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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Let's Talk About Frame

I am currently working on an article for NoveList about the importance of considering frame when we help leisure readers.  As I was gathering my notes and thoughts, I came upon a post I wrote back in 2010 where I talked about the importance of frame.

I am also leaving in an hour for 2 days of RA training in Darien, CT where I will be talking about helping genre readers [more posts on that to come this week including slides]. While crafting those trainings, frame came into play frequently and will be a topic that I explore with the various groups.

So since I have "frame on the brain," I figured it was worth a re-post of some of my thoughts for everyone to think about.

And look for an entirely new article where I contemplate frame in the May 2015 issue of NoveList RA News.

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Monday August 16, 2010
Monday Discussion: What's Your Favorite Frame?
I am back from a 2 week vacation where I saw my baby sister get married in New England and visited my home state of New Jersey.  This got me thinking about the fact that since moving from Jersey to the Midwest, I will read anything-- fiction or nonfiction, any genre-- as long as it has New Jersey in it.

When I teach my students to write their Reader Profiles, I mention this reading quirk to them. I ask them to think about their reading habits. In the RA biz we call these special interest areas, "Frames."  "What special frames do you enjoy?" is the question I make them consider.

Most students look at me blankly at first, but once they go home to write their up their reader profiles they find they too have special frames which they will read about in any type of book. It is great exercise to make them think about their own reading habits, which can then make them more sensitive to addressing future patrons' habits. Until you force yourself to think about it, these likes and dislikes usually stay hidden in your subconscious. My goal is to make them "Super RA Librarians," and this is an important component tot heir training.

Here are some examples from students and friends of frames they love: Faberge Eggs, Tudor England, and I once had a student who would read any pink covered book. There are actual readers out there that will reading everything and anything that have these frames. You can click here to see some past student's reader profiles for more examples.

For me, other frames I greatly enjoy besides NJ are books with circuses, books that are set on college campuses, books with a Civil War background but which do not focus on the battles, and books with baseball in them. I will read any type of book in which these subjects appear and 9 times out of 10, will love it; even if it is a genre or type of book I normally hate. These special frames in and of themselves give me great enjoyment.

It is also important to note that some people's favorite frames are the same frame which another reader will avoid at all costs. For example, while I will read anything with a circus in it my colleague Joyce Saricksavoids circuses in her books at all costs. I also have patrons who love British Mysteries and others who refuse to read them. Literally, they refuse, even if I know they would love the book; they will not read British mysteries...period.

So today, let me know: What special frames do you like to have show up in your books? Also, what frames do you avoid at all costs? Today is the day to own up to your reading quirks.

And remember, you can use this link to follow past Monday Discussions.

3 comments:

Amelia Elizabeth said...

I've been thinking about this recently and I realized I love books about blacksmiths, especially romances.

Christi said...

I LOVE thinking about frame. I think it is so interesting how specific subjects captivate us as readers. I love pretty much any book that is about books or has copious descriptions of food.

Jenny O said...

This is a really interesting way to think about it! I really didn't notice frames in my own reading in any concrete way for a long time, but a few years ago I started tracking everything I read on Goodreads and it's made it a lot easier to see trends. I will read pretty much any magical AU set in Britain, British mysteries set in the early 20th century or the middle ages, and most things that could be categorized as a modern fairy tale (not fairy tale in the romantic sense but allegorical).