ALA Midwinter 2012: Francey Harris Tells Us About the Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults

Check out my interview with my friend and fellow librarian Francey Harris!  Francey Harris of YALSA talks about the . I was impressed by their focus on multiple literacies and the open source, participatory nature of the journal.

On the Eve of Our Kindle Pilot Project

Anticipation and Patience

After a couple of months of delays in balancing purchasing rules/restrictions from Amazon and the purchasing policies of our district (as well as time crunch in which I have time to coordinate with my bookkeeper for the order because I’ve been so busy teaching), we finally are ordering our Kindles for our initial ereader rollout.   I am cross-posting from my Unquiet Library blog the contents of a post I just shared in that space, but here are some additional pieces of information you may find helpful.  There are no words to express how grateful I am to librarian Kathy Parker who has been nothing but generous in sharing her experiences, insights, and pearls of wisdom with me—a heartfelt thanks to this pioneer!

Why Am I Doing This?

Dr. Bob Fecho at the University of Georgia taught me to frame every decision making process with this line of inquiry back in 2002-2003.   I want to implement this pilot project to provide our students the opportunity to read on a device that they otherwise might not be able to access and to provide them an alternate reading experience in hopes that we can meet the needs of all students.    After reviewing the pros and cons of this pilot Kindle project, my principal, Dr. Eddy, agreed with me that that the possible benefits outweighed any drawbacks , and I am thankful for his support in this endeavor.  I’m truly excited to hear the students’ feedback on their experiences with ereading and the Kindles, and their input will be used to guide future steps in our efforts to provide reading materials both in print format as well as ereading containers.

Circulation Details and Other Helpful Hints

Because I’ve been receiving quite a few emails and want to share the entire Kindle pilot process with you, here is a brief synopsis of where we are; we hope to be in full circulation within the next week or so as we finalize the details of our purchase.

We are classifying the ebooks from Amazon for Kindle as a separate material type in Destiny, our OPAC.  We are using the prefix KIN for the books; the ereaders are classified as EQ for equipment.  We also keep a folder for each Kindle with a hard copy of the titles and also manage it through our library Amazon Kindle account.  We’re also planning on making a resource list for each Kindle in Destiny OPAC (i.e. Kindle 1) and adding each ebook to each list.
Here are three great blog posts that will be helpful in getting the ball rolling:
Also, here are some great tips Kathy shared with us:
  • For my own purposes I did label them Kindle 1 etc. This way I could keep track of which teachers had which Kindles when it came to downloading titles for them.
  • I did label the covers with Kindle 1, etc. Just don’t cover up the serial numbers when labeling.
  • You’ll need to register each one & you need the serial number.  We named/registered each Kindle: Seneca 1, Seneca 2, etc.
  • It was suggested to keep the boxes because if one is defective Amazon wants it shipped back in the same box it came in.
  • Don’t give any out until you get them all registered and labeled.

Next Steps

Intense data collection will inform and drive our decision-making processes over the next few months.  As I collect data and student permissions to share their insights and experiences of reading on the Kindle, I will share that data with you in this space.  I will also collect data on the types of books (fiction, nonfiction) students are requesting and reading as well as our efforts to personalize the reading experience with the Kindle.

The Unquiet Library Blog Post:  The Kindles are Coming

Image used with permission from

The long wait is nearly over!  We will soon be offering Kindle eReaders for circulation!  We will be purchasing the latest generation of Kindle that offers you 3G and wireless access to the ebooks.  The Kindles may be used at home or at school.   How will the checkouts of Kindles work for you as students?

1.  You will need to come by the library to get a checkout permission and information form [see below]—this form will need to be read carefully and then signed by both you and a legal guardian before we can circulate the Kindle to you.   Please note that all overdues and fines you may currently  have must be cleared before we can loan you a Kindle.

2.   Once the form is returned, we will place you on the waiting list as we will be starting with a small pool of the Kindles; we will notify you ASAP through your first period and/or English teacher that the Kindle is ready for you to checkout.   Either Ms. Hamilton or Ms. Johnson will give you a quick demo and “get started” one on one tutorial so you feel comfortable and confident using the Kindle.  We will also be posting some tutorial videos as needed on our Unquiet Library YouTube Channel.

3.  If there are specific titles you want, you can also complete a Kindle Book request form available in the library; we will do our best to accommodate all Kindle book purchase requests for students.  You can browse the Kindle ebook store to see if the book you want is available for the library to purchase in Kindle format.

