INFO 281-12
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Booktalking and Booktrailering
Summer 2021 Syllabus

Joni Richards Bodart
Phone: (408) 924-2728

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning June 1st, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets. The class ends on August 7th.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically. 

Course Description

This course is designed to teach students the skills, techniques, and procedures for developing and implementing booktalking and school visiting programs for middle and high school-aged students and adults, including face-to-face presentations, digital booktalks, and book trailers using live-action, animation, slides, and soundtracks. Students will learn how to “read for booktalking” in all its formats, what types of talks and formats work best for which titles and audiences, how to prepare a face to face presentation for a group, various presentation styles for both face to face and digital booktalking, and how to work with school faculty and administration to set up a booktalking program in school, and how to make digital talks and trailers a part of that program. Booktalking programs for adults and how to set them up and run them will also be included, as well as how to teach both face to face and digital booktalking, and how to set up a curriculum unit on booktalking for middle and high school students, including digital and face to face booktalks, and various kinds of book trailers.


Students will be automatically enrolled in the Canvas site for this course. The course will be automatically available to students on June 1, 2021.

I expect each student to check into the Canvas course site at least once per day. Visit the Canvas class site often for course updates, resources, announcements, and other relevant information. Students are responsible for the content on the Canvas course site and Syllabus. It is also the student’s responsibility to ask questions and express concerns quickly so that I can provide an answer/response as soon as possible.

I expect you to answer emails promptly and keep up with additional postings and information put on the site.

DISCLAIMER I make every effort to proofread the Syllabus and the Canvas website, but errors can occur. Please contact me with any errors you see or any questions or may have so I can correct or explain them.

Instructional Philosophy I want each of you in this course to succeed, and I will do everything I can to help you do so, but this is a partnership. Please make sure that communication is your top priority during the semester. Ask questions when you have them, seek clarifications when you need them, and take responsibility for understanding all expectations, content, and assignments for the course. You are responsible for your own learning experience. I do not make you succeed. YOU make you succeed. You also make you fail. Understanding the contents and expectations explained in the Syllabus is critical for a student’s success in the class.

Course Requirements


· All students must have access to a video camera and the ability and software to load recordings to the course site.

· Students are expected to attend (either in person or asynchronously) all scheduled Zoom sessions, actively participate in class discussion threads, complete reading assignments, watch all assigned video presentations, and submit written and video assignments on due dates.

· Assignments must be submitted via the drop boxes on the course website. Lecture information will be given in print and video formats and made available on the course site.

ZOOM SESSION There will one Zoom class session, which is required asynchronously and which will be recorded for asynchronous viewing. However, it is highly recommended that you attend this class synchronously. Synchronous attendance will allow you to ask questions and clarify concepts and procedures. I will also do a live demo of booktalking.

The two sessions on booktrailers will be taught asynchronously by a guest speaker, Naomi Bates, who has provided many links and reference materials. Naomi has changed jobs, and no longer has time to work in person with this class, but I have the recordings of her lectures, which you can watch at your convenience. She has also given me lots of links to her online workshops and websites for her most up-to-date information.

6/2—Introduction to class and explanation of syllabus and course website, and live booktalking demo. (This may not last till 9:00.) (Link is in Zoom module.)

Links for Zoom recordings and slideshows are posted on the Zoom module on the class website. You are required to have a microphone and speaker to use this software. I suggest purchasing a headset with a mike attached since that will give the best sound quality and also leave your hands free for typing and mousing.

You will need to get to class for our introductory meeting AT LEAST 10 minutes ahead of time, so we can check to see that you can speak and hear. When this has been confirmed, you may step away from your computer, and you don’t have to come back till 630. BTW, I have to do this too, to make sure my hardware is working properly as well. I will get to class about 10-15 minutes before class starts, and set up a waiting room so I can let you each in individually, and make sure we don’t have anyone coming in without permission. The link to the 6/2 Zoom session will be in the Zoom module on the website.


If you do not understand the assignment, please let me know either by personal email or in the FAQs. I have tried to be as clear as possible, and have even repeated myself in various places to make instructions more clear. But we all think differently, and if you don’t get what I am saying, you need to let me know so I can clarify whatever you are confused about.


Read texts. You are expected to read the articles on the website and the instructional portion of all of the texts, excluding the actual booktalks which are not required but are examples. CLOs 1-9.


