Andrew Eynon’s Library Blog

A blog about librarianship in Further Education

Posts Tagged ‘Reader Development’

WHELF HE in FE Collaboration event

Posted by andrewey on June 30, 2009

At today’s Collaboration event at University of Wales, Newport there was a very informative double presentation from University of Bath.

The first presentation looked at the University’s use of social space in it’s recent redesign. This included the use of informal seating and furniture coupled with a relaxation of rules on eating and drinking (I liked the definition of their permissible eating policy = ‘sucky sweets’).

There were educational features incorporated in the redesign such as provision of movable whiteboards to encourage group work.

Furthermore the library has been promoting reader development through an ‘around the world in 80 books’ initiative where international students have recommended fiction titles which reflect their homelands for other students to read.

The second presentation looked at the library potential of QR codes. These are barcodes which can store information to provide links between physical and virtual resources.

Apparently this technology is already widely used in the Far East. The barcodes are read by mobile phone cameras which incorporate this technology. The software can also be down loaded to your phone if it is not already provided.

The QR code, once read, could contain a URL or digital information such as the catalogue record of a book you have just scanned (both uses were included in a JISC project undertaken by the University).

You should be able to see the QR codes for book stock on the University’s OPAC.

For more details see University of Bath blog

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Reader Development in FE

Posted by andrewey on June 16, 2009

The recent fforwm Learning Resource Managers’ network meeting showcased some of the reader development activities undertaken as part of a CyMAL funded scheme last autumn.

Particularly impressive were Swansea College’s book sack project with childcare students, who produced their own book sacks for use in encouraging reading amongst preschool children, and Coleg Glan Hafren’s use of a virtual reading group on Moodle.

More details on all the reader development activities can be found on the JISC RSC-Wales Moodle.

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MmIT Mobile learning seminar

Posted by andrewey on December 17, 2008

I attended an event yesterday at Liverpool John Moores University (JMU) on the use of mobile technologies in FE, HE and public libraries organised by the North West branch of MmIT.  

The event also included much reference to Web 2.0 tools, in addition to mobile technologies. The first talk looked at the use of training videos, primarily in Hospitality and Hair & Beauty, at West Cheshire College. The college has its own YouTube channelcontaining in-house produced training videos. The college library service also supports mobile learning through the loan of digital cameras, laptops and even Nintendo DSs.

 The second talk focused on the use of games consoles by Blackburn with Darwen public libraries – which were used as part of a programme of reader development by ‘stealth’ to attract more teenagers, particularly lads, to use the library. The library had also used ‘brain training’ software to encourage use of the library by over 50s.

Finally there was a talk about a research project at JMU looking at the use of mobile technologies and mobile learning within the university. This research project is only in its infancy but there were already some interesting findings on how students regard the use of mobile technologies in education. One of the researchers is keeping a blog on the project if you want to follow their findings.

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Websites to support Reader Development

Posted by andrewey on September 17, 2008

As part of the Applications of ICT in Libraries course candidates complete a unit on the use of online resources to support reader development. Here is a quick overview of some of the relevant resources that could be used:

Resources to support readers

Which Book– this enable readers to select fiction on the basis on content (eg how much or little violence, sex, humour etc) and character/plot (eg gender, country, race etc). The site contains book reviews (written by library staff I believe) and links to UK public library catalogues to check holdings. 

Reader2Reader – another site aimed at readers with book reviews and supported by the People’s Network.  

Reader Development

Opening the Book – company specialising in staff training and equipment relating to reader promotion. Now hosts the archives for the English and Welsh Reader Development initiatives prior to 2006:

Branching Out – English public library initiative to support reader development – with resources, case studies etc

Estyn Allan – Welsh public library equivalent of branching out (contains bilingual resources)

Adult literacy initiatives

www.literacytrust.org.uk – supports literacy initiatives such as the Vital link, ‘Quick Reads’ and RaW, also includes a library reader development toolkit and a calendar of reading events.

www.readingagency.org – supports reading initiatives in libraries

Welsh interest sites

www.gwales.com Site supporting books in Welsh and of Welsh interest, includes book reviews

www.wbc.org.uk Welsh Books Council site, includes Wales book of the month and awards for Children’s and Basic skills titles

Discussion lists

JISC Mail Reader Development list – forum for discussing Reader Development

Other online resources

Book review, publisher and bookseller websites also make good resources for Reader Development (see my post Using Amazon for Reader Development for an example)

 

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Using Amazon in Reader Development

Posted by andrewey on September 1, 2008

Whichever definition of Reader Development you prefer they all entail broadening the reading experience – many readers stick to a very limited range of writers and one of the main challenges of reader development is to widen this range.

Although there are websites specifically designed to promote reader development in this way eg Reader2Reader and Which Book you could also achieve the same sort of result using a website the reader may already be familiar with ie Amazon. The other advantage of Amazon is that it also includes academic material so can also be utilised in an academic context for general subject enquiries of the type often encountered in FE.

Although Amazon enables you to search for works by the same author with ease it is its other features which I’m going to highlight for use in reader development. A good starting point is to identify a book the reader has read recently which they found enjoyable (or useful in an academic context). As an example I will use Vasily Grossman’s novel Life and Fate, which is a contemporary fictionalised account of the battle for Stalingrad in World war II.

1) ‘frequently bought together’ link – which gives you the most likely complementary title. In this case it is an obvious one – a collection of Grossman’s own writings of the period as a reporter with the Red Army.

2) ‘Customers who bought this item also bought’ – this usually gives you a wide range of similar titles. In this example there are over 80 titles in this category. The nature of this book means you have fiction and non-fiction titles including works of Russian literature, Russian History and Stalinism. 

3) ‘Customer reviews’ – there is some concern over review sections on websites in that they may be impartial (Amazon does give authors and publishers the option of reviewing titles openly). My main concern with review sections, whether it be Amazon or iTunes or other similar database, is that it seems reviewers give 5 stars to everything they like rather than just to outstanding works. Therefore reading the reviews is probably the best way of gauging how impartial the review is and why that person thinks the item is so good or poor. Amazon does give you a quick tally of ratings – in this case Life and Fate has thirteen 5 star ratings, one 4 star rating and nothing any lower – so a pretty impressive range of scores.

4) ‘Product description’ – often no more than the blurb from the back cover but still more information that you are likely to find on an average library catalogue

5) ‘Search inside’ – offers you the chance to actually read part of the book online (this usually includes at least the contents page and index for academic titles)

6) ‘Customers who viewed this item also viewed’ – this gives you some more possible titles beyond the 80 plus identified above. 

7) Tags – customers can now add their own tags to supplement the subject index already created by Amazon

8) Comments – there is a discussion forum and there can be comments posted on individual (book) reviews

9) ‘Listmania’ – these can often take you to obvious choices eg other great works of Russian literature or to lists which are more personal in their selection – of works that readers have enjoyed or think complement each other.

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