LIBR 220-04
LIBR 220-13
Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines
Topic: Reader’s Advisory Genres and Techniques
Fall 2010 Greensheet

Joni Richards Bodart
Phone: (408)924-2728
Web Site:

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
Course Outline
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Students will be able to self-enroll in the Angel course site starting August 11, 2010. You will need an access code which will be sent to all registered students on August 10, 2010 via MySJSU. If you were not enrolled on that date, you must contact me for the code. My email is above.

Course Description

This course will focus on the philosophy and methodology of matching patrons to genres and authors, locating elusive or nameless books, and organizing and highlighting the adult fiction collection to enable patrons to easily and effectively locate the materials they are seeking. This course also provides the student with an opportunity to focus on the literature of genre fiction, including specific genres and subgenres, specific titles and authors within them, and the characteristics of the readers of each of the genres.

Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate effective use of the standard tools and online resources and sites used by readers' advisory librarians
  • Recognize characteristics of various types of genre fiction and the most important authors in them
  • Discuss the appeal of each of the genres and the characteristics of their readers
  • Explain the psychology of RA, and the impact the personalities of the customer and the librarian have on the process
  • Conduct an effective Readers' Advisory Interview, using it to fulfill the customer's recreational reading needs and wants
  • Demonstrate effective booktalking and book discussion techniques.
  • Set up book displays, compile bibliographies, and evaluate the arrangement of the fiction collection, using a variety of book merchandising techniques, in order to make it most accessible to the library's s customers

In addition, this course fulfills the following SLIS core competencies:

  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors;
  • design training programs based on appropriate learning principles and theories;
  • apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing/advocacy;
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations;
  • evaluate programs and services on specified criteria; and
  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.

Course Requirements

Students will be able to self-enroll in the Angel course site starting August 11, 2010. You will need an access code which will be sent to all registered students on August 10, 2010 via MySJSU. If you were not enrolled on that date, you must contact me for the code. My email is above.

Office Hours
By appointment only, in Clark Hall, 418H. You may also ask questions via email or on the ANGEL discussion board. I will answer email on a daily basis or as quickly as I can. I will also be posting to the FAQs section of the discussion board when questions are asked that are of interest to the whole class.
If you need to speak to me by phone, I will do all I can to be available to you, but scheduling that call in advance to make it convenient for both of us, and ensure that I have enough time cleared to respond to your questions or problems.

The Angel Site
Please check the site regularly for announcements, discussion board questions, and so on. As soon as you sign up on ANGEL, go to the discussion board and introduce yourself, both professionally and personally. Share your most favorite and least favorite genres. Explore the various forums for other information I think might be helpful to you. More will be added as we go along. You also need to take a look at the Course Documents section for articles, bibliographies, and other materials. Assignment due dates are also posted there, as well as below. You will be submitting all your assignments via Assignment Drop Boxes
Please let me know right away if you have problems with anything.

Elluminate sessions
There will be eight Elluminate sessions. They are all required, however, you can miss one without impacting your grade IF you let me know ahead of time that you have a conflict, and agree to watch the recording. These sessions will be taped, so you can watch them later. The links to the recordings and to the PPT sessions will be posted on the Elluminate forum. The sessions will be on 9/8, 9/22, 10/6, 10/13, 10/27, 11/17, 12/1, 12/8 (All from 6:30-8:30pm PST) The sessions that include book discussion may run a little longer, if the discussion gets hot and heavy—and lots of fun!

  1. Introduction to the class, and discussion of the history of RA, best resources for RA
  2. Programming for RA, including face to face or virtual books discussion groups, RA as developmental bibliotherapy
  3. Discussion of genres—appeal, top authors, series, titles, characteristics of readers
  4. Discussion of genres continued, Book Discussion session (1 group, 30 min)
  5. Book discussion sessions (2 groups, 30 min each) GUEST SPEAKER
  6. Book discussion sessions (2 groups, 30 min each) GUEST SPEAKER
  7. Book discussion sessions (2 groups, 30 min each) GUEST SPEAKER
  8. Book discussion sessions (3 groups, 30 min each) Looking back, looking ahead, wrap-up

Class Requirements
All assignments are designed to help you gain knowledge that will allow you to achieve competency in one or more of the competencies listed above. They are not busy work, and I have designed them carefully to give you both knowledge and skills that will help you succeed as a reader’s advisor. If you don’t understand how a particular assignment will help you do this, please ask me. I will be happy to explain.

You will need to post some of the assignments on the appropriate forums on ANGEL to share with your classmates.

Please make sure that when you are submitting work at the end of the semester that you make sure the links are active and will lead me to the assignment. If I cannot open the assignment or reach you to let you know there’s a problem, and grades are due, you will not get credit for that assignment. This is less critical during the semester, when asking you to resubmit your work doesn’t involve the time crunch that always happens at the end of the semester, since the deadline for grade submissions is absolute and not at all flexible.


