Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Secret Shopper

          I chose my local public library to complete this assignment.  Before going on my quest of having a reference librarian aid me in finding a good book, I was nervous that this assignment could very easily become awkward.  I’m not sure if people really just walk up to the reference desk and ask for a good book.  That seems strange to me.  So I decided to bring my unassuming eleven year old daughter along as my patsy in case things became a bit uncomfortable.

            I noticed the reference desk at this particular library right away, since it is located between the entrance and the young adult section.  As I approached the reference desk, I noticed that there were a few flyers printed on bright yellow paper patrons could take.  There was also a calendar that provided patrons with times of programs that were happening throughout the months of January and February. The 2017 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award Master List was present along with information about upcoming programs and activities at the library.  There was only one person staffing the desk.  I asked if she had a moment to help us find a good book that we both could enjoy.  During the initiation stage of the reference interview, the librarian was very friendly and was willing to assist me with a smile and a hint of a giggle in her tone to establish report. 

The librarian began the reference interview by negotiating my question.  She began with asking about my hobbies and books that I have enjoyed reading in the past.  We discussed The Selection Series by Kiera Cass and Nora Roberts.  She listened and began to ask a few more open ended questions; this “neutral questioning involves asking open questions that will help the librarian discover the true nature of the question” (Cassell & Hiremath, 2013, p. 219).  The librarian told me that had also read The Selection Series and told me I should give the novellas a try.  She pointed me in the direction of the young adult section with the call number written on a slip of scrap paper.  As I was walking away, she said I was also welcome to use the online card catalog on any of the library’s computers if I wanted to find something different.  According to the authors of Reference and Information Services: An Introduction, “when the librarian refers the user to another part of the library or to another library or information source, the librarian should verify that useful information will be found by the user” (Cassell & Hiremath, 2013, p. 24).  Unfortunately, this did not occur during my experience.  I left the library without her asking if I was satisfied with the book she recommended.

The interview was very brief and I felt a little disappointed with the results.  I was very hopeful in the beginning of the interview that I would have a positive experience.  The librarian seemed approachable through her nonverbal responses, but once I asked my question I felt like she lost interest.  The quality of my interview quickly diminished because she failed to “continually check in with the user to determine whether the material discovered meets the user’s needs” (Cassell & Hiremath, 2013, p. 21).  I also thought it was a little odd she did not use any sort of electronic or print resources especially since “there is a growing number of excellent reference tools, including electronic resources, that the reference librarian can use, preferably along with the reader so that the readers’ advisory transaction becomes a shared exploration of books” (Ross, Nilsen, Dewdney 2009, p. 163).  This made me feel like my question was not important enough for her to spend much of her time finding me different options.  She was successful in helping me find a book; however, I was not satisfied with my interaction.

It is likely, this person did have some training in readers’ advisory because the interview began well, but maybe she chose not to utilize her training.  My experience was much like the findings from the assigned reading, conducting the Reference Interview.  In this study conducted at the Nassau, New York, Library system, it was discovered that “a non-methodical, informal, and serendipitous response was the norm to a patrons request for a ‘good read’” (Ross, et al., 2009, p.163).  It would be interesting to go back and ask a more specific question to see if my results would be similar.


Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services: an introduction (3rd  
          ed.).London: Facet Publishing.

Ross, C. S., Nilsen, K., & Dewdney, P. (2009). Conducting the reference interview: a how-to-do
it manual for librarians. London: Neal-Schuman Pub.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Week 3 Prompt

          When I’m looking for a new book to read, I like to start my hunt at my Goodreads account and my Kindle suggestions.  I will often search for books that are similar to books that I have enjoyed in the past or authors whose writing styles I like.  I also read the reviews on Amazon and look at how many star ratings the book averages.  If I’m really desperate for a book and I’m not able to find one that strikes my interest I will ask my friends for suggestions. 
            Here are my suggestions for this week’s prompt:

1.      I am looking for a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. I just read the third book in the Anita Blake series and I can’t figure out which one comes next

 Lunatic CafĂ© (ISBN 0425201376 ).  I chose this book because I searched Lauerell K. Hamilton and the results included the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series listed in order.

