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Bibliotherapy: A Collaboration Goes to the Web. Paula McMillen & Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson Oregon State University ALA National Conference - Poster Orlando, FL – June 26, 2004.

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bibliotherapy a collaboration goes to the web

Bibliotherapy:A Collaboration Goes to the Web

Paula McMillen & Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson

Oregon State University

ALA National Conference - Poster

Orlando, FL – June 26, 2004


AbstractAfter four years of revisions, a collaborative project involving library and counselor education faculty on evaluating therapeutic use of child/adolescent literature has made the leap to the World Wide Web. Originally designed as a paper and pencil measure for training graduate students in bibliotherapy, the tool was upgraded to a Web-accessible format and Web-accessible database of completed evaluations. Graduate counseling and library interns were involved in the process of refining the evaluation items to insure Web-based compatibility. Future directions include Website usability testing, tracking therapeutic literature use trends, and determining tool effectiveness for increasing competence of emerging counselors in literature use for therapy. An overview of bibliotherapy needs and benefits, review of project development and implementation, and presentation of the current Bibliotherapy Website will be presented. Although this project emerged from collaboration in an academic arena, previous project presentations at library elicited strong interest from public librarians in the potential value of such a database of evaluations for working with their patron populations.

bibliotherapy education project
Bibliotherapy Education Project

The birth of this four year project began with a cup of coffee and a simple conversation. We pondered on the use of books by various helping professionals . Spontaneously, we posed two questions to each other,

“How do therapists, teachers, etc. know what books to recommend?” and

“How do they choose and evaluate materials?”…

…the project was born.

bibliotherapy a rose by any other name
Bibliotherapy“a rose by any other name…”
  • (AKA) Known by many names:
      • Bilbio-counseling
      • Biblio-guidance
      • Biblio-psychology
      • Book matching
      • Literatherapy
      • Library Therapeutics
      • Literapeutics
      • Reading Therapy
      • And many more…
defining bibliotherapy

Use of reading materials for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy

  • Webster’s Collegiate 10th Ed., 1997

Literally involves treatment through books

  • Pardeck & Pardeck, 1998

Guided reading of written materials to help the reader grow in self awareness

  • Harris & Hodges, 1995

Process of dynamic interaction between the personality of the reader and literature under the guidance of a trained helper

  • Shrodes, 1950
benefits of bibliotherapy
Benefitsof Bibliotherapy
  • Increases Empathetic Understanding of Others (cultures, lifestyles and lived experiences)
  • Enhances Insight and Integration
  • Promotes Coping Skills
  • Provides Information and Alternatives
  • Stimulates Discussion of Feelings and Ideas
  • Increases Enjoyment of Literature and Reading
problem statement
-Problem Statement-
  • Books are widely used in clinical settings
  • Limited training, tools or strategies for emerging or practicing clinicians
  • Limited funds/materials for graduate students
  • Criteria for selecting materials for a working collection
  • Criteria for selecting materials for clients
the learning objectives
The Learning Objectives
  • To increase understanding of the uses of literature in therapy
  • To provide a tool to help practitioners consistently evaluate materials
  • To offer supervision in evaluating materials & use in therapeutic settings
  • To build a library collection to support curriculum and research
  • To increase the availability of evaluated books to subsequent students
  • To increase the number of book evaluations available by making the evaluation tool more widely available
  • To organize resources for learning about Bibliotherapy & finding books
process web relocation
Process: Web Relocation
  • Reformatting the Evaluation Tool
    • Paper & pencil  Web based
    • Narrative  categories, ratings, short answers
    • Library school intern
  • Tooling Up to Technology
    • Web design
    • Database design

3. Usability testing

Graduate counseling students

4. Communication

Regular team meetings

Project E-mail list

Other “stakeholders”

5. Sponsorship of the Web site

Page appearance

Ongoing funding mechanisms

Administrative Support

project methods
  • Literature review
  • Articulate clinical criteria
  • Expert face validity
  • Learning module
  • Student involvement
  • Survey research
  • Cross-disciplinary consultation
  • Regular communication, feedback, input
  • Mutual respect for unique contributions
research discoveries
Research Discoveries
  • Literature Review
    • Widespread use
    • Years of research
    • Specific topics and populations
    • Few practice and evaluation guidelines
  • Electronic development
    • Complex
    • Plan infrastructure to accommodate future research
  • Graduate Counseling students tested pre- and post-learning module (self-report survey)
    • Significant increase in knowledge of Bibliotherapy benefits and uses
    • Significant increase in comfort level with using literature in therapy reported
  • Clinical Supervision
    • Practice and teaching lead to competence
future directions
Future Directions
  • Continued usability testing of overall Web site design
  • Further development of database search options
  • Increase flexibility of site and database structure for ease of maintenance
  • Establish ongoing funding mechanisms
  • Promote use to librarians and helping professionals to build database of evaluated literature

Future Projects

  • Create Librarian Guide
  • Analyze Database
  • Fund Student Assistantships
  • Refine Evaluation Tool
  • Create Therapist Guide
  • Enhance Website Content
  • Upgrade Website Functions
  • Publish and Disseminate
  • Refine Teaching
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • You can’t over-communicate
  • Regular meetings of the collaborators are essential for progress
  • Find money! Aggressively solicit grants, donors, sponsors
  • Collaboration is messy & complex but worth it!
for more information http bibliotherapy library oregonstate edu
For more information …

Dr. Paula McMillen

Phone 541.737.7272

Valley Library

Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon 97331

Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson

Phone 541.737-8551

New School of Education

311 Education Hall

Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon 97331