LIBR 220-04
LIBR 220-14
Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines
Topic: Reader’s Advisory Genres and Techniques
Spring 2014 Greensheet

Joni Richards Bodart
Phone: (408)924-2728

Greensheet Links
Course Outline
iSchool eBookstore

Students will be automatically enrolled in the D2L site for this course. The course will be automatically available to students on January 23, 2013.

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 Requirements

Office Hours
By appointment only, in Clark Hall, 418H. You may also ask questions via email or on the d2l 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 D2L Site
Please check the site regularly for announcements, discussion board questions, and so on. As soon as you can access the site, 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.

Collaborate sessions
There will be six Collaborate sessions, plus a non-lecture Introduction and Q&A.  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 Collaborate forum.  In addition to an introductory session on January 29, from 630-730,  to help you get going and to explain assignments, there will be six mandatory classes, including two guest speakers and 7 book club discussions/presentations. The lecture information will be recorded for asynchronous presentation, and formation of the discussion groups will take place online. Dates for the classes will be 2/10, 3/5, 3/19, 4/2, 4/16, plus 4/30 if there are more than 6 book club discussions/presentations.  (All from 6:30-9:00pm PT) The sessions that include book discussion may run a little longer, if the discussion gets hot and heavy—and lots of fun! 

  • Introduction to the class, and discussion of assignments.  Discussion of favorite genres, authors, titles STUDENTS SHOULD COME PREPARED TO DISCUSS AT LEAST 5-10 ITEMS THEY CAN RECOMMEND TO THEIR COLLEAGUES  1/29
    1. Discussion of the history of RA, best resources for RA, programming for RA, including face to face or virtual books discussion groups, RA as developmental bibliotherapy, RA interviews, 6 Degrees of RA, Culture of RA 2/10
    2. NoveList Training Session 3/5  1 book discussion group
    3. Discussion of genres—appeal, top authors, series, titles, characteristics of readers 3/19  1 book discussion group
    4. Book discussion sessions (2 groups, 45-60 min each) 4/2
    5. GUEST SPEAKER 4/16 (David Wright, Seattle PL) 1 book discussion group
    6. Book discussion sessions (2 groups, 45-60 min each) 4/30

Course 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 d2l 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.

1a.  CLASS PARTICIPATION  (SLOs 1, 2, 3, 4)
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 group 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.

You also need to share your expertise on the various genres when you post your introduction—what genres are you very familiar with? What are the most important/your favorite titles/authors in those genres? In addition, when you find a book you really like, I expect you to share it with the class on the appropriate genre forum—some folks may also enjoy reading it. Due 5/17

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.  These are good folks, and will treat you with respect.  And do remember that even those of us with experience can have a brain dead day and need help.  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!)  Due:  sign up now and begin participating as soon as possible.)

2.  DATABASE OF TITLES  (SLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Read the 7 required titles for the discussions and at least 23 other titles (a total of at least 30), 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. 

Create a blog of the books you read, with each title evaluated and annotated.  Information MUST be original, not copied from reviews or other sources of information, and should include:

  • cover art
  • bibliographic information, including price and number of pages
  • link to author’s website, and to interviews with author, if available
  • links to reviews available online, if available
  • a reader’s annotation (15 words or less), designed to be used on a bookmark/booklist in order to intrigue or interest the reader
  • a summary, which outlines the plot and may or may not include the ending
  • an evaluation, which sums up your opinion on the book—your review of it
  • the genre and subgenre of the book
  • appeal factors
  • readalike titles or authors
  • awards won and lists appeared on
  • booktalking ideas, or how you might approach writing a booktalk on it
  • book discussion questions or ideas
  • why you chose it—as in why you were intrigued enough to pick it up.  (It looked interesting is NOT a sufficient reason, nor is that it was required or on a list—what hook did it have that made you want to read it?)
  • any other information you consider relevant, such as names of characters or locations
  • ·five of these titles should include audiobooks.  Either listen to the entire book in lieu of reading it, or listen to about one hour of the audio version of titles you have already read for your database.  Notice the differences between reading and listening, and include them in your comments on the title.  How well did the book translate to audio?  Also comment on the quality of the reader and how it impacted your enjoyment (or not) of the book.  Listening to full cast recordings in addition to single narrators is recommended.

