Bibliodiversity: Diversity in Books? Books that are Diverse?

I recently discovered a really great podcast called Books on the Nightstand which is a weekly 30 minute discussion on books, hot topics and reader comments.  I love the diversity of the books they discuss and there is always a new idea that has me thinking.  I’ve been catching up on old episodes, and a topic came up called “Bibliodiversity.”  Now this wasn’t an original idea of BOTN, originally a concept from an academic journal.  Yet, I just loved the word and all the possibility behind the meaning.  It really had me thinking and asking questions!

Just what is Bibliodiversity?  Could it be a fancy way to say, “multicultural” literature?  Perhaps. Could it mean the diversity in reading materials such as print and ebooks?  Sure.  Yet, that word diversity, in relation to the huge bibliophile universe could mean any multitude of ideas.  Of course, the English major in me wanted to break down the actual word, taking in the prefix “biblio” and suffix “diversity” and Google them to see what overwhelming internet results would show.  Too much. defines the word “biblio” as that ‘used in the formation of compound words with the meaning “book”.’   They define the word “diversity” as ‘ 1. the state or fact of being diverse;  difference; unlikeness.  2. variety; multiformity. 3. a point of difference.’  Now, the possibilities are really endless with this absolutely magical word! I still have no idea how to narrow this concept down!

I suppose I like to think of the word Bibliodiversity as my own concoction of reading tastes in being an eclectic and different mix of genres in books.  Someone else could say it was their own formation of a diverse group of books in unique formats.  Or perhaps taking into account the simplicity of there being just a matter of point of difference, it could mean someone’s collection of French cookbooks but from different regions.

Of course, then I could take those meanings and make it about authors or book covers or even bookmarks! I could literally write a whole book, pun intended.

I love this word. I may need to visit it again.


Programming Recap: Fractured Fairy Tales

For what has been a few months now, I have been assisting in weekly programming events in the Youth Services department, especially in “Medieval Mania” as part of the summer reading program events.  The best part of this experience is that I was given the chance to plan, implement and run a program of my very own. I had 60 minutes to entertain children in 3rd through 5th grades and I was so excited (as much as I was nervous about being sure I had enough to fill the time).

What they don’t teach you in library school, however, is the fine art of children’s crafts!    The stories I chose to read, games to play and activities during the program came second nature to me.  Yet, OH how I deliberated, searched online and in the library’s enormous and stocked craft storage for what was going to be my inaugural craft of the summer!  How I laughed with my friends and family that I was nervous of these kids liking my craft because I not only wanted it to fit the theme of “Fractured Fairy Tales,” but also be a simple and fun activity and age appropriate.

My program was a huge hit!  The children loved the story titled, “The End” by David La Rochelle and understood both the humor and the sarcasm in the book.  The story is a simple and original fairy tale, told backwards beginning with the words, The End and ending with Happily Ever After.  It was inventive and the kids laughed when we read it aloud.  This was a great choice for a read aloud story because of the humor, as well as offered an alternative to the traditional fairy tale, which can sometimes be either too commercialized or too complex for storytime.

The game we played was a relay race, and the twist was that the race was backwards!  With about 40 children in attendance at the program, there were at least 7 teams; each team had to walk backward with a spoon holding a ball.  In retrospect, this was a bit tough for the kids to play and I would have had another game as a backup.  However, some of the kids really liked the game and even chose to play again!

The craft was a Hansel and Gretel Gingerbread house.  Using a die cut machine, I cut out craft foam houses and luckily used them all!  Then, the children had access to glitter glue, ribbon, beads, foam shapes, buttons and markers all in a large variety of colors.  I even had small self-stick magnets to put on the back if they wanted to make the house into a magnet for their refrigerator or desk.  This was a great craft because each child could be creative and use their imagination, while it also connected to the Fairy Tale theme.  Boys and girls alike loved inventing their own house and many surprised me with just how thoughtful they were in their placement of objects.  I also allowed about 5-10 minutes at the end of the allotted time to give children who didn’t finish the craft, time to finish which turned out to be a great strategy.

