LGBTQ · Library Management · Reference Class · Young Adult Literature

Oh yeah? Well, I’ll Find your Path.

Classes are moving along nicely. I’ve been quite distracted, as my posts appear as often as those pumpernickel pieces in Chex Mix. The class projects have all been very rewarding. For reference, I discovered the marvels of Novelist Plus. It’s a pretty amazing database of 250,000 fiction and nonfiction that provides summaries, reviews, and classifies each book into categories such as genre, storyline, pace, tone, writing style, subject, and location. You can then select each of these and look for similar titles. It’s pretty fly.

Another project I completed was a Pathfinder (note title of this entry), which is essentially a guide to researching a topic. Not necessarily the most applicable thing to a public children’s/Young Adult (YA) librarian but I decided to do LGBTQ protagonists in YA fiction. Considering it’s probably a topic of a reader’s own interest, I feel like maybe he/she would actually be interested in finding anything they can get their hands on–more than the suggested reads. This excellent website by Lee Wind provided me with a great starting point. But, for your interest, I chose the following: Sprout by Dale Peck, Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, Tough Love by Abby Denson, Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger, Empress of the World by Sara Ryan, Absolutely Positively NOT by David LaRochelle, Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara, Gravity by Leanne Lieberman, and Ash by Melinda Lo.

My reference class has also provided for some interesting conversation including the utilization of a chat box as a reference tool. In the article “Instant messaging reference: how does it compare?” by Christina M. Desai (2003), it brings up some interesting results from a study for newly implemented chat software. For instance 62% of the conversations were from computers within the library. First reaction: get over yourself and move your butt over to the desk.  But from my own experience I kinda understand the logic behind this because if you have a quick question and are far from a desk or have all of your things laid out, then it would be easier to use the chat. Another interesting thing about chat software is the removal of face-to-face interaction and with it, an inability to pick up on vocal ques and body language. I thought maybe Skype could help solve that but then my teacher thought it’d be funny if the patron could actually see the reference desk from their place in the library. It’d be even better if they could hear the librarian’s voice from afar. Overall, I think it’s crucial to have this chat software in academic libraries. However, I don’t think it would be useful in a small- or medium-sized public library because a reference desk is always within close proximity and a telephone call is a much simpler process.

Now comes a subject that I’ll be returning to often: how to bring patrons into the library. Programs are obvious. Hopefully I’ll get more extensive understanding of the perfect program in a later class so I won’t fully address it now. Layout of a library is also essential. Someone told me that all librarians should take an architecture class because it’s incredibly useful to understand the basics of cost and purpose in the architecture of a building. For young adults, I think it’s really important to have an expressive space to gather. At the Grayslake Public Library, it’s right next to the movie section. I don’t know if I agree with that, but I think that was the only place it could be put. For children, I think the best way to entice their cherub physiques is through incredible customer service and programs–preferably with live animals. Kids go ga ga for those hawks and lynxes. At least I did. Periodically, I’ll put something in here about ideas I hear for attracting patrons.

For now, I depart–but not before I present to you my future library’s entrance:

Courtesy of Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault, Central Library.

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