Tag Archives: readers advisory

Virtual Video Book Talks

A few weeks (or months?) ago I posted about some audio book talks I created, aimed for grades 2-5, for our library’s SoundCloud platform. I knew that eventually I wanted to return to video book talks, as our book talk audience typically uses YouTube more than SoundCloud (2nd-5th graders), my library has a larger following on YouTube, and YouTube adds a visual element that allows for deeper exploration of picture books and graphic novels.

My first few videos are below. I expect these to evolve over time. They are all edited using the YouCut app through an Android phone. Due to the quick cuts and simple editing, these actually take me less time than an audio book talks–I never like to read from a script, and this format allows me to write out my thoughts but only have to worry about a few sentences at a time–I don’t memorize my script, but only having to talk through 1-3 sentences that take no more than 30 seconds total allows me to have a few potential retakes for each snippet and still be done filming in no more than 15 minutes. Editing takes about 20 more minutes. Of course upload speeds are always changing, but at least that can happen in the background while I work on other projects.

These video book talks span ages a bit more as well, with a baby and preschool title added to the mix.

Woke Baby by Mahogany L. Browne:

Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story by JaNay Brown-Wood:

Meet Yasmin! by Sadia Faruqi:

Ana & Andrew by Christine Platt:

Jada Jones Sleepover Scientist by Kelly Starling Lyons:

What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado:

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia:

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi:

Virtual Book Talks

Reader’s Advisory is a major part of any youth librarian’s job–you need to be familiar with popular titles as well as be ready for those more obscure reader’s advisory questions (“I want books about REAL unicorns. None of that pink glittery nonsense. The REAL ones that eat people.”).

In the library, we provide this service regularly through all kinds of resources–in-person reader’s advisory, displays, booklists, librarian-curated posters and bookmarks of recommended titles and popular genres, and more. My library also sends us into classrooms to talk directly to kids about some great books they might be interested in.

I read a lot. I also love booktalking in classrooms. But I am now working from home, schools in Ohio are not going back this year, and, honestly, I don’t really expect public librarians (or anyone really) to be allowed into classrooms next fall.

So how do we keep reaching those kids? The same ways we have been doing everything lately…virtually.

Video Book Talks

Someday, when we are in a better routine and know what to expect out of life again, I would love to make video book talks. At the moment, I am just getting my feet under me with weekly virtual storytimes and starting monthly virtual school-age programs, and with the constant uncertainty of when and how we will reopen, I don’t want to start something like this at the moment.

Feel free to watch this, uh, interesting creation circa 2017 (that has over 700 views?!?!?!).

I think there are ways to make virtual video book talks much more engaging than the above video, even after eliminating the obvious issues like what-color-is-that-wall and better sound (And, um, pronouncing the title and main character’s name correctly. I’m sorry Hena Khan.).

Some of my dream video book talks include a lot more engaging cuts, edits, and images to be more visually exciting, but I think I may have to settle for a notch under that if I am able to start filming these in the next few months, just due to the time required to make those edits. I’m storyboarding our summer reading video at the moment, and while I think it is going to be pretty awesome, I also recognize the time involved.

Audio Book Talks

One of my coworkers started making audio-only book talks uploaded to SoundCloud, which is a new format for me. I really miss the visual element of video, but I will be the first to admit that it is much easier to read a script into a microphone than babble into a camera and worry about lighting and camera placement and my hands endlessly moving.

I have not put in the time on these that my coworker has (listen to Lisa’s great work here), but some of my files are linked below.

For any of you with an ear for audiobooks–I know some of you are reading this blog–please ignore my mouth sounds. And breathing. And spit. And dry mouth. And p-pops. I’ve been trying to edit all of that out, but it is exhausting, and there is only so much time in the work day. I can’t spend three hours or more editing a three-minute audio file, as much as ALL I HEAR is spit when these play.

Note: I watched a webinar yesterday on disability access and virtual programming. One of the key points they mentioned was making audio files accessible with a script to read for folks who are deaf. I hadn’t considered that before but am planning to edit descriptions for the files below and include text for future audio book talks.

2nd-3rd Grade:

Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol by Andres Miedoso

Mia Mayhem by Kara West

Zoey & Sassafras by Asia Citro

3rd-4th Grade:

Poop Detectives by Ginger Wadsworth (non-fiction)

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat by Johnny Marciano

4th-5th Grade:

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Do you have plans for new ways to look at reader’s advisory in a world where we may not be encouraging patrons to hang out in our building and may not be going into new locations for in-person outreach?