Turns out, 60 minutes quickly expires when a program is run well!  I would attribute it to not only observing my fellow librarians over the past weeks to see what works and what doesn’t, but also research and planning!   In addition, my many years in event planning really paid off in being able to control the crowd, keep things moving along and engage the children.

Knowing at least 3 weeks in advance was also a big help in determining what I could test out to be sure it would run smooth.  Questions I kept in consideration included asking myself:

  • if the activity would hold the child’s attention span
  • is the craft or game too easy or too difficult
  • will the story make sense to a child of this age
  • what is the flow of the program and is the scheduling fluid to accommodate on the spot changes

When I asked the kids as they were leaving if they had fun, the majority said YES…what I think is a fairly good gauge of a good time!

Check out my Gingerbread House example.

Program Outline:  Storytime, Game and Crafts by Jennifer A. Peterson

June 2011; Grade 3-5/Ages 8-10  Theme: Fractured Fairy Tales

Program Description

The program will begin with a general welcome and question to the kids if they know what a fairy tale is and what their favorite fairy tale is.  A fractured fairy tale will be briefly explained. Aproximately 10-15 minutes.

The story, The End by David LaRochelle will be read.  The question will be asked if they know the tale of “Hansel and Gretel.”  Aproximately 15 minutes.

Then a game will be played.  10-15 Quotes such as “I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff” will be given and the kids need to guess which famous fairy tale person said the statement.  Aproximately 10-15 minutes.

The craft will follow the question game.  It consists of a craft foam blank gingerbread house decorated as the kids wish, with buttons, glitter glue, markers, beads, ribbons.  Aproximately 15-20 minutes.

A relay race game will be played but backwards!  Teams will be divided and each child will race backwards with a spoon and a ball.  If kids don’t want to play the game, they can continue to work on their craft.  Aproximately 10-15 minutes.

Additional books and crafts will be used if time allows:

  •  Beware of the Bears by Allan Mac Donald.
  • The Truth About Hansel and Gretel by Karina Law.
  • The Three Silly Billies by Margie Palatini.
  • The Frog Prince Continued or the Stinky Cheese Man story both by Jon Sczieka.
  • Additional craft to make will be an origami frog.


Gingerbread House:   Using the die cut maker, various colored foam in the shape of a blank gingerbread house will be available.  Materials such as buttons, beads, ribbon, markers, glitter glue, and foam shapes will be available for the kids to use to decorate their house.  Small magnets are also available if the kids want to stick them to the back of the house to create a magnet.

Origami Frog:  Square sized, green and red paper, small google craft eyes, black markers.  There are two types of origami frogs the kids can choose to make, one is more simple than the other.

Materials Needed:

  • Craft foam, decorating materials, glue, scissors for craft; Approximately $1 in cost per craft
  • Large spoon and ball or round object for the game
  • Power point and laptop for the question game

Room Setup: 

  • Three tables on the stage for craft
  • 1 table on the floor for miscellaneous
  • Computer for power point game

Spark and Spirit

Old Books taken from Wikimedia Commons

Sparked by the love of books and reading, a spirit for knowledge, and a quest to continually find truth in matters both mundane and controversial, librarians have found themselves at the center of a new world unlike one they have been historically trained to uncover for the people. Guided by a much different principle of service, one that is free of any profit or personal gain, librarians hold a unique desire to give of their skills and knowledge, perhaps a gift to those they serve.

Enthusiasm and excitement are two words that come to mind when I think of my experience in graduate school.  My professors embraced such feelings in a very genuine way and it has certainly influenced my decision to enter the library world.  I hope to become the librarian that acts as a conduit between the world of knowledge and the expanding social world surrounding our everyday lives.  What I remember most about the library as a child is that of the summer reading program and wandering the stacks to find a new book to read.  A self-proclaimed booknerd, I found the library as a place where there was always a new discovery.  As a librarian, I hope to be able to create or influence that same feeling in patrons, one of spark and spirit that engages them in a way they perhaps didn’t know existed and provide my gift of skill and knowledge, enthusiasm and excitement.

