The BPL is closed today to celebrate Columbus Day. I am enjoying a day off with the kids, but I wasn't going to forget about the Monday Discussion. Just don't expect any other BPL staffers to comment today.
I wanted the discussion today to be in the spirit of the explorer. Yes, Columbus was not the true role model we learned about back when I was in school. Yes, he had no idea where he was when he landed in the West Indies. Yes, he then exploited the people he found there.
But, Columbus and his contemporaries did have a drive to discover new things. They were not content with the status quo and could not live in a world that was not fully mapped. It is this spirit I want to celebrate.
As a Readers' Advisor and library educator, I am constantly reminding librarians that patrons should read what they want; we should not force them to expand their horizons if they do not want to. However, this is not true for the librarians. Those of us who help patrons, MUST read a wide variety of books. We cannot rest on our laurels and only read what we like.
Sometimes this message gets lost on staff. We cannot help patrons if we do not understand the full scope of what choices are out there. To that end, library staff who help leisure readers, must explore outside of their comfort zone.
For me, that means I make sure that I read at least one book from every major genre a year (if not more). To go further, I then take my least favorite genres and spend a year reading more than 1 and spending time with the resources.
For example, last year, I read (or at least skimmed in detail) about 6 romances. I tried to hit different popular areas such as paranormal, historical, and contemporary. I also subscribed to the RSS feeds for a few romance centered blogs, and reaquainted myself with some other resources. Thus, I was exploring unknown territory.
This year, I have been trying a bit more hard science fiction. Again, I am doing a detailed skimming of some books and reading a few others. I have a bunch of RSS feeds that I am following every day (and boy those SF people post a lot) and as the year winds down, I will be spending some time with a few different resources.
The point I am trying to make is, I may not love these genres, but because I have honestly gone out and explored them in detail, I have achieved a new understanding of why they are appealing to the patrons who love them. My explorations always get me excited because when I am done, I can understand why people who love these books love them. I am excited for the fans of those books. I do not need to love them myself to gain this understanding. I could not do my job effectively if I stayed in my comfort zone all of the time.
So for today's Monday Discussion, what do you do to expand you reading horizons? How do you find out about the books outside of your comfort zone? What exploring will you do in the future?
To follow past Monday Discussions click here.
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