Attend the introductory class session or watch the recordings of it. Watch all student demos of booktalking and booktrailers. Both class ad demos are required. Students will be required to participate in class discussion during class sessions or on discussion forums on the class website about booktalks and book trailers in general, presenting their ideas and their questions, participate in appropriate and constructive criticism of their colleagues, and exhibit appropriate skills in giving and receiving feedback from myself and your colleagues. CLOs 1-9.

PLEASE NOTE FOR ASSIGNMENTS 3&4: There are lots of examples of booktalks and booktrailers online, especially YouTube and others mentioned below, but they vary greatly—and some of them are pretty awful. Others are quite good, and the differences are fairly easy to see, even for a novice. You need to use the criteria that I and Naomi will give you and the examples on the class website when creating your talks and trailers.


You will be required to write and present three 15 minute booktalking presentations, and will be evaluated by yourselves, your classmates, and myself. Each presentation will include at least 6 books (you may do more if you like, or if you need to in order to get to 15 min), and you will be doing them for three different age groups: one for older children, one for tweens and teens, and the third for adults—one presentation for each age group. You can choose what age level you do for each presentation. You can record these presentations yourself or you can work with a camera operator. Two of these presentations MUST show you from a distance, as an audience would see you, from head to about your knees. You will need to arrange your notes and books on some kind of a flat surface before you, like a table, and create a display of the titles you used for your talk. This will mean that you will NOT be able to read your talks from a screen, and will show me how well you handle both books and notes. You should be able to refer to your notes unobtrusively, without distracting your audience. You might want to consider printing out just the outline of the talk and using big type so it’s easy to see when you glance down at it quickly. You may do your first set of talks when sitting before your computer, so we see a closeup of you on the screen, but far enough away so you have room to display the books in the presentation, as described above. However, if you read all or even most of your talk, points will be deducted.

For each presentation, you must write at least four talks, and adapt at least two from various print and online sources—you will need to make a note at the top of each talk stating whether you wrote or adapted it and, if the latter, where you found the original talk. The total number of talks in each presentation will depend on the length of the talks—you will most likely do shorter ones for children, and longer ones for YAs and adults. Each presentation will be 15 min long, not matter the age level it is intended for.

You will use discussion forums to post your draft talks for comments and critiques, and then rewrite each individual talk and repost it, until each is the best possible version. In other words, you will write a first draft, and post it so your colleagues and I can read and evaluate and comment on it. You will revise it and repost it for more comments until it is as good as you can make it. You must submit at least two drafts to show that you have responded to feedback. You will record the revised version of your talks for each of your presentations.

You will share your booktalks by posting them online on a site like YouTube or TeacherTube, and there are lots of other sites out there where you can post them. (My preference is YouTube, but using it is NOT required.) Please use the same site for all talks, unless you have a problem with the software. It will need to be available for the whole semester, although you can take it down after the end of the class if you wish. You are not required to use tags to identify it, so it will be more or less private. You will use as a title for each of your presentations including the age group it is for, your name, my name and the class name. EX: Teen booktalks, J Smith, Bodart, Booktalking and Booktrailering. (Searching under my name will bring up booktalks and booktrailers from previous classes.)

You will post a link to each presentation on the appropriate discussion forum with the one-page paper including:

  • description of your visit (setting, ages of audience, goal of the teacher or whoever invited you to the group, your own goals—this can be an actual visit IRL or a fictional one you designed
  • why you chose the titles you did
  • how you went about creating talks for them
  • the text of your talks.

You must also put this information in the appropriate dropbox in order to get a grade. Your participation grade will depend heavily on how well each of you contributes appropriate criticism and praise to your peers. At the end of the semester, each of you will to collect all the talks, so you will have a database of all the talks done by the whole class, each of them revised and polished. You can draw from this database when you do booktalks for your students or library customers in the future.

Please do not limit your feedback to praise only. This is not a mutual admiration society. It is a chance for you to get critical feedback on your work, so you can improve it. You will be improving throughout the semester, so will obviously get more negative feedback on your first talks that on your final group. Your feedback should be honest and genuine, avoiding hurtful words or thoughts. Consider how you prefer to get negative feedback and follow those guidelines. More guidelines are in the Modules section.

Due to varying restrictions on gathering in groups, you may not be able to make in-person presentations. You will not be penalized if this is the case. IRL presentations for at least one of your three presentations is recommended but is not required.

