Centre for the Public Library and Information in Society
Reading and literacy (education), reader development and library materials
Reading is a major focus of our research, in terms of the development of reading skills, fiction reading and attitudes towards different genres, and reader development and reader-centred practice. Related to this is a body of work measuring the impact of public library reading and literacy initiatives and their communities.
Snapshot from recent research
‘The primary intention of grouping ‘Black British fiction’ and ‘Asian fiction in English’ - as distinct from any other fiction genre - was to facilitate their examination, using terms with which the research participants would hopefully be familiar, or would at least be able to understand. The author shares the view of Goebel and Schabio (2013) that fiction genres ‘do not exist a priori, but in the texts themselves and in the interpreters’ heads’ (p.1). It could be argued that any of the books perceived by the participants in the study could be classified in a number of different ways. Another notable point regarding the grouping is that all genres are strongly felt to have a limited life-span (Fowler, 2002; Goebel and Schabio, ibid.), corresponding to what Goebel and Schabio (ibid.) describe as ‘long-term dispositions in societies, reflecting on social structures, communal vs. individualised concepts of interaction, ontological beliefs, forms of self-fashioning, and…on shortcomings and tensions within a given society.’ (p.1). This societal influence is of particular relevance to a body of literature which originated from the direct descendants of colonial rule.’ Birdi, B. (2014). Genre fiction readers: a quantitative exploration of provided construct ratings. Journal of Documentation, 70(6), pp. 1054-1075.
Birdi, B. (2014). Genre fiction readers: a quantitative exploration of provided construct ratings. Journal of Documentation, 70(6), pp. 1054-1075.
Birdi, B. (2011). Investigating fiction reader characteristics using personal construct theory. Aslib Proceedings, 63(2-3),pp.275-294.
Birdi, B. and Syed, M. (2011). Exploring reader response to minority ethnic fiction. Library Review, 60(9), pp. 816-831.
Elkin, J., Train, B. and Denham D. (2003). Reading and reader development. Library Association Publishing.
Sen, B. Wakeling, S., Clough, P. and Connaway, L.S. (2012). ‘Readers who borrowed this also borrowed…’ Recommender systems in UK libraries. Library Hi Tech, 30(1), pp.134-150.
Thebridge, S. and Train, B. (2002). Promoting reading through partnerships: a ten-year literature overview. New Library World, 103(4-5), pp.131-140.
Train, B. (2007). Research on family reading: an international perspective. Library Review, 56(4), pp.292-298.
Train, B. (2003). Building up or breaking down barriers? The role of the library in adult basic skills education. Library Review, 52(8), pp. 394-402.
Train, B. (2003). Reading research. In Feather, J. & Sturges, P. (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (pp.544-546). London/New York: Routledge.
Train, B. and Elkin, J. (2001). Branching Out: a model for experiential learning in professional practice. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 33(2), pp.69-75.
Train, B. and Elkin, J. (2001). Effecting change: reader development projects in public libraries. Library Management, 22(8/9), pp. 395-403.
Train, B. and Elkin, J. (2001). Measuring the unmeasurable: reader development and its impact on performance measurement in the public library sector. Library Review, 50(6), pp.295-304.
Wilson, K. and Train, B. (2006). The lifelong impact of lifelong learning: using qualitative evaluation to measure the less tangible outcomes of adult basic skills education. The Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 8(1), pp. 1-13.
Proctor, R. and Bartle, C. (2002). Low achievers, lifelong learners: an investigation into the impact of the public library on educational disadvantage. The University of Sheffield, for Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries. Final Report
Simmons, S. and Train, B. (2006). Stock Quality Health Check: an evaluation. The University of Sheffield, funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, London. Final Report
Toyne, J. and Usherwood, B. (2001). Checking the books: the value and impact of public library book reading. The University of Sheffield, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board. Executive Summary | Final Report
Train, B. (2003). Quick reads: reader development and basic skills. An evaluation report. The University of Sheffield, with Essex Libraries and the Learning and Skills Council. Final Report
Train, B. (2003). What do you like to read? An evaluation of the EMRALD (East Midlands Reader and Library Development) initiative. The University of Sheffield. Final Report
Train, B., Usherwood, B. and Brooks, G. (2003). The Vital Link: an evaluation report. The University of Sheffield, for DCMS Wolfson. Final Report
Wilson, K. and Train, B. (2005). Give me a break: evaluation of the first national library book promotion in Wales. The University of Sheffield, on behalf of Estyn Allan in association with Opening the Book, Society of Chief Librarians in Wales and the Arts Council of Wales. Final Report
Wilson, K. and Train, B. (2004). Reader development evaluation framework. The University of Sheffield, for the British Council. Final Report
Wilson, K. and Train, B. (2004). Back to basics: an evaluation report. The University of Sheffield, with Thanet Basic Skills Partnership and the Learning and Skills Council. Final Report
Birdi, B. (2014). ‘We are here because you were there’: an investigation of the reading of, and engagement with, minority ethnic fiction in UK public libraries. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.
Brewster, L. (2011). An investigation of experiences of reading for mental health and well-being and their relations to models of bibliotherapy. University of Sheffield.
Cole, N. (1998). Attitudes to intellectual freedom and their impact on public library stock selection policies. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.
Ishida, K. (2009). The partnership between libraries and the book trade to deliver better reader development: its history and future prospects. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.
Masters dissertations (in date order)
Yu, L. (2015). Based on services marketing theory, comparing UK and China children’s reading promotion in public libraries
Martindale, G. 2013 Use and Perceptions of E-Books in Derbyshire Libraries
Wain, L. 2012 What do Public Libraries do to Foster Reader Development and Promote Reading?
Nguyen, A-H. 2009 The impact of reader's block on reading groups.
Manecke, U. 2009 Bibliotherapy: the restorative power of reading.
Neill, M. 2008 Graphic novels - the young man's superhero, or the library's contemporary villain: an illuminatory study into the thoughts and feelings of young men when discussing the suitability of graphic novels in the library.
Holdsworth, L. 2007 The Use of Displays in Public Libraries: The Librarians' Viewpoint.
Brewster, E. 2007 'Medicine for the Soul.' Bibliotherapy and the Public Library.
Armstrong, L. 2006 Do personal and institutional anxieties within Sheffield Central Library and Norwich Millennium Library affect the promotion chances of particular genres (Black British, Asian and Gay/Lesbian fiction)?
Mathioudaki, A. 2005 Reading and reader development in Greece: the public librarians' approach.
Coysh, K. 2004 How successful was the BBC Big Read?
Hemsley, K. 2003 The Booker: Prized in Libraries?