Read textbooks, and participate in class discussions on discussion boards. Participate is defined as posting 2-4 times weekly, both in response to the questions I post and to others’ reactions to them. Comments should be thoughtful and insightful, adding to our mutual learning process. Questions will be posted on a biweekly basis.
Class participation also involves being an active group member, and contributing you and your partner’s class presentation. Group members will also be required to do a self and peer evaluation as part of their participation grade. This evaluation will be in the form of an informal paper. The peer evaluation will be no more than one page, (and can be much shorter) describing how the group came together, who did what, and how well or how poorly your process worked. The self evaluation will include your thoughts about RA services and genre fiction. How has your participation in this class affected your thinking and perceptions? What is your philosophy of RA work, and how do you think you will express it in the future? (No more than two pages, please) Due December

Subscribe to and participate in Fiction-L, an RA listserv. Participation is defined as responding to all posts in which you are interested, and initiating queries of your own. Please note that your responses to posts may be in answer to questions about titles, or may be in response to discussions on the list. You are also welcome to start discussion topics--many students subscribe to this list, and you don't need to feel hesitant about contributing. I am a member of this list, so I will be able to see your participation. You will need to post about once a month, and more if you choose to. To subscribe, go to the following URL,, click on the hyperlink for Fiction-L, and follow directions. I recommend the digest version, rather than receiving individual posts--the volume is high. However, when responding to the digest version, you will need to change the subject line to reflect the topic of your post, rather than the number of the digest. (While you're there, explore this super site!)  Sign up as soon as possible, and begin to participate.

Read the required ten titles for the discussion demos and at least 20 other titles, covering most of the genres. If you are familiar with one of the genres, and have read deeply in it, you might want to read fewer titles, or just one, to give you a chance to read in the genres you are not familiar with, and broaden your knowledge. Set up a file or spreadsheet of the books you read, with each title evaluated and annotated. Information should include bibliographic information, a “flash talk” or reader’s annotation (25 words or less), a summary and evaluation of the book, the genre and subgenre to which it belongs, and any other information you consider relevant, including readalikes. The goal of this database is to give you enough information to recall the book quickly and recommend it effectively. The style and format are up to you, but it should be a searchable database, and you can use Excel, Access, or FileMaker. If you would like to use other software, please make sure I will be able to open your files. Some students have created a blog or a website for their databases. This is fine with me, as long as I can access it and you can search it. My rationale for this requirement is that doing the work now to create a searchable database will make it easier for you to add titles to it in the future. (It also satisfies more than one of the competencies.)

Visit three libraries and evaluate the RA area and service, including staff, resources, displays, and effectiveness. More details on this will be given during the first Elluminate session. Write an informal, but detailed, paper describing your experiences and rating the libraries on a five point scale, with five as “couldn’t have been better” and one as “I won’t be back.” You should spend 30-45 minutes in each library. If there is more than one librarian on duty, try to talk to all of them, if possible. If one doesn’t answer your question completely, you may ask another librarian the same question, or go on to another topic. Look at what articles and your texts say about an RA interview/exchange, and compare that to your experiences. This is one of the assignments that you need to post on the appropriate Angel forum, in addition to turning it in to me.

With two other students, lead a 30 minute book discussion during one of the E sessions, and in two other sessions, play the role you have chosen for that session, either member or observer. In each group there will be three leaders, six book group members, and three observers. You must all be a leader in one group and a member in two, and an observer in one. You will have four different roles, and will need to sign up under four different genres. I will be posting signup sheets for you on Angel, with the genres we will be examining. They are: horror, mysteries/crime, adventure, romance, historical fiction, suspense/thriller, science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels OR chick lit OR Christian fiction OR GLBTQ fiction OR another genre, just as long as I approve it, and popular nonfiction.
If you have friends in this class you would like to work with, you need to talk to them as soon as possible, and sign up for the genre you want, before someone else does.

You will be responsible for the choice of the book and promoting it on the appropriate discussion forum prior to the Esession during which your book group will meet.
Choosing the book:

  • All leaders in a group must have input into the choice of the book
  • Look in RA print and online sources and in your texts
  • Reader’s Advisor Online and NoveList are available at King Library—take time to examine them closely—they will be helpful in choosing titles for your group and for your databases
  • Check to see titles that other online or f2f groups are reading—your group might also like it
  • If you choose a title that’s part of a series, make SURE that it is a standalone title, or is the first or second title in the series, and you give the group enough information about the earlier titles to get them caught up
  • Consider the number of pages—you have a lot to read this semester! Too long, and you will have group members who may not finish it, no matter how much you promote it
  • Remember that the titles you read for this course are genre fiction, not “Lit-er-a-chure, my dear!” They are titles that are popular and readable. For instance, if you want to have a mystery reading group, you can use Evanovich, Robb, Francis, or Davidson, rather than classics like Christie or AC Doyle. These are NOT titles that are good for you. They are titles that you want to read—guilty pleasures as it were—curling up with a good book and telling friends and family you are doing your homework!!
  • Should be available in paperback, and a title most public libraries would be likely to have
  • At least two of you should be enthusiastic about the book—“You just gotta read this! It’s the best thing I’ve ever read!”—and the third person can either be as excited about it, or less enthused, but still somewhat positive about it. This third person can also play a “devil’s advocate” role if s/he chooses to