4.  The loan period will be for one week.

5.  When you return the Kindle, we will ask you to complete a short survey and an optional video interview about your Kindle reading experience.  Your input will help us make an informed decision on future Kindle and/or other ereading device purchases!

Questions?  Come by the library or email Ms. Hamilton at !

*Many thanks to librarian Kathy Parker who has been in invaluable source of information and encouragement in our efforts to roll out Kindles to you, our students!*

Research Pathfinder: Georgia Peach Book Award Nominees and Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl 2009-10

Creekview High School LibGuides – Georgia Peach Book Award Nominees and Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl 2009-10 – Home via kwout

We are kicking off Teen Read Week 2009 with a brand new research pathfinder for some of the most popular authors and books at The Unquiet Library!   Check out our new Georgia Peach Book Award Nominees and Reading Bowl research pathfinder page! I have created a landing “home” page with general resources and information as well as book widgets for the Georgia Peach Award nominees and the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl.

I am also in the process of adding tabs for each nominated author that will include:

  • RSS feeds for each author’s blog (if available)
  • RSS feeds for each authors’ Twitter account (if available)
  • YouTube videos featuring the author and/or his or her works
  • Websites related to the author and his/her books
  • The “Books from Our Catalog” feature spotlighting some of the books by each author; there is also a link to the Destiny catalog so you can search on your own
  • Other links of interest, such as interview with the author or official websites for a book or for a series by the author
  • Book widgets with previews of the author’s books when available

This is a work in progress, so please check back often!

Book Lurking at Target

A week or so ago I read an article in the New York Times, “Target Can Make Sleepy Titles Into Best Sellers”, that piqued my curiosity about how this popular store has become an unlikely clearinghouse for moving books.

The article noted this about the shelving at Target:

Virtually every book at Target is shelved face out. Books in the book club and Breakout program are set apart on so-called endcaps — narrower shelves that stand at the front or end of aisles — with specially designed signs.

Since I had tried to do a good obit of face out shelving in my library remix from this past spring, I decided I needed to see this for myself—I never even realized that Target had a book section!

I ventured over to our new SuperTarget in Canton to behold this shelving.  After searching around, I was surprised to find the book section in the back of the store (I plan to check out the one in neighboring Alpharetta this weekend to see where their book section is located).   What I found was a simple but mesmerizing feast for the eyes—row after row after attractive book covers begging to be browsed and bought!

What struck me was the effective simplicity of the shelving—there was nothing fancy about it, yet the design makes it incredibly easy to browse.  It is visually clean and is designed to draw your attention to the book cover.  While I know we admonish our patrons to “not judge the book by its cover”, we all do it—the art and politics of book covers will be a post for a later time!

I began wondering where could I get this type of shelving for my library—how perfect would this be for displaying “new arrivals” or the Peach Book Award nominees?  I could see this being useful for magazine displays as well.  This kind of shelving would be perfect for encouraging browsing of popular titles or titles to be showcased.  My fellow media specialist Roxanne and I are now on a mission to find something comparable as soon as possible to put into The Unquiet Library.  We are going to call Target corporate headquarters next week to see if they will share their vendor with us who manufactures these shelves; if not, we’ll punt and revisit the usual suspects in library furniture.

In the meantime, I am going to visit a few other Target stores to see if the displays are comparable from store to store.  I am also thinking about visiting other unlikely spots, such as Wal-Mart or grocery stores, that sell books and see how their shelving/arrangements stack up (no pun intended).

One other aspect of the article that struck me was how Target is effective at promoting new and unknown authors:

Target “can sell hundreds of thousands of copies of a book that is virtually unknown in the rest of the marketplace,” said Jacqueline Updike, director of adult sales at Random House, one of the world’s largest publishers.

By assembling a collection of books by unheralded authors, Target behaves more like an independent bookstore than like a mere retailer of mainstream must-haves (although, of course, Target sells its share of best-seller list regulars, like James Patterson and Janet Evanovich).

“Target says every month, ‘Here are some new titles we’re bringing to you, and you can trust us, even if you haven’t heard of them,’ ” said Patrick Nolan, director of trade paperback sales for Penguin Group USA. “That is a very different approach.”

While some jobbers like Junior Library Guild do something along these lines, I’m wondering how might school libraries go about selecting these kinds of titles from the YA lit world.    I know many YA authors and librarians are wonderful about blogging their recommendations for newbie authors on the YA lit scene, but I am wondering where else we might look to find hidden jewels.  If you have suggestions out there, please post them here!

What other non-mainstream or unorthodox places might we look to borrow book marketing and promotion strategies?