2023 is the final year of our project: ‘Discovering a ‘Good Read’: Cultural Pathways to Reading for Australian Teens in a Digital Age’. Earlier this year we published a newsletter providing an update on our research activities in 2022 and a preview of some our findings about how much Australian teenagers read for pleasure and the types of books they enjoy reading.
You can read the newsletter in full here
Team member and Deakin University PhD candidate Anne-Marie May is researching how booksellers and librarians influence teen recreational reading at the physical sites of bookstores, school libraries, and public libraries. She takes a geographically located approach to investigate the sites of book culture and the networks between them that comprise a local reading ecology for teens. Anne-Marie has selected an inner-Melbourne local government area for her study for its distribution and density of secondary school campuses, public library branches, and independent bookstores, as well as for the cultural and socio-economic diversity of its residents.
Anne-Marie identifies and analyses intermediary practices that impact teen recreational reading from data collected in interviews with booksellers and librarians, and focus groups with secondary school-aged students. These include direct and indirect practices such as book talk, readers’ advisory, read-alikes, shelf-talkers, promotion of local authors, gatekeeping, displays, genrefication of collections, and book clubs. Affective labour underpins the practices of booksellers and librarians and is key to their networks. Anne-Marie’s work promotes understanding the commonalities and differences between the occupation groups, the barriers they face implementing their practices and how their specific positions in a localised reading ecology impacts their work with teen recreational reading. By doing so, her study aims to answer how these cultural intermediaries can increase their impact on teen recreational reading.
Dr Bronwyn Reddan’s publication for the teacher librarian community has just been published on Synergy.
The explainer covers the following:
- What opportunities do readers have to engage with books on the digital social media platforms YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok?
- How might this affect Australian teenagers when choosing leisure reading material?
- What are the reading practices and book talk teens engage in in the digital reading communities on online social media networks.
- The development of different social reading cultures on BookTube, Bookstagram, and BookTok.
Team member and QUT PhD candidate Amy Schoonens is researching the consumption practices of YA fiction on social media by teens and other content creators (including authors and publishers). Amy explores the ways teens use their reading experience to engage in digital and social media spaces creatively, critically, socially, and in ways that represent an extension of their book engagement and recreational reading practices. These practices include:
- Reviewing and rating the book
- Recreating the book in some form, such as book covers, or character fashion
- Curating aesthetics and themes from the book through digital image collages
- Creating memes about books and other kinds of fandoms