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Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Discussion: Reading Resolutions for 2014

Well, it is VERY cold here in Chicagoland. So cold that the schools, most libraries, and even the major Chicago museums are closed today.  Although I am taking a “snow day” with the kids at home, the Monday Discussion marches on as promised.

Feel free to take your time to comment, as many people around here won’t be back to work for a few days.

Each year I make a series of reading/work based resolutions for the coming year and I put them in print here on the blog so that I am forced to hold myself accountable.  I try to make resolutions in 3 areas: Genre, Blogging, and Consulting.

For the record, I do not make number of books read resolutions because it is hard for me to distinguish what “read” means in my line of work.  The number I read cover to cover vs those I speed read vs those I skim vs those I spend time with in order to annotate, etc is in the hundreds.  Those of you who have ever attended one of my trainings know that in my opinion “reading” a book does not always mean reading every word.  I do always try however to keep track of the books I read cover to cover, in their entirety, and review here on the blog and on my Shelfari shelf.  That number hovers around 60 every year.

So here are my official reading/work resolutions for 2014:

  • Genre Resolution: This year it is an easy choice.  I am resolving to read at least 3 historical fiction novels about WWI.  2014 marks the 100th Year Anniversary of the start of the First World War and I wanted to participate in the remembrances with as much knowledge as possible.  I already am planning to read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, a book that has been on my to-read list for years, as well as a few other newer titles that are being published in honor of the centennial.  In fact, I already have a list going.  There will be a lot of interest in WWI set titles this year, so I want to stay in front of the trend in order to help my patrons better.  I would also guess that the interest will peek in late June, early July as the first “great” battle of the war began on July 1, 1914, so I will make sure to have 2 books read by then.
  • Blogging Resolution: Since I only gave myself a D+ on keeping up with reviews last year [and I still have a review of a book I finished in 2013 pending!], I think I need to keep the same revolution as last year, to try to get no more than 3 reviews behind at any one time.  But I also think I need another, new, resolution for blogging.  For this one, I am using what I did right in 2013 as inspiration.  I did not drive myself crazy to keep posting in 2013.  I set up guest post weeks so that I could take blogging vacations, I did more links roundups and re-posts, and I did not drive myself crazy trying to post critical essays all of the time.  I still think the blog was useful to everyone in 2013, maybe even more so because I was less stressed out about it. So I am also going to resolve to find ways to continue to keep the blog fresh and useful without driving myself crazy.
  • Consulting Resolution: This one is in three parts:
    • First, now that I have not been teaching graduate students for awhile, I am going to resolve to JUST SAY NO if I am offered the chance to do it again.  Although I loved teaching and all of the students I got to know, after taking a 2 (going on 3) semester break, I like my life better without the stress of weekly classes and the piles of grading.  I have more energy for my consulting, writing, and patrons not to mention my family. I am also able to pursue new methods of educating librarians like being able to commit to leading the 2 year ARRT Crime Fiction Genre Study beginning in February.  I am very excited about this opportunity and you will be hearing more about it soon.
    • Second, I am going to be more involved with RA Training at the state level.  Okay, this one is cheating because I already started doing this in the last quarter of 2013 as a member of the Illinois Library Association 2014 Conference Committee. But just being on the committee is not enough; I have resolved to take an active role and strongly advocate for RA.  I have already spoken up and have gotten Readers Advisory added as a learning track at the conference for the first time, working with ARRT we are now officially sponsoring a brand new ILA award for excellence in Readers Advisory for 2015 [we will get to vet the nominees and pick the winner, thus rewarding and promoting excellence in RA skills in IL], I have recruited people I think are innovative and interesting to present at the 2014 conference, and I have put my skills where my mouth is and have submitted a program to present myself at the conference.  By the way, you can submit a proposal too, and you don’t have to live in Illinois to participate.  Click here for details.
    • Third, I am going to continue to build upon my remote consulting from last year.  I will write more articles, provide more webinars, and train more library workers interested in RA but with less stress on me to travel and less stress on libraries’ budgets since I charge less to provide virtual training.  I am even taking the RA for All Road Show international in 2014 as I will be presenting to a group in Australia in March! Also, I have already committed to contributing 2 guest columns a year to Neal Wyatt’s  LJ Reader’s Shelf column [my annual Halloween list, plus a new “Halfway to Halloween” list in April], so I am already making strides on this resolution too.
So there are my work/reading related resolutions for 2014.  Now it is your turn.  Take some time and think about what you are resolving to do to improve your RA skills in 2014 and share them in the comments. 

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


Laurie C said...

Good idea to make work resolutions, too! My new, administrative job of the past year has taken me away from RA at work, so I am resolved to figure out ways to do more of it on the job, virtually and in person! Also to help get an RA genre study group going in my area in the spring.

CrystalV said...

My reading resolution for 2014 is break away from my norm and dive into some scary unknown waters. I have never been one to read horror, but working with Becky has made me think that I may be missing out on something wonderful. So, with her guidance I will begin exploring the horror world and hopefully we aren’t creating a monster!