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Thursday, January 14, 2016

ARRT Updates

Today is the first Adult Reading Round Table Steering Committee Meeting of 2016, and it is going to be a long one [approx. 4 hours] because we will also be working on our annual update to the Popular Fiction List which is available on NoveList.

One of the best things about ARRT, and why I continue to serve on the Steering Committee despite no longer having a library paying me for the time I spend, is that we truly believe in helping everyone interested in Readers’ Advisory. We realize that much of what we offer is of more benefit to Chicago area librarians, but we are working hard to share as much as we can with as wide of an audience as possible.

Recently, we have received multiple inquiries from librarians from all over the country asking us to provide more virtual programming.  While we have answered those specific people, we’ve had enough of these questions that I thought it would be worth mentioning our current status/position here too.

As I alluded to above, ARRT is run by a Steering Committee of librarians whose libraries graciously allow them to serve on the committee much like you would serve on an ALA committee-- the members are at the meeting “on work time,” but there is no other compensation. Anyone who has served on these types of committees knows that it is a lot of work, but worth every minute of it.

But unlike an ALA committee, where you have access to the paid administrative staff of the umbrella organization for some clerical and technical assistance, we at ARRT do everything ourselves, splitting up the work and fitting it in between our “real jobs.” It is a labor of love-- a really fun one though, surrounded by awesome people.

We are trying very hard to broaden what we can offer to library workers who cannot attend our programs [in fact, that is a topic of discussion for today], but as of right now, we do not have any plans for webinars or virtual programming. However, we are considering making all of the notes to our Literary Book Discussions and Genre Study meetings available for free to everyone and anyone. Our members who take advantage of attending these meetings regularly [membership is required to attend] felt that the largest member benefit is being a part of the in-person discussion and while the notes are nice to have after the fact, they do not undermine the value of “being there."

All this being said, I still feel like we have much to offer anyone reading this who is interested in Readers’ Advisory, no matter where you live.

Here are some of the things we have planned for 2016:

  • The YA version of our Popular Fiction List which went out to members in December will be up on NoveList any day now.
  • The full year’s schedule of Literary Book Discussions and Leadership Trainings is planned. And as of now, all of those notes and prep materials are available to all comers.
  • The new, 2 year, Speculative Fiction Genre Study begins in February.  I have and will blog about it in more detail using this tag, but please remember, you can feel free to use our schedule, structure, and assignments to run your own genre study, just make sure to credit ARRT.
  • We will be having a BIG program to coincide with the influx of library workers headed to Chicago for BookExpo in May. Please stay tuned for exciting details. You will not have to be a member of ARRT to attend this program.

And finally, for those of you in the Chicago area who follow this blog-- it’s ARRT renewal time! I have mine in hand to turn in today. We only charge $10 to be part of the RA Cool Kids.

Now off to the Downers Grove Public Library, where the police have kindly promised not to ticket our cars during the meeting [which will be longer than the 3 hour parking restriction].

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