Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Adult Fiction Reading: A Literature Review of Readers' Advisory Services, Adult Fiction Librarianship, and Fiction Readers

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Adult Fiction Reading: A Literature Review of Readers' Advisory Services, Adult Fiction Librarianship, and Fiction Readers

Article excerpt

A review of the literature published between 1995 and mid-2003 in the United States and overseas is presented in the areas of cataloguing and classification of adult fiction books, browsing and selection of fiction by readers, user studies of adult fiction readers and readers' advisory services. The major findings are that the literature about readers' advisory services is a growing area, as are user studies of fiction readers; browsing research is an area that has seen little study since 1995 and much of the research, especially outside of readers' advisory work, is being conducted and published in Europe and Australia. More research in browsing and selection needs to be done to reflect the changes since the advent of the Internet age. The use of electronic tools and resources, such as NoveList and Amazon.com, by readers and librarians is a mostly unexplored but very important area for future research.

**********

In 1996, Yu and O'Brien published a comprehensive literature review in the area of adult fiction librarianship. (1) Their review covered all the major areas of fiction librarianship, including a definition of fiction librarianship, fiction as a type of library material, understanding fiction readers, fiction acquisition, fiction processing, fiction representation and retrieval, fiction promotion, readers' advisory services (reader development), and collection management. They concluded that there is a lack of quality research in many of these areas, especially in terms of research design and theoretical work. Since the publication of this review, many articles and books on the topics covered by Yu and O'Brien have been published. The aim of the literature review here is to examine the articles, books, theses, and reports published from 1995 to June 2003 in the areas of cataloguing and classification of fiction books, browsing and selection of fiction by readers, user studies of readers, and adult readers' advisory services. Due to the lengthy academic publication process, studies published in 1995 were for the most part not included in Yu and O'Brien's review. The major area of study that will not, for the most part, be included in this study is historical. Several books have been written in this area since 1995, along with many articles and theses. The numerous books and articles written before 1995 and the primary sources from the 1920s and before contain enough information for another literature review. Because this is one of the few areas of library science that has plenty of historical research, this would be a particularly valuable literature review, especially for researchers and students of library science.

One of the more unusual aspects of the literature review here was the surprising number of books, articles, and theses published overseas. Nearly half of the more than 180 books, articles, and theses looked at for this paper were published in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. This review was limited to articles published in English. Research on fiction readers and readers' advisory services (often called reader development or reader guidance outside of North America) appears to be a thriving area, with several new studies published every year and many more practice-oriented articles and reports. Public Library Journal has articles on reader development services or fiction (especially displays and promotions) in nearly every issue. Throughout this review, North American studies will be compared and contrasted with those from outside North America in order to understand both the different viewpoints of the researchers and the social context in which the research is being done.

In Yu and O'Brien's 1996 review, most of the studies cited were done in Europe or Australia or by European or Australian researchers. Since 1995, more research has been done in North America. Shearer, Ross, and Saricks have been important to the development of fiction studies in North America in recent years. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.