Perhaps my goals are idealistic, but I have to believe that we as librarians entered this profession because of an underlying desire to learn and teach in a way that reaches all people of a community.I am so thrilled to enter such a profession where ideals and ethics are valued, where service is for a greater good, and where a librarian can make a difference.

Connecting Users With Information

Connecting users with information can take many forms from, assisting in a reference question to helping with a homework question, to serving as a reader’s adviser in helping a patron discover their next favorite book.  While face-to-face contact is best, outside of this, the best resources I not only utilize as a library patron, but also frequently find are helpful ways to connect users to information, is through the use of pathfinders and reading maps. These tools are resources that offer a wealth of information on a specific topic, often engaging patrons to seek out ideas and interests.

Below are three examples of pathfinders I’ve created to help connect patrons with information surrounding a specific book, author and topic.

Gardening Tips and Resources Online Pathfinder

Behind the Book: Online Reading Map of the Suspense Novel 13-1/2 by Nevada Barr

Jane Eyre and the Bronte Sisters Online Pathfinder

Teaching Others

Teaching others is at the core of what the librarian does every day.  It is through engaging in all of the other 6 principles do we effectively take on that which is teaching others how to read, learn, be entertained, discover and hopefully want to then teach someone else.  It is by using creative solutions that librarians are able to connect users with information, provide access to and freedom of information, and take advantage of new information needs and opportunities all for the ultimate advantage of serving the patron.

Such creative solutions involve many aspects, two of which are exemplified here.  Through creative use with what is otherwise a simple flyer, ideas are fostered, information is shared, and opportunities arise for further learning and enjoyment of an author or a subject.  It is by providing this access that we serve the library patron.

Children’s Author James Marshall

Christian Fiction for Young Adults

Information Needs & Opportunities

As Librarians, we are in constant search of information and we are typically the first to embrace new technologies, ideas and concepts to better our library, serve our patrons and help positively influence the community.  This desire also means we are in constant search of recognizing and understanding the needs of those patrons and communities, and identifying the opportunities to better assist in serving.  These two blog postings best exemplify two opportunities libraries currently face; addressing the needs of the Millennial Generation and making smaller, the Digital Divide plus understanding the need that arises as a result; The Hyperlinked LIbrary.   Links to referenced articles are included.

Blog Posting: Original Date October 24, 2010

In thinking about how libraries can better “reach all users and understanding users,” I am reminded of a conversation I had with my two Millenial generation cousins about Facebook.  They each have hundreds and hundreds of friends, and I asked them if they even knew who all those people were.    They each replied with the same response…”well, yes, I either go to school with them, or play sports with them or met them at a party…it’s just what we do, it’s what everybody does…” and I realized how natural it was for them to just friend people.  I used to be a person who friended everyone I knew or met because it was simply fun, and then upon realizing I was sharing information with people I really didn’t know or cared about, cleaned up my list dramatically.  The difference between our two generations was apparent with this simple idea of Facebook friends.

I had this difference in mind when I read the article titled, “How Millenials Sharing Habits Can Benefit Organizations” in the Harvard Business Review.  I could understand how these differences in generations was also permeating my life at home and at work.  The sharing aspect does appear in more ways than just sharing with Facebook friends and Twitter.  The life of the business world is no longer about personal growth and promotion, although those are still a strong goals, but more about the Team and what is good for the Team and how can I make the Team better.  This sharing aspect of collaborative projects and reviewing drafts while I believe is great for certain types of work, also takes out the individuality of the work.  No longer am I the author of a newsletter article, it’s the marketing department that wrote it because of the team meeting they had to brainstorm about the topic.  I am one of the narcissistic Gen X’rs that likes my name on the byline.

In libraries, however, I think this sharing aspect beautifully combines the best of what is needed in order for libraries to succeed.  Libraries are there to serve yes, the individual patron, but also the community of patrons.  The Team is essential in order for the library as a place to thrive because of the purpose it serves; learning, literacy, advocacy are goals that can start with the individual, but will essentially need a team or a group in order to truly be at its best.