The goal of this database is to give you enough information to recall the book quickly, to recommend it effectively, and to add new titles easily in the future. The style and format are up to you, but it should be attractive, easily read (type large enough and distinct from the background, and so on), and searchable, including an alphabetical list of all the titles in the margin of each page, so the user can jump directly from one to another. Some of the software that can be used includes but is not limited to Live Journal, Blogspot, Blogger, and Wordpress.  Due 3/7 and 5/17 (First 15 titles due in March, the rest of your titles due in May)

Visit two libraries, one bookstore, and one virtual RA website and evaluate the RA area and services for adults, including staff, resources, displays, and effectiveness.  More details on this will be given during the first Collaborate session.  This is a “secret shopper” assignment, and you should not identify yourself as a student or someone who works in a library.  Write an informal, but detailed, paper describing your experiences and rating the sites on a five point scale, with five as “couldn’t have been better” and one as “I won’t be back.”  You should also rate the bookstore on displays and customer service, and in your description of your visit, discuss how the service at the bookstore and at the onsite libraries differed.  You should spend at least 30-45 minutes in each library.  If there is more than one librarian on duty, try to talk to all of them, if possible, and talk to at least two bookstore staff members.  If one doesn’t answer your question completely, you may ask another librarian/staff member 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 d2l forum, in addition to turning it in to me.  Due 3/31

I will assign each of you to do roleplays with two other people.  Each person will play a RA librarian and a person looking for a good book.  You will need to sign up for a Collaborate session at your mutual convenience to do your roleplays, and record them so your colleagues and I can watch and critique them.  I would like you to do these roleplays after you have done your site visits.  Each roleplay will be 10-15 minutes long.  The customer may make up a question or ask a real question involving this class—“Hi, I am part of a book club and they have asked me to choose the next title we talk about.  They want something funny/suspenseful/sf/scary, and I am hoping you can give me two-three books that I can suggest to them.”  We will discuss this assignment more during the first Collaborate session.  Due 4/13

5.  BOOK DISCUSSION DEMO (SLOs 1, 2, 3, 6, 7)
With one other student, lead a 45-60 minute book discussion during one of the  E sessions (dates listed under Collaborate section above).  In each group there will be two leaders, five book group members, and two observers. You will all be members of five groups, once as a leader, once as an observer, and three times as a member.  Because we are an odd number, I will ask one person to volunteer to lead a second group, so each group will have two leaders.  You will sign up for roles using a Google doc which you will create jointly.  The genres you will be able to choose among are:

  • horror
  • mysteries/crime
  • adventure
  • romance
  • historical fiction
  • suspense/thriller
  • science fiction
  • fantasy
  • graphic novels
  • chick lit
  • Christian fiction
  • GLBTQ fiction
  • 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 to lead, before someone else does.

Please note that the leaders choose both the genre and the title, and if they choose, may allow the group members to vote among 2-3 titles.

Detailed information on each of the roles you will be playing in the discussion groups: 

LEADERS—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: 

  • Both leaders must have input into the choice of the book
  • In order to choose a specific title, both leaders must have read and enjoyed it
  • Look in RA print and online sources and in your texts
  • NoveList is available as one of the SLIS databases—take time to examine it closely—it will be helpful in choosing titles for your group and for your databases (you will also be participating in FREE NoveList training as part of this class)
  • 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 literary fiction or “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.  Titles available in ebook format only are not eligible, because not all class members may have access to ereaders.

Promoting the book by posting on the discussion forum for your group:

  • 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 (you may choose to distribute some of these/all of these ahead of time, to give group members a chance to start thinking about their responses)
  • 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.)
  • evaluate the other leader and members, including yourself, using a narrative form, and discussing each person individually, with detail and specificity, and including both positive and negative feedback

GROUP MEMBERS—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, keeping in mind that you will be participating in a discussion of it
  • 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
  • evaluate the leaders and members, including yourself, using a narrative form, and discussing each person individually, with detail and specificity, and including both positive and negative feedback
  • have a good time!