You may choose to do your talks for a live audience. While it may seem more scary, it will probably also be more fun, because you will have immediate feedback from your audiences. However, do remember if you choose to do this, teen audiences are terminally cool, and you will have to look harder for their reactions than those of children or tweens. Adult audiences are hard to predict, but I’ve found audiences of seniors to be very appreciative. Live presentations generally work better with someone else running the camera, but that isn’t required.

To make sure you understand: you are not required to do your presentations live, but you can choose to do so. This means working with a librarian to set up a program, maybe part of the library’s SRP for either teens or children. If you belong to any type of adult recreational group, (book club, dinner/cooking club, sports team, or just a group of willing friends you like to socialize with—you can be creative about the group) you could ask them to listen to your presentation and help you get a better grade—I assume these people would be friends and willing to help out. You can do some of your presentations without an audience and others with one. Doing all your presentations without an audience is also fine. CLOs 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9.


You will be required to create three booktrailers and present them to the class. They will be for the same age levels that the booktalks were. You will be using the Naomi Bates recordings bibliographies, and lists of websites and other resources. There are also a number of other recordings that I have posted to the Booktrailering module. In addition, you can find links to Naomi’s presentations on and Prezi in the module. These resources will give you information on how to create different kinds of trailers, including talking heads, slides with text and soundtrack, voiceover and soundtrack, and live-action posted on the website.

You will post your trailers for feedback as described above for booktalks. For each, you will also post a description of how you created your trailer, the software you used and the resources you used for photos and music. You may take your own photos, and create your own music/soundtrack if you choose to do so, or use stock photos and music on Creative Commons and other sites with free material on them. You will receive feedback from me and from your peers. It’s essential that you include credits at the end of each trailer, detailing where you found all music and images. The credits need to roll slowly or pause individual slides so the watcher can actually read them. Some class members may want to use or view the same resource you used. (Please note that you will not be adapting trailers that have already been published. All three MUST be your original work.)

You will share your booktrailers by posting them online, on a site like YouTube or TeacherTube, and there are lots of other sites out there where you can post them. (I prefer YouTube, but you are NOT required to use it.) Please use the same site for all trailers, unless you have a problem with the software. It will need to be available for the whole semester, although you can take it down after the end of the class. You are not required to use tags to identify it, so it will be more or less private. You will use the title of the book, your name, my name, and the title of the class as the title of the booktrailer. (Searching for my name will bring up booktrailers and booktalks from previous semesters.)

Once your trailer has been critiqued and edited on the appropriate discussion forum, you will present it to the class by posting a link to your booktrailer on the appropriate discussion forum with the one-page paper describing your process of creating it, just as you did your booktalks.

Please do not limit your feedback to praise only. This is not a mutual admiration society. It is a chance for you to get critical feedback on your work, so you can improve it. You will be improving throughout the semester, so will obviously get more negative feedback on your first trailers that on your final group. Your feedback should be honest and genuine, avoiding hurtful words or thoughts. Consider how you prefer to get negative feedback and follow those guidelines. More guidelines are in the Modules section.

You must also put this information in the appropriate dropbox in order to get a grade. Your participation grade will depend heavily on how well each of you contributes appropriate criticism and praise to your peers. At the end of the semester, you will have a database of all the booktrailers from the whole class. CLOs 4, 5, 6, 9.


You will turn in a paper reflecting on your semester and discussing your conceptualization of the usefulness of booktalks and booktrailers, how they fit into both youth and adult reading motivation techniques, and your beliefs or philosophy concerning them, and how you will incorporate them into your work as a librarian in various settings—in the library, in schools, and in other community venues or settings. These papers will be posted on the appropriate discussion forum, and ALSO posted to the appropriate dropbox. CLOs 1-9.


Assignments 3 (3 booktalking presentations) and 4 (3 booktrailers) will each count for 25% of your grade, and the other assignments (readings, final paper and class participation) be averaged together for the other 50%.

Each of these assignments is designed to support the others. You need to read your texts and watch the videos in order to get enough information to participate in the class discussions. You will be asking for feedback from others about your talks and trailers, selecting, adapting, and practicing them, and giving feedback on the same things. Your informal papers on each presentation/trailer will allow you to share your process and purpose for each of them. The final informal paper will allow you to go back over the semester and look at how far you have come, and how you will be using in the future what you have learned this semester.


