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The ability to talk informatively, entertainingly, and persuasively about books in both impromptu and structured environments is an essential skill for all library staff. Formal booktalks, off-the-cuff shelftalks, and book discussions can be powerful tools for promoting the habit of lifelong reading and stimulating the use of your library's collections. This workshop will help participants develop these core skills and will also help them become more comfortable in sharing their book expertise and enthusiasm in small or large group settings with both young adult and adult readers.

Workshop Description: This all-day workshop will provide—through a combination of lecture, individual and group exercises, and abundant opportunities to practice developing skills—a practical, hands-on introduction to the components of booktalking in a variety of circumstances and settings. The instructor will provide examples, bibliographies, templates, a webliography, and numerous practical, field-tested tips that can be applied immediately.

Pre-workshop assignment: Read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and write a 60-second booktalk about it. In addition, students must also read an adult or young adult nonfiction book of their choice. Students should bring the two books and the booktalk to the workshop.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • Introducing Booktalking
    • Definitions
    • Types of booktalks
    • Potential audiences and approaches
    • Venues and formats
  • Preparing the Booktalk
    • Resources
    • Selecting appropriate titles
    • Strategies and techniques
    • Props, reading aloud
  • Nonfiction Booktalking
    • Current trends
    • Resources
  • New/nontraditional Forms & Formats
    • Podcasts
    • Other online tools
    • Booktalking action plan
  • Review and summary

Workshop Instructor: Michael Cart