Category Archives: Literature Promotion

Back to the Future

Back to the Future. Image from: Sourced using Creative Commons                    Attribution 4.0 International License.

I have been doing one of those necessary tasks of working in a library over the past few weeks, weeding. I have been weeding our teacher’s resource collection to make sure that it is still relevant, up to date and covering topics of interest to the teaching staff. I cannot help myself, and as I should, critically evaluating each items position in the                collection. Sometimes while doing this you will find a phrase in an item that just, for whatever reason, catches your attention.

This happened to me yesterday while going through some items, all covered in dust and making my hands filthy! The quote that took my attention was

“Online communities and activities promoting literature will continue to grow with the expansion of technologies in homes and schools and the resulting increase in technological expertise.” (Pledger, 2004).

I take heart from this quote. Why? It is because this quote is from just over ten years ago and yet it is very relevant today. I take from this that we are continually striving to achieve our best for the sake of not just ourselves but more importantly those we serve. Yes serve! In both my public and school library experience I have been a firm believer in my service to others. Every time a student or staff member approaches me either in person, via email or the phone it is my duty and honour to serve them. I know that it was the serving mentality of the librarians, both public and school of my own childhood who lead me to wanting to become a librarian. I know that no matter what is going on behind the scenes one reflective comment of thanks from those I serve helps put everything in perspective.

What I also love about the quote is that it is harnessing technology and the affordances it provides to develop new ways of literature                  promotion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what I would do without access to Goodreads, LibraryThing, Spineout, Kid’s Book       Review , just to name a few. Yes we would still have our excellent       quality reviewing journals and publications, but let’s be honest, today we often want a review or information about a title quicker than a      traditional review takes place. This won’t stop me from going to the      reviewing section of my Weekend newspaper of choice first before then tackling the other wealth of sections the newspaper provides.

To me an added pleasure of this quote is that it inadvertently reminds me that it is my responsibility to keep abreast, as much as is humanly possible, with what is happening out there in the digital world. It is then for me to twist it and turn it, examine it from all angles to see what can I do with this in my setting to help staff and students,                 especially for literature promotion? How can I do this? I use avenues such as professional journals, discussion boards/groups, blogs such as Free Technology 4 Teachers, professional networking, talking regularly with the IT department in my school and my fellow ICT Integrators and keeping in touch with a great BBC programme called Click that looks at a range of technologies and online tools for everyday users.

Back to the Future 2 Image from : Sourced using Creative Commons    Attribution 4.0 International License.

I hope that if I look at this quote again in ten years’ time, just like the stars and fans of the Back to the Future 2 film have been doing this week, that I will still have the same or even more positive reflections on it. If I had seen this quote in 2004 for example would I have been thinking about the potential of book trailers as a digital promotion tool? I look forward to 2025 and what amazing tools I will be using then to connect youth, interested adults and literature together.

Pledger, P. (2004). Promoting literature through online communities . Constructing communities of learning and literacy: ASLA online conference 2004 proceedings (pp. 122-127). Zilmere: ASLA .

What My Dogs Can Teach Me About Youth, Popular Culture and Text…

My Three Cavaliers. Authors Own Photo

Ok folks stay with me on this one…it will make sense…
When I was younger I had a bad experience with two        different dogs in one week. Slowly over time with more knowledge and                           remembering that I used to like dogs I rebuilt my           confidence. Sometimes I think it is similar for people who aren’t confident around youth. We need to remember that at some stage in our lives we were youth and harness the memories to help the youth of today. Yes things are different for each generation but the range of emotions still ring true.

My Kelpie Pup Authors Own Photo

We can’t label all popular culture the same, just like we can’t label all youth the same. I personally like the comment by Stacy Takacs in the book Interrogating Popular Culture: Key Questions when she states “how is the work used by institutions and individuals to order social relations?” (Takacs, 2015, p. 8).
It reminds me of myself and my dogs.

My husband often reminds me that I was the one who had a list of requirements before we could get a dog. Once our first dog arrived it didn’t take me long to feel comfortable and some would describe me as a “crazy dog lady” now. We have four dogs, three cavaliers and a kelpie. On the human front I am now part of a dog owning culture but then I am also part of further subcultures related to dogs, the unusual sport group – flyball, a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, APDT (Australia),       cavalier owners and kelpie owners and about to venture into the agility subculture. This is just the same for Youth. Yes they are part of the youth culture but as they explore their own identity they become involved in popular culture and youth related subcultures. Think of all the different groups we see each day within our schools, the Minecraft user culture, the K-Pop fans, Hunger Games fans and yes Whovians, just to name a few.

To me this is a clear blending of popular culture and identifying             subcultures. With my dogs I can choose not to take much notice of them, disterested in their characters or provide no guidance or            enrichment and then bemoan when they are dragging me down the street on a walk or not listening to instructions. Yet because of my         involvement in obedience training and dog sports the picture is very different. Only yesterday I was complimented on how well our dogs were behaving when we were all sitting outside a coffee shop on the main street of our town, to which I replied a grateful thanks but at the same time that a lot of work goes into it. For our youth it is much the same, many will bemoan youth without trying to engage with them. I don’t mean we become involved in their worlds, rather we take the time to talk to them about what is popular with youth from a variety of outlooks and give them the opportunity to share with us, as adults, what they will enable us to know. It’s another way of creating         cross-generational links. For me a classic example is Minecraft. I can see the educational worth and I understand that it creates a buzz in youth but I just don’t get how to play it myself. Yet I still love talking to the youth at my school about their Minecraft worlds what they are    doing in them and the feelings about the recent updates. I can have these conversation with the students because I am honest with them about my Minecraft knowledge but that I am interested in what they are doing.

I love that the perception of youth and their popular culture does not go unnoticed by those writing for youth. For me a great example is a book I came across earlier this year, The Door to Where by Sally Gardner (Gardner, 2015). It firstly drew me in as it was a time slip novel but then it became clear that it was a social commentary on the perception of youth. It is in my books (pun intended) an amazing read. Yet when you learn some of the reasons why Sally Gardner wrote the book it is even more fantastic. Sally Gardner began to wonder about the way youth were being portrayed in the English media and then made a link to the humble beginnings of Charles Dickens and would he have become the well-known classic author that he is if he had been treated in the same way as youth in the media today (Shah, 2015). What a stand to take. Maybe the rest of us should do this style of thought process too and lets change the perceptions in the wider world related to youth and their cultures.

Gardner, S. (2015). The door that led to where. London: Hot Key Books.

Shah, S. (2015, May 19). Sally Gardner, author of the door that lead to where, answers ten terrifying questions. Retrieved from Booktopia – a book bloggers’ paradise – the No. 1 book blog for australia :
Takacs, S. (2015). Interrogating popular culture: Key questions. New York: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203766583