Read “How Millenials Sharing Habits Can Benefit Organizations”

Blog Posting: Original Date November 6, 2010

The Hyperlinked Library

Upon reading the article, “The Visitors”, the image that kept sticking with me was the reference desk in the library.  The reference desk has always been the place where I remember the image of the “shhhhhshng” librarian to be, her bun and glasses firmly in place.  In my local public library, they have moved the reference desk to the center of the library, it’s round and has loads of information already available and the librarians are very visible.  I don’t feel so afraid to approach them, and in fact, they appear more professional and helpful than ever.  I find this point from the article extremely beneficial for libraries because it makes me think of all the ways the library is and could be hyperlinked to its patrons: “The potential for the commons/community space in libraries to be many things–fun, playful, engaging, useful. A totally red romance room, games available to all, a chance to view local history and add to it are all part of the space.”

In this article, the “Unquiet Library” discusses the positive effects of being “unquiet” in a library and how it fosters activity.  Activity in a library can mean so many things to different people, and in the library, activity can mean a group of men reading the newspapers, teenagers playing a game in the young adult area or families choosing DVDs to take home.  I find activity in the Rebecca Crown library at Dominican University to be engaging everytime I go inside and I am always looking around to see what people are doing.  The interaction between students and even those patrons looking for books or working on homework is interesting for me to see how the libraries resources are being used.

I am reminded of a blog I subscribe to called, “Designing Better Libraries” which talks about not only the physical design, but also the design of its materials and use. There is a great article about the topic of “Experience Design” that I think you’ll enjoy. Hyperlinked libraries can certainly increase the effectiveness and enjoyment of the library because by the very concept create a unique and fun experience design, full of activity that everyone can utilize and love.

Read “The Visitors” and “Unquiet Library Has High-Schoolers Geeked.”

Philosophy of Service

An important, almost gallant aspect in librarianship, is that of service, to the patrons and to the community it serves.  Below is an example of two outreach programs. These programs not only create access of information to those that may otherwise not have it, but also displays how the librarian embraces a philosophy of service to their community.  It is this philosophy that make such a program useful and helpful, to what is often an underserved patron group.

Program Outline:  Outreach Program to Teens

Theme: Teen Pregnancy, address the needs of pregnant teenagers, their parents, and those who are already teenage parents.

Statement of problem and need

The program is necessary even in the wealthiest communities because every year, an estimated 750,000 adolescents 15-19 years become pregnant according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Washington DC.  According to the Illinois Department of Public Health and Human Services, Teen Parent Services, 4,100 Illinois women younger than 19 draw public assistance every year.  Illinois is also ranked 18th out of all 50 states in teenage birth rates and above the national rate of 56.8 out of 1,000 births at a rank of 60. In addition to such statistics, sex in general, especially sex education, is often a taboo topic.  The library is needed to address teenage pregnancy because the library is a neutral informational facility where parents and teenagers can go together to get information or guidance without judgment and maintain privacy.

Statement of a solution or answer

If there is a program in the library addressing teenage pregnancy, it would promote public awareness, including teenagers, of the increasing situation and provide another educational opportunity other than school, on the consequences of unprotected sex.   The program would also provide education for future pregnant teenagers on their options and also for those young teenage mothers that need parenting advice.

Project Description

The target audience is teenage parents, pregnant teens, and their parents needing information and advice.  In the library, a pathfinder of books relevant to sex education, teenage pregnancy, adoption, abortion, parenting will be available for checkout.  The pathfinder will detail where the books can be found.  Each month, a different counselor or professional whose focus is teen pregnancy will be at each session to facilitate.  Materials will be available from the agencies presenting.  These agencies we partner with will also cooperate in assisting with promotion of the program to their teenagers.

Best Information Resources

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Medline Plus from the US National Library of Medicine

The Illinois Department of Human and Health Services

The Rural Assistance Center’s Guide to Teen Preganancy

The American Pregnancy Association

Positive and negative issues and/or concerns

The biggest issue or concern we have is the controversial nature of the topic and the appropriation of funds to an underserved or challenged group of people.  The library staff would need to be educated on teenage pregnancy, statistics, and the local agencies.  In addition, the staff would need to be able to answer the challenging questions, and especially for those that don’t agree with the program being held.    In choosing materials, we would need to ensure they are as objective as possible and offer a variety to satisfy all options of the teenager in need.  The groups or agencies involved would need to be screened and approved by the head of teen services to again ensure objectivity and privacy of the participants.