I have planned due dates to allow for your learning curves in writing talks and creating trailers. You have time at the beginning of the semester to read and view materials on how to write talks and create trailers, and to begin to work on your 6 presentations. I want you to do two of your booktalking presentations first, and then one of your booktrailers. Then you will do your third booktalking presentation and your second booktrailer, and then the final booktrailer. You will notice that the due dates get closer together as the semester moves along. That’s because once you have done your first booktalks or booktrailers and gotten feedback about them while you are creating them and after you present them, you will be able to do the other presentations more easily, because of the knowledge you gained from the first presentations.

Please note that doing only three examples of booktalking presentations and booktrailers will not make you an expert in either. However, you will have gotten your feet wet with both and will be more ready to jump in at the deep end when you have to use these skills on the job. Please do not ask to reduce the number of presentations—I included that number because I think it takes three experiences/presentations to attain even minimal mastery of skills like the ones you will be learning this semester.

First booktalking presentation: Due 6/20, written feedback due 6/27

Second booktalking presentation 6/27, written feedback due 7/4

First booktrailer: Due 7/4, written feedback due 7/11

Third booktalking presentation: 7/11, written feedback due 7/18

Second booktrailer: Due 7/18, written feedback due 7/25

Third booktrailer: 7/25, written feedback due 8/1

Final paper: 8/8



Class participation is essential in this course.

It is defined as:

· responding to questions from me and from other class members pertaining to the lecture and the outside readings

· bringing up questions about the lecture and readings that require clarification, that you wish to dispute, or that you agree with

· being an active participant in your own learning process

Comments and questions should be relevant to the topic under discussion, and take into consideration both that humor can enhance learning, and that this is a graduate classroom and some level of analytical thought is expected.

Class participation on discussion boards is easy to track with Canvas, and my assistant will be taking role at each e-session. Please note that thoughtful, structured posts that contribute to the learning of the entire class will be weighted more heavily than “attaboys,” even though the latter are still meaningful to the person being supported. You will all learn more and gain more expertise if you take the time and trouble to comment constructively on others’ talks and trailers, and attend to the comments given to you. Your final grade will be better as well!

You will learn from each other as well as from me. However, you do NOT have to agree with me in order to speak. I am not always right, by any means, and welcome your dissension as well as your agreement. I want to learn with you.

It is important for each of us to remember that no question is dumb, no response silly or invalid, and no idea unworthy of consideration. This pertains to all comments, whether they are made by you, by me, or by someone else in the class.

Please read, think, and share your thoughts with the other members of this class, both in and out of class. Bring your ideas, your questions, and your insights with you to class, so we can all learn and grow together.


History of booktalking

What booktalks are

Why they are useful

Benefits of booktalking

Types of talks

Styles of talks

How to “read for booktalking”

Writing talks

Adapting talks

Practice techniques

Presentation techniques

Setting up a school visiting program

Maximizing the positive impact of booktalking on your library

Booklists, bibliographies, book merchandising and display techniques to support booktalks

Budgeting for booktalking

Teaching booktalking

Giving effective feedback

Digital booktalks

Talking head



What they are

How to create them

Where to find them online

Types of trailers

Slides with text or voiceover

Live-action with text or voiceover

Actors and scripts

Resources for creating trailers

Finding images

Finding music

Finding fonts

Putting it all together—making it lively and seamless

How to make them part of a booktalking program

Part of live presentations

Closed-loop on library TVs

Have teens create their own


If you notice any errors or dates that don’t seem to fit, please let me know right away and I will fix them. I went over these dates several times, trying to give you as much time as possible for each assignment. FINAL DUE DATE IS AUGUST 9. I WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY ASSIGNMENTS AFTER MIDNIGHT ON AUGUST 9.

6/2—Attend class or watch the recording—Introduction to class, discussion of booktalking lecture and student performances, Q&A on booktalking, and on the course. Booktalking demonstration.

6/1—6/7—Begin reading and viewing the materials available on the website and in your textbooks. Include both information on booktalking and booktrailering. Watch the lecture on how to do booktalks and several of the student presentations. Post questions and comments on the appropriate discussion forum. Examine several of the websites and documents listed on the class website. Please include the article I did on the history of booktalking (That was Then, This is Now) and Naomi Bates’ information on her blog about how she makes booktrailers. (Look at booktrailer tech tips.) Continue to read and view material on website during the semester to enhance the quality of your performances/presentations. I will let you know when I add new materials. YOU WILL BE DOING MOST OF YOUR BACKGROUND/HOW-TO READING DURING THIS TIME PERIOD, AND THEN APPLY IT DURING THE REST OF THE SEMESTER.

