So after cramming all three core courses into my first semester at library school, I decided to take it easy on myself and just take two “fun” classes the following semester. I took YA lit and Web 2.0 (which was definitely a fun class but also extremely useful…I recommend it).
I took YA lit because it’s one of my preferred genres. I thought to myself, “just read books all summer, easy-peasy!” What I didn’t think about was that I wouldn’t just get to read the books…I would have to report on them too. What a lot of work! It is one thing to tell someone “read the book, it’s good” and quite another to actually try to tell them why it’s good and to try to match books and interests.
But it was still enjoyable, just in a more “hard work and learning” sense. We did an in-depth genre study on 15 titles, and a survey of 30 books (and media). Doing the research for these projects really honed my search methods and made me look closer at how and why I choose titles. I’m still analyzing some of the books I read in the format we used in that class, because I think it helps me have a more comprehensive understanding of how to communicate about books. I think I will always be a reading gourmand, rather than a reading gourmet, but I think I can learn to be an intelligible glutton.
We read about studies of the dynamism of teen brains, which gave me another way to look at things. I still feel like science still has a lot to uncover about the way any brain works, but I think that considering teens from a developmental perspective might allow for a bit more understanding by the older, firmer brained people.
I was also pleased to think a lot more about book challenges. Before the course began, my view of book challenges was pretty simplistic; I felt people should be free to read whatever they wanted and people who had problems with that should just be quiet. The course taught me to take more of a professional, sympathetic approach. I still believe people should be able to read what they want, but I think understanding and addressing concerns is a much better way to deal with challenges. It seems like a lot of problems parents have with books may have to do with misunderstanding the details.