Overview of budget

  • AV equipment already held by the library
  • 1 staff member present for the hour program, greeting before and closing after
  • $150 per speaker each month includes all their costs and handouts
  • $30 each month for pizza, pop and paper goods
  • No charge to attend, but registration will be required

Overview of timeline

The program will be promoted through in the library through the website, social networking tools, newsletter, and through flyers and signs in the teen department.  The program will also be promoted through signs and flyers at the speakers’ agencies and at hospitals and other health facilities such as free clinics and doctor’s offices.  We will also reach out to local high school nurses and health educators for librarians to speak to classrooms announcing the program and encouraging attendance.  A press release to announce the program to the larger public will also be distributed to local newspapers for inclusion in their community events or calendar.

Promotion through these outlets will be on an ongoing basis once the program is approved to move forward.

Evaluation will be done by providing quick surveys after each session to attendees.  A once-a-year survey will be done for those that attended several or all sessions.

One example of some demonstrable aspect of the program

The librarian will close the program with a book talk of a useful book offered in the library, which each of us will demonstrate.

Program Outline:  Outreach Program to Older Children

Theme: “Choose Your Own Display”; Bringing creativity outlets to kids.  The theme of the book display is chosen by the children and voted on through a form from the library.

Target Audience: Children ages 9-12, approximate grades 4th, 5th and 6th.  If used in a public library setting, these children will ideally have some interest in art whether it is through painting, drawing, photography, scrapbooking, etc.   If used in a classroom setting, the children would then be part of a specific class or as an after-school club activity.

Program Basics and Format:

The children will be given the opportunity to decorate and create a book display, and choose the books in the display.  The book display will be in the juvenile section of the library and overseen by the youth services department.

The program while ultimately ending in the public library, can also be executed at the local community center, park district facility or as an after school activity by involving the local school librarian.  If used in a school setting, more thematic approaches or specific types of artistic methods could also be used to correspond with the class curriculum of either art class or language arts/reading class or a combination of the two.

The logistical format of the program will be kept simple to allow for the arts and crafts to take center stage.  Voting sheets will be available at the youth services and circulation desks for children to circle their favorite theme from a variety of topics.  The form will also have write-in spots for favorite authors, series books or other topic not listed.  The theme with the most results after the deadline noted will then be the display theme that month!  The display will run for 1 month, with the voting and actual arts and crafts creation to be done in the previous month.  The first display will require a longer timeframe so as to setup the schedule with voting to take place for 1 month and the arts and crafts to commence the second month.

Rationale, Goals and Objectives:

The purpose of the program is to provide a venue for those children interested in art living or going to school in an area that does not support an art program.  It also offers a free venue for children who cannot afford art classes through the park district while still contributing their community.  The ultimate goal of the program is to provide young artists a place to grow in their artistic talents, exhibit their work, and have fun!  The program would serve different displays each month giving multiple children the opportunity to contribute regularly.

Materials used:

These will change each month, but a set budget should be in place to determine the amount and types of materials.  Basics would include crayons, markers, construction paper, poster board, glue and enhancements such as glitter and ribbon.  Materials would also be needed to create promotional flyers and posters in the library and/or school classroom.  Flickr would be used to provide initial ideas of displays until actual photos of the library’s own displays could be used.

Promotion Plan:

The program will be promoted in the library through the website, newsletter and its own “arts & crafts” display.  The program will also be promoted at the local community centers and park district art classes through flyers and posters. Further promotion can happen at local bookstores, arts & crafts or ‘pottery painting’ stores where children and adults may go together.   The public librarian and the local elementary school librarians and art teachers will also work together to tell students about the program and encourage participation, perhaps even adding it to one or two class’s curriculum.  The display will be photographed and promoted each month through the library website and newsletters to show children and parents how creative and fun the program is to encourage more participation.


Do the children participate?  Do more children participate each month?

Are there enough votes gathered each month to facilitate different displays?

Do the children comment on the new displays or ask how they can get involved?