to your forum or to Twitter. This isn’t a mandatory task, but it’s definitely a fun one.

As an example, let me share a couple of services from my local public library with you.

Book Coasters is City Libraries Gold Coast’s online book club. What do I love about this? Well, it’s a site that’s close to my heart because this was the last project I worked on at my last library gig. At the time I was the Online Futures Librarian and I worked with the adult services team to create Book Coasters. We set it up as a book club, where there was a set book each month that everyone would read and discuss. Over time, it’s evolved considerably. It’s now more free flowing rather than being focused on a particular title each month. It also looks a lot different, because we initially set it up to focus on the selected monthly book. This site has been running since June 2009 with a consistent posting volume across the whole time period. That’s pretty awesome!

Other services the library offers:

  • Book club kits that provide multiple copies of the same title to be used by book clubs.
  • Hot Reads, which are short loan copies of popular books. This program is designed so that there will always be copies of hot reads on the shelf in the library. To keep the stock turning over quickly, they can be held, requested or renewed and must be returned to the branch they were borrowed at. These restrictions means there are always great books on the shelves.
  • Pinterest boards on topics related to reading. They’re not super prolific pinners. What do you think of these boards?

I also wanted to draw your attention to the library catalogue, which also includes functionality to help readers find books they’ll enjoy. Below is a catalogue record for a Michael Robotham book (awesome writer. He writes smart, psychological thrillers, and he’s Australian). Screen-Shot-2015-08-12-at-7.20.22-PM

On the screen:

  1. Virtual shelf browser shows you items that you’d find nearby this one if you were looking at physical books on a physical shelf. This promotes serendipitous discovery… Those instances where you go to the shelf for one book and come back with something completely different.
  2. Review content drawn from LibraryThing (an awesome site where you can catalogue and review your book collection).
  3. Tags assigned by LibraryThing users provide another way to browse and find similar items. (Question: How useful do you think these tags are?)
  4. Similar books generated by data from LibraryThing.

Readers’ advisory

The State Library of Queensland provides online training for Queensland public library staff, including a readers’ advisory module (available under A new look at old ideas). You can sign up for an account if you’d like to complete the training.

Blog post: Critical reflection activity

assessment-iconWeekly learning activity

It’s time for another critical reflection blog post, this time on the topic of reading and literacy!

Sub topics or related concepts you might like to deal with in your activities

  • Readers’ advisory services for
    • adults
    • teens
    • children
    • particular market segments
  • Reading programs for children
  • Online readers’ advisory tools
  • User generated content for reading recommendations
  • Storytime
  • Digital storytime
  • Using patron data to generate personalised reading recommendations
  • The role of tacit knowledge in readers’ advisory work

This isn’t an exhaustive list. Rather, it’s intended to give you some ideas for where you might start.

Types of posts

You can write about whatever you want related to the topic of the week.


  • One of your activities must be a program review.
  • One of your activities must be a service review.

For your other posts, you can choose a type of activity from the list below, or you can write a critical reflection on a topic off your choosing:

  • argue a point
  • program review
  • service review
  • issues-based reflection
  • trends reflection.

For a description of the different types of posts you could write, check out the Assignment 1 page.

Argue a point of view

If you’re doing the ‘argue a point of view’ topic this week, here are some topics you might like to tackle (argue for or against the statement). It’s not a definitive list – you can choose your own topic. Please note I may not agree with all of these!

  • Literacy development is not the concern of public libraries.
  • All storytime programs should include a craft activity.
  • Academic libraries should support their customers’ leisure reading.
  • Public libraries should exploit patrons’ data to provide them with customised reading recommendation newsletters like those provided by Amazon and GoodReads.


  • Kaley Schelks

    That’s got to be the only librarian action doll out there! This should be the new goal of the celebrity librarians! Too funny!

  • Ali

    Hi kate , as we agreed , I will be a Twitter Chat Champions .

    I found some students have been signed as a Twitter chat champions, I tried to register but I couldn’t .

    May you advise me .


  • Kaz Wolf

    I’d like to do a blog post about adult literacy – as this seems to be an area frequently overlooked. Wanted to check in on the topic before I proceed.

    • Kate

      You could do this for this week – reading and literacy.

  • Kaz Wolf

    Also wondering where the Blackboard link for this week’s class might be hiding out? 👀

  • Tim Tillack

    Running behind with catch up. Was there a vid for this week?

    Cheers, Tim

    • Kate

      No, I didn’t quite make it! We had a frantic week… Probably our busiest booth to date!

  • Helen Treherne

    Just as a different perspective on reader advisory services, I wanted to share a recent comment from my friend from France…
    [My friend spent a gap year on the Gold Coast after studying English from age 8. She returned to France about seven years ago.]

    I like how my small village library has a few books in English and advise people not to borrow them… ‘Are you sure you want to borrow this?’ ‘Yes, Ma’am.’ ‘But this is in English! Did you see? Sometimes, we don’t pay attention, you know.’ ‘Yes, Ma’am.’ ‘But it’s in English.’ ‘Yes, indeed and I’d like to read it.’ Ugh… I guess I should first apologize before she judges everything we borrow?


    • Kate

      This is a really good point – we have to be really careful not to judge or be critical because it impacts on how comfortable people feel using our services. Even little things like a well meaning comment on a Mills and Boon novel someone is checking out can impact on their experience of using the library.

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