Promoting the book by posting on the discussion forum for that genre:

  • Book cover
  • Write a booktalk on the book (see information under booktalk assignment)
  • Write a reader’s annotation on the book
  • A brief bio of the author—preferably not stuffy—can come from their website, since most authors have them
  • Other titles author has written
  • Anything else about the book or author that might hook someone into reading it

You will need to turn in:

  • list of questions you used in the book discussion
  • a description of the role each of the leaders played—how did this group function? Who did what, and how was that decided?
  • a description of how this title would be a part of an ongoing book discussion series
  • information on how you promote this series and to whom
  • examples of flyers, booklists, bibliographies, bookmarks, PR materials, displays and so on should also be included. (This is NOT meant to indicate that you have to have an example of each of these! Just select from among these suggestions several things you want to use with your group) You do NOT have to read all the titles you include in them, but you need to have seen a review or recommendation of them to ensure their quality.

Each leader can use one of these items to also help fulfill the bookmarks assignment. There is more information about this under that assignment.

You are responsible for your part in making this group work and not sabotage the discussion—even though this doesn’t totally reflect what happens in real book groups!

You will need to:

  • read the book with the discussion on it you will have in mind
  • take notes on the book (format is up to you, or you may choose not to take notes, but this needs to be a deliberate decision that you can share the rationale for if asked about taking notes)
  • participate in the discussion by responding to the leaders, making comments of your own
  • make comments by raising your hand and waiting for the leaders to call on you. They will be aware of the order in which people raised their hands because they will be made moderators
  • have a good time!


  • read the discussion board forums about the book/genre—you will be commenting briefly on their effectiveness as part of your observations/evaluations—did they make you eager to read the book?
  • read the book being discussed—you have to know what the discussion is about
  • critique both the members and leaders
  • give detailed feedback, that is both positive and negative
  • submit your comments to me and I will forward them to the students participating in each group

Write booktalks on two titles in your database, one of which is on the title your book group is discussing, or one of the titles that you mention in your group as being readalikes, the other talk should be about one of your favorite titles from this semester. I will give you information on writing talks during the first or second Esession, and also post information on the discussion board.

Using print and online resources, including your Genreflecting textbook and websites for fans of specific genres, create annotated lists (think bookmark format—it is a relatively easy process using Office Publisher and the Brochures template.) of 10 items each for three genres, two of which must be ones with which you are not familiar. Include a list of the print and online resources you used to find titles, and indicate in some way which ones you liked best, such as prioritizing them. You do NOT have to read these titles on your lists, but you do need to verify that they are high quality and representative of the genre, based on the resources you consulted. You will need to post these on ANGEL to share with the rest of the class. One of them can be a list of titles you recommend to your book group—readalikes, other titles by same author, and so on. Each group has three leaders, and their lists must be unique. This means that you have three unique lists to use in “other materials to be turned in” part of the book discussion assignment, as well as in this assignment.
This means you will be turning in:

  • three annotated lists in the format in which they will be used
  • for each list/bookmark/other, a list of the sources you used to find the titles, and brief information on why or why not you liked each one. These sources can be NoveList, RA Online, websites (,, author sites, genre sites, public library RA sites), printed sources like tools for RA and your textbooks, and other. For each list, please use at least three sites/tools, and make sure that the titles you select are ones that someone has recommended.

Grading and Evaluation
Book Discussion Demo—25%
Site evaluations—20%

All delayed or late assignments will be due at noon on December 10. With permission, you may turn in assignments as late as noon on December 17, but that’s all the flexibility I can give you. If you want to turn in any assignments earlier, you are of course, welcome to do so. If everyone, or at least a majority, feels that I should set earlier due dates for some assignments, I will be happy to work with you to do so.

Database 25 points
Book Discussion Demo 25 points
Site evaluations 20 points
Booktalks 10 points
Bookmarks 10 points
Participation 10 points

Course Outline

  • History of RA
  • Psychology of RA
  • Current practices
  • Barriers to RA
  • RA interview
  • Print resources
  • Online resources
  • Programming for RA
    • Booktalks
    • Book discussion groups
    • Adult reading programs
  • Creating a RA Space
  • Book displays and merchandising
  • Bookmarks and bibliographies
    • Writing annotations
  • Genres of RA
    • Historical fiction
    • Western
    • Crime
    • Adventure
    • Romance
    • Science fiction
    • Fantasy
    • Horror
    • Christian fiction
    • GLBTQ fiction
    • Chick lit
    • Popular nonfiction

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbook:

  • Moyer, J., & Stover, K. (2010). The readers' advisory handbook ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838910424 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbook:

  • LaPerriere, J., & Christiansen, T. (2008). Merchandising made simple. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591585619 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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