2.     What have I read recently? Well, I just finished this great book by Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer. I really liked the way it was written, you know, the way she used language. I wouldn't mind something a bit faster paced though.

The Train, by Georges Simenon, Robert Baldick (ISBN 1935554468).  You will enjoy this book because it also has to do with people losing their attachments and being forced to survive just like Prodigal Summer.  The main character is isolated and separated from the people he loves.  It should be more suspenseful than Prodigal Summer and move at a quicker pace.

3.     I like reading books set in different countries. I just read one set in China, could you help me find one set in Japan? No, not modern – historical. I like it when the author describes it so much it feels like I was there!
         Kokoro, by Natsume Soseki, Edwin McClellan (Translator) would be a great book to try.  During the end of the Meiji Era, Emperor Meiji passes away and with him the rigid way of life in Japan.  The story is centered on a college student who meets middle aged man who confides in him about some of his wrongdoings.  The novel contains beautiful language and description that would be sure to please. 

4.     I read this great mystery by Elizabeth George called Well-Schooled in Murder and I loved it. Then my dentist said that if I liked mysteries I would probably like John Sandford, but boy was he creepy I couldn't finish it! Do you have any suggestions?

Try reading The Old Fox Deceiv’d, by Marth Grimes.  This is a series, so if you enjoy it, there are 23 other books about Richard Jury and Melrose Plant solving mysteries in Scotland.  The book does contain some humor even though it is about a detective trying to solve a murder in a northern fishing village. 

5.     My husband has really gotten into zombies lately. He’s already read The Walking Dead and World War Z, is there anything else you can recommend?

Try Deadline, by Mira Grant.  A year after his sister is infected with the zombie virus, a woman who works for the CDC fakes her death and end up at Shaun’s doorstep with zombies.  This causes him to begin investigating a conspiracy about the virus.  It is action packed and suspenseful.

6.      I love books that get turned into movies, especially literary ones. Can you recommend some? Nothing too old, maybe just those from the last 5 years or so.

This list of popular books have all been made into movies in the last 5 years.  I am not sure which genre you prefer so I have provided you with a variety of different genres. 

·         Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

·         Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

·         The Finest Hours, Michael J Tougas and Casey Sherman

·         Pride and Prejudice Zombies, Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

·         The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

7.      I love thrillers but I hate foul language and sex scenes. I want something clean and fast paced.

Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark write suspenseful mysteries that are clean.  If you like Christian thrillers try reading Frank E. Peretti.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Reading Profile

As a young child, I was a struggling reader. My parents did not realize that I had an audio processing disorder, so it took me much longer to learn how to read than my peers. I couldn’t hear the sound that each individual letter of the alphabet makes. I was held back and sent to a school that offered a half grade. After being held back a year in school and spending another year in remedial reading classes, reading became my strongest subject. I graduated high school in the top third of my class and later received a Bachelor’s of Arts in English, and a Master’s in Education.

Reading is my favorite activity. I don’t watch much television because I would rather be curled up under a blanket reading. My favorite genres are romantic suspense, contemporary romance, fantasy, young adult fantasy, and Christian Living.  A few of my favorite authors are Nora Roberts, C.S. Lewis, Kristin Cashore, Kiera Cass, Mark Hart, Laura Story, Matthew Kelly and Victoria Aveyard. My all time favorite book is The Witness, by Nora Roberts.  

So far this year, I have already read nine books (romance and young adult) and its only the 17th of January. I spend a lot of money each month on Amazon for my book addiction.  I also enjoy listening to audiobooks when I'm in the car making my commute to work.  I would be afraid to add up how much money I spend each year on books.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


I'm a West Coast girl living in central Oklahoma.  I'm a Wife, mom, teacher, student, and follower of Jesus Christ. I graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2008 with a B.A. in English. Then was awarded my M.Ed at Oklahoma Wesleyan in 2013.  I am working toward my MLIS at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis.

Currently, I am taking a course that teachers its students how to meet the popular reading needs of adult public library users.  I will be exploring genre fiction, literary fiction, and nonfiction titles throughout the semester.  As required by LIS-S 524 Adult Readers' Advisory I will be reading and annotating 5 books, each from a different genre.