LIBR 220-02
LIBR 220-10
Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines
Topic: Reader's Advisory Genres and Techniques
Spring 2008 Greensheet

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

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

I will enroll you in this course and notify you when I do so.  Please make sure you have an Angel account as soon as possible, since I can't add you to the roster until you do.

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

Office Hours
By appointment only, in Clark Hall, 418H. You may also ask questions via email or on the BB 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, go to the discussion board and introduce yourself, both professionally and personally. 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 Manager. Do NOT use the digital dropbox. Anything left there will be discarded unread.

Please let me know right away if you have problems with anything.

Elluminate Sessions
I have scheduled five 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. You are also welcome to suggest discussion topics for Esessions. These sessions will be taped, so if you are not able to participate, you can watch it later. However, if you aren’t there, you can’t add to the discussion, and give the rest of the class a chance to hear your pearls of wisdom. And we all have pearls now and again! The first session will be an introduction to the class and a discussion about titles to use in your book discussion demos at the last session. The second session will be on best resources for RA—what I recommend, and what you have found useful. The third session will be on programming for RA. The last session will be a chance for you to do your booktalks and book discussions. All sessions will include time for you to share your favorite reads with the rest of the class, and of course, Q&A. 

This schedule is flexible to some extent, to allow for topics that take more or less time than expected.  However, you can be sure that all of the last session and perhaps part of the fourth session will be devoted to your sharing your RA skills.

Class Requirements
PLEASE NOTE: 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 several of these assignments on the appropriate forums on Angel to share with your classmates.

    Read textbooks, attend the E sessions, and participate in class discussions on discussion boards. Participate is defined as posting 2-3 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 to your group’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 5/19.

    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. The volume of posts is high, so you may want to have emails directed to a different folder other than your inbox.  Just be sure you don't forget about them, cause you can't see them!!!!  (While you're there, explore this super site!)  I will talk more about Fiction_L and how to participate during our first E session.  Sign up as soon as possible, and begin to participate.
    Read the six required 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 include no more than one title in your database, to give you a chance to read in the genres you are not familiar with. 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, 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 needs to be a database program that we can all open and use. You can also do it as a Word doc, but you won’t be able to search it as easily.  Due 5/19.
    Before the end of spring break, 3/29, 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 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. If one doesn’t answer your question completely, you may ask another librarian the same question, or go on to another topic. Be prepared to discuss your experiences and how they could have been different on the discussion board and also during our next E session on 4/1. Look at what articles and your texts say about an RA interview/exchange, and compare that to your experiences.  Due 4/1.
    In groups of three, lead a 15-20 minute book discussion during the last 1-2 E sessions. We will decide on the titles and who you will work with during the first Elluminate session. You will want to have some questions and suggestions to get the discussion going.  Afterwards, each group will need to turn in the list of questions you used in the book discussion, a description of how this title would be a part of an ongoing book discussion series, and information on how you promote this series and to whom. Examples of flyers, booklists, bibliographies, bookmarks, PR materials, displays and so on can also be included. You do NOT have to read all the titles you include in them.  Each group will also post this information on the class Angel site. Due 4/22.
    Write booktalks on two titles in your database you would especially like to recommend, and present them at the last Elluminate session. Please note that you do NOT have to “perform” them, just be able to read them aloud smoothly. These should be posted to Angel as well as turned in to me.   Due 4/22.
    Using print and online resources, including your Genreflecting textbook and websites for fans of specific genres, and professional review sources, create annotated lists (think bookmark format) of 5-10 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 will also need to have 1-3 sentence evaluation of each one of the sources you used, both the ones you like and the ones you won't use again.  You do NOT have to read these titles, 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 to share with the rest of the class. You do NOT have to format these lists into a bookmark, but are welcome to do so if you choose to. It is a relatively easy process using Office Publisher and the Brochures template.  Due 3/13.

Grading and Evaluation
Due dates for assignments are given above.  I can be flexible to some extent, but must have everything--NO EXCEPTIONS--by noon on May 19, to give me time to evaluate your work and assign grades.

Database 20 points
Book Discussion Demo 20 points
Site evaluations 20 points
Booktalks 10 points
Bookmarks 20 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 Textbooks:

  • Shearer, K.D., & Burgin, R. (2002). Reader's Advisor's Companion. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1563088800. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Saricks, J.G. (2005). Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library. ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838908977. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Herald, D.T., & Wiegand W. (2005). Genreflecting 6th edition. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591582865. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Ross, C.F., McKetchnie, E.F., & Rothbauer, P.M. (2005). Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals about Reading, Libraries, and Community. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591582865 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Wolf, M. (2008). Proust and the Squid. Harper Collins. Available through Amazon: 0060186399 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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