Sunday, March 5, 2017

Special Topics Paper - Genre Reading Challenge 2017

Joyce Saricks explains the necessity of understanding genre fiction this way, "to help librarians become familiar with fiction genres, especially those we do not personally read by choice." (Saricks, 2009) For this paper, I have chosen to develop a reading challenge for librarians who wish to expand their skills as Readers’ Advisors', but could be used by anyone who wishes to broaden their reading horizons.

Enhancing our knowledge of fiction genres and their different formats will help us fulfill these laws. This reading challenge will help librarians match readers to books and books to readers. Our increased awareness of and familiarity with new authors and genres will help us better serve our patrons. There may be members of our staff who have never read an eBook, listened to an audiobook, or watched the movie that is based on a book they read. Actually using these formats will, hopefully, will encourage our staff to recommend other formats which will promote integrated readers advisory. The challenge will save time for the reader who might need assistance in deciding what kind of book they are in the mood for but doesn’t have time for an interview, by giving them a framework for their selections. The challenge will help our library as those who participate in the challenge will be active participants influencing further collection development. After reading a book outside of their customary comfort zone, staff or patrons may request other titles by newly discovered authors or in alternate genres.

Understanding what elements are important to the reader will enhance the librarian's ability to provide quality readers' advisory. One reader may enjoy J.D.. Robb because of a writing style element that is similar to Nora Roberts romance even though the genre is dramatically different, while another may not care about the writing style as an element at all and thus not be interested in crossing genres in this case. Each reader has specific elements they are looking for, some they may not even be aware of. Being able to articulate a variety of elements and the works that exemplify them will be beneficial in finding that next 
great read.

I recently read about a library system that developed a reading challenge which the entire library staff; director, managers, clerks, administration, pages, technical services and even the IT staff all participated. Their goal was to encourage everyone on the staff to talk about books, to each other as well as with their patrons. They saw a positive shift in both attitude and motivation by the staff as well as a huge jump in circulation fueled by both patrons and staff. Their patrons responded to this shift and often commented on how much friendlier the staff had become.

Duplicating these results for our library is my dream goal. For now, our plan is to make the challenge optional for the staff and available to our patrons. Any exposure to new genres and/or authors will be a step in the right direction for our staff. A passive program such as this might be something a more reserved patron would participate in on their own, without having to risk "exposing" themselves like they would during the normal Readers' Advisory Interview. Everyone who participates will be broadening their horizons and hopefully, by seeing things from a different perspective, will become more open-minded, tolerant, and compassionate.

Genre Fiction Reading Challenge 2017
Inspire your world with 26 books//one book every two months.

  • An Adventure novel with a female heroine.
  • A Romantic Suspense which takes place in an exotic locale.
  • A Suspense with a male protagonist.
  • A Corporate/Financial Thriller on an eReader.
  • A Gentle Read published between 1950 and 1970.
  • Listen to an audio book Horror novel.
  • A Romance written by a male author.
  • A novel of Women’s Lives and Relationships which takes place in Ireland.
  • A Literary Fiction novel that is a story within a story.
  • A Mystery that includes recipes.
  • A Psychological Suspense that has been made into a movie, watch the movie.
  • A book of Science Fiction short stories.
  • A Fantasy novel where at least some of the characters are non-human.
  • An Historical Fiction novel that takes place in two time periods.
  • A Spur Award-winning Western.
  • A Nonfiction book about immigration.
  • A New Adult novel about someone who has a mental illness.
  • A Young Adult novel written in verse.
  • An Urban Fiction novel that takes place in East Baltimore.
  • An African American novel written by a first-time author.
  • A LGBTQIA novel published by a micro press.
  • Read a book of Poetry aloud to someone.
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book.
  • A Memoir about someone whose ethnicity is different than yours.
  • A Banned book.
  • A book that was translated into English.


  1. Reading challenges! Who doesn't love reading challenges?! I'm definitely keeping a copy of this list. I might even pass it along to my supervisors; I would love to get something started like this at my library.

    1. I was asked do this assignment about something that our library might use. I'm glad you liked it and might be able to use it.

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  3. I really like this idea! This would be a really good idea to incorporate into a display, book club, or reading program. You could even have a display that shows what categories and books the participants have read. This could fuel some passive reader's advisory, too. I am also keeping a copy of this list. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Paige,
      I'm glad you enjoyed this and thank you for your great ideas!