6/8-6/14 Begin working on your first booktalking presentation. Post on the Booktalk 1 Feedback discussion board and get feedback from your colleagues. Rewrite and repost as necessary until you are satisfied with the script. Record your presentation until you are satisfied with it. Include only your talks in the recording: “Hi, I’m Joni Bodart. I’m the YA librarian at the San Jose High School/Public Library, and I’ve come to talk to you about some books you could use for your free reading or for extra credit.” Or something similar that fits with you. Then start your talks.

6/20—Turn in link to finished recording and also the script of the booktalks and the description of the group you are talking to and the reasons for the presentation, and the reasons why you chose the specific titles you are including, and why you have included them in a specific order, if you have done so. Post to Booktalk 1 discussion forum, and submit to Assignments dropbox.

6/21-6/26—Watch all presentations, taking notes on things done well and those that need improvement. Include comments on the content of the presentation and also on the presentation itself, apart from the booktalks themselves. In other words, examine what they said and how they said it. Post your comments on the appropriate forum, and submit them to the drop box. Begin working on your second booktalking presentation.

6/27—Feedback on first booktalking presentations due, submit as described above. Second booktalking presentation due, submit as described above.

6/28-7/3—Begin working on first booktrailer. Watch all second booktalking presentations, commenting on things done well and those that need improvement, as described above. Submit comments to dropbox and to discussion forum.

7/4—Feedback on second booktalking presentation due. Submit to appropriate discussion forum and to assignment dropbox. First booktrailer due. Turn in the link to the presentation and a paper discussing how you created it, and why you used the book, the software and the websites you used; what the creative process was like; and how successful or unsuccessful you think you were. Submit link to appropriate discussion forum for feedback.

7/5-7/10—Watch all booktrailers and provide feedback on appropriate discussion board. Begin working on second booktrailer.

7/11—Feedback due on first booktrailer, post to dropbox and to appropriate discussion board. Third booktalking presentation due. Submit as above for second booktalking presentation

7/12-7/17—Begin work on second booktrailer

7/18—Second booktrailer due, submit as described above. Feedback on third booktalking presentation due, submit as described above. Begin work on third booktrailer.

7/25—Third booktrailer due. Feedback on second booktrailer due, as described above.

8/1—Feedback on third booktrailer due, submit as described above.

8/8—Final paper due. Post to assignment dropbox and appropriate discussion board.


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

INFO 281 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the different kinds of booktalks, and which are most effective with different writing styles, genres, and audiences.
  2. Create or adapt written booktalks of different formats, styles, and lengths that will entice audiences of varying ages to read the titles presented.
  3. Perform face-to-face and digital booktalks in a variety of settings and for different audiences.
  4. Use still images, captions, voiceovers, and soundtracks to create effective booktrailers.
  5. Write effective readers' annotations for booklists and bibliographies.
  6. Exhibit familiarity with book display and merchandising techniques, including the use of digital talks and trailers, necessary to support an extensive booktalking and school visiting program, or a booktalking program in the public library or other venues.
  7. Work with school faculty and administration to set up and run an extensive school visiting program, and work with administration of the public library to support a booktalking program for audiences of various ages, set up in various locations.
  8. Understand the impact of an extensive booktalking program on the public library, and identify techniques to ensure that the impact is as positive as possible for all library departments.
  9. Write a curriculum unit on teaching booktalking and/or booktrailering to middle or high school students.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
  2. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.
  3. M Demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills.
  4. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Bodart, J (1985). Booktalk! 2: Booktalks for all ages and audiences. HW Wilson. Available through Amazon: 0824207165 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Pattison, D. (2011). Book trailer manual. Mims House. Available As Free PDFarrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Cole, S. (2010). Booktalking around the world: Great global reads for ages 9-14. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1598846132 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Jarrell, J., & Cannon, T. (2010). Cooler than fiction: A planning guide for teen nonfiction booktalks. McFarland and Company, Inc. Available through Amazon: 0786448865 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Schall, L (2011). Value–packed booktalks: Genre talks and more for teen readers. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 159884735X 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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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