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Reading Maps: In Context
In his last post Paul shared his views on reading maps:

In Reading Maps we find the intersection of Combinatorial Creativity, Data Visualisation, Quality Curated Products, Imaginative Interrogation of Texts, Networked Knowledge Gathering and Collaborative Connection Hunting.

If you’re like me and don’t use too many big words one after the other, you probably went ‘What??!! I kind of get what you’re saying, but nah not really’ with a confused look to match.

In order for me to ‘get’ the power of reading maps and how they were so so SO different to booklists, I had to make one. And not so long ago I had the perfect opportunity to do so.

Recently I partnered with Alison Miles from CityLibraries Townsville. Alison planned to hold two events at a cooking school where she would talk about food-related books while Chef Polly prepared some delectable sweet treats. The book Alison chose as her genesis book was Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Together we created the reading map to accompany these events.

So where to start?

Berwyn Public Library in Illinois is the only public library I know of that regularly creates reading maps. These reading maps are web-based and Alison and I wanted a reading map that would work both online and in print. So we needed to create a new beast.

The reading map Alison and I created followed a simple recipe.

  1. Read the genesis book.
  2. List themes using catalogue subject headings, collection knowledge and interests of the target audience. We focussed on the food-related themes to match the event location and activities.
  3. Find library resources to match the themes. Alison and I limited ourselves to resources held by both CityLibraries Townsville and Waimakariri District Libraries.
  4. Present in a visually appealing manner. Our visual themes centred on indulgence and sumptuousness. The reading map also needed to work both online and in print.
  5. Tweak, tweak, tweak.

And this is what we came up with.

Beyond Chocolat Cover
Click on the image to read the booklet.

All 31 books are also represented on one page as shown below.

Click on the image to enlarge it.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

It’s a pretty impressive beginning if I do say so myself! In the next edition (because there is always a next one) I’d like to add my thoughts on each book, related dvds and possibly items that are in our collection but not both.

1Q84: Creating The Reading Map
Following the recipe outlined above it’s now time to start creating the reading map for 1Q84.

If you’ve read 1Q84 what are some of the themes covered? I’ve started with both central and peripheral themes. All are relevant at this stage. Click on the image below to add your suggestions (no login required).


  1. Wow! Beats a boring old book list 🙂

  2. Cath Sheard says:

    Wow! I love what you and Alison have created. It’s informative and visually exciting. BTW I tried reading 1Q84 after you first mentioned it – fail….

    1. Sally says:

      If I wasn’t doing this project, I wouldn’t have finished 1Q84 either Cath. However I have learnt a lot about the book, myself and readers’ advisory by finishing it. So I don’t regret it at all.

  3. Sally says:

    If you have difficulty adding things to the map (it does’t seem to work on older browsers) then just add your suggestions as a comment.

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