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Thursday, September 4, 2014

ARRT and Crime Fiction Genre Study News and Notes

Well, it is the first Thursday of the month so that means I have some type of ARRT meeting at 2pm.

Today it is the Steering Committee meting where we will begin our 2 meeting planning process for 2015.  That means we start brain storming programming ideas, thinking about job assignments for next year, and talk about the ways we can help the Readers’ Advisors in Northeastern IL be even better at their jobs.

If you want to add your two cents, or just keep up with what we are doing no matter where you live, click here, here, or here.  I also tag everything ARRT-related on this blog. It is a great way to see some of the stuff we have done before, much of which is still extremely useful.

As for me, I still have the job of leading the Crime Genre Fiction Study during 2015 [it’s a 2 year appointment].  And I am getting even more excited now because we are moving past the mysteries and diving into the vast, muddy middle that is Thriller when 1 month from today we meet to discuss Legal, Political/Financial, and Techno Thrillers.

Yes, you heard me correctly, I am excited to help sort out this mess. Librarians have a hard time distinguishing between mystery, suspense, and thriller, so how can we expect our patrons to be able to articulate why they like one type more than the other? I am excited to spend some time really talking about the similarities and difference between these crime genres.  We will be sharing stories from our own work helping patrons as well as taking a closer look at the key titles in each area, assessing where and how they fit into their specific genre and the larger “crime” umbrella.  It is going to be awesome.

If you want to follow along, the next assignment is posted here.  And the schedule for the entire 2 year study is always available here, although individual assignment come out 2 months before the meeting during which they will be discussed.

Last month, we started our transition from mystery into the rest of crime with our discussion of Historical Crime.  Which reminds me, the notes are now up at the Crime Fiction Genre Study page for members.  Please get out your passwords.

This brings up another question that I have received from all over the Internet, in my various email boxes, on Twitter, basically everywhere... What about non-members? How can we participate?

Well, no one will accuse me of not listening.  The answer as it stands now is that as a group, ARRT cannot provide more programming than we already do.  Most of us have jobs at a library, and although they kindly give us time [usually with pay] to attend the Steering Committee meetings, pay for our membership, and allow us to go to programs [where we also learn a lot], we already have a lot of commitments outside our library for ARRT.

However, we also love promoting RA Service and literally cannot stop ourselves from doing it all of the time.  So, to help all of you who do not live in the Chicagoland area, a few of us ARRT people who have been involved with the genre studies [namely, Annabelle, Debbie and I] are working on a program about creating and running your own successful genre study.  The program will include the history of the ARRT Genre Study and how we have broadened our approach to better serve today’s readers.  We hope to unveil it at ALA Annual in San Francisco, but we are still submitting paperwork and such. I am confident that it will be presented somewhere, at some point soon.

So, while we can’t be everywhere, planning and running your genre studies, in true ARRT fashion, we can help you to develop the skills you need in order to do it yourself.

I already have one training scheduled for February during which I will help a group begin planning their large scale genre study.  It is a growing area of training, and I for one am just happy to see how many librarians out there want to get better at helping genre readers.  It is a sign that the trend of the mainstreaming of genre fiction may be here to stay.

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