OBSERVERS—Your input will be valuable in giving other participants information on how they can improve their performance, and how well they were able to complete the assignment.  You will need to:

  • 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
  • evaluate the leaders and members, including yourself, using a narrative form, and discussing each person individually, with detail and specificity, and including both positive and negative feedback
  • submit your comments to me and I will forward them to the students participating in each group

Due as scheduled—all materials and evaluations must be turned in within 48 hours of each discussion

6.  BOOKTALKS  (SLOs 1, 2, 6)
Write booktalks on two titles in your database, one of may be 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.  Due 4/28

7.  BOOKMARKS  (SLOs 1, 2, 3, 7)
Using print and online resources, including your textbooks and websites for fans of specific genres, create annotated bookmarks (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 the 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 the appropriate discussion board to share with the rest of the class.  One of them can be a list of titles you recommend to the book group you are leading, however, the lists must be unique—this is not a group assignment. 

This means you will be turning in:

  • three annotated lists in the format in which they will be used
  • for each bookmark, 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.  Due 3/10

Grading and Evaluation

  • Database—25%
  • Book Discussion Demo—25%
  • Site evaluations—10%
  • Two roleplays--10%
  • Booktalks—10%
  • Bookmarks—10%
  • Participation—10%

All assignments will be due as noted above.  The drop-dead due date is May 18.  You MUST turn in all assignments by that date.

If you need to turn in an assignment later than the dates above, I will be glad to be flexible, BUT ONLY IF YOU REQUEST THIS PRIOR TO THE DUE DATE.  Requesting late submission on the day the material is due is too late.  Material turned in late without permission will be penalized one letter grade.  If you send me a URL when you submit an assignment so I can look at it, and I cannot open the link, I will let you know about the problem, which MUST be corrected within 48 hours, or your work will be counted as late.  Please check your links, and make sure you have published or opened your site so I can examine your work, and check your email to see if I have let you know that there are problems.

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
    • Crime
    • Adventure
    • Romance
    • Science fiction
    • Fantasy
    • Horror
  • Christian fiction
  • GLBTQ fiction
  • Chick lit
  • Popular nonfiction

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

LIBR 210

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify key print and online research resources useful for finding moving images and moving image-related information.
  2. Demonstrate effective use of film and media resources.
  3. Evaluate at least two institutions with collections that include moving images.
  4. Identify the broad issues involved in collecting, cataloging, preserving and providing access to film and media.
  5. Describe the federal and state governmental units that make primary law and the types of primary law they make.
  6. Identify the major types of primary law and secondary authority for both federal and state jurisdictions.
  7. Locate the nearest brick-and-mortar law library and find materials in it.
  8. Identify and describe the relative merits and shortcomings of the major print and online (both "free" and "pay-for-view") legal resources.
  9. Use print and online sources to find the major types of primary law and secondary authority for both federal and state law.
  10. Answer questions from patrons about basic legal resources, and direct patrons to the best sources for legal information.
  11. Develop strategies for defining search terms to use with "finding tools" in print, online, and pay-for-view legal resources.
  12. Create guides ("pathfinders") for patrons needing legal information.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 220 supports the following core competencies:

  1. B Describe and compare the organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital items and collections.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  4. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors.
  5. N Evaluate programs and services based on measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Herald, D. T. (2013). Genreflecting: A guide to popular reading interests (7th ed.). Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1598848410arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • LaPerriere, J., & Christiansen, T. (2008). Merchandising made simple. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591585619 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Moyer, J., & Stover, K. (2010). The readers' advisory handbook ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838910424 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Moyer, J. (2008). Research-based readers' advisory. ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838909590 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Saricks, J. (2009). The Readers' advisory guide to genre fiction. ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838909892 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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