What is Readers’ Advisory? A patron oriented library service intended primarily for adult readers. Provides patrons with the information they need to select a book to read for recreation A way of matching a patron with the right book Usually abbreviated as RA.
Not a New Service but aRediscovered OneActive readers’ advisory movement inUnited States between 1920 and 1940: More professional librarians Grew during the Great Depression of the 1930s Was influenced by the first attempts at systematic research related to adult reading
Early Readers’ AdvisoryServices were: Aimed at getting patrons to read “better” books Based on formal meetings between librarians and patrons Intended to be educational not recreational Very prescriptive
RA has reemerged during past20 yearsBooks on the topic began to appear: First was *Betty Rosenberg’s Genreflecting Then Saricks’ and Brown’s Readers’ Advisory Services in Public Libraries
More Evidences:Conferences and workshopsJob advertisements looking for librarians with RA skillsCourses being offered in LIS schools- more courses on reading and readersMore and more print resources about RANumerous internet and electronic resources on the topic
Changes in RA No longer didactic Reading fiction is seen as a worthwhile activity not as merely an escape
Fiction and Academic Libraries In U.S. fiction books consistently make up 65 to 75 % of total circulation. Fiction readers and recreational reading have traditionally been devalued. In past, fiction readers were not provided the same type of help given to patrons seeking information about more “serious” topics.
RA is used to garner library support It is a “value added” service of the library— Librarians are better at advising readers than most clerks at bookshops. Most library use is for fiction. If you support your fiction readers, they will support the library.
Library sponsored book clubs This programs meet: Either in the library In someone home Or online The library often furnishes a “kit” containing multiple copies of the book to be discussed and discussion guides for the leader
The Websites of Academic Librariesusually contain help for fiction readers Bibliographies of works in widely read genre literature Mystery Romance Science fiction Horror Historical fiction
Rewards of RALibrarians who have chosen (or have been assigned) to doreaders advisory work usually feel blessed—-they end uploving what they have to do. It is gratifying work, because itresults in giving the library user exactly what he or she wants,and the user, ultimately feels very positive about the libraryexperience. But in addition to the wonderful payoff of usersatisfaction, there is also the important factor that real libraryskills are demanded—skills that few others besides librarianshave--and those are skills that are enjoyable to develop and touse--Ted Balcom
In the U.S. Readers’ Advisory Began at just a few libraries and spread slowly to others
Where to learn the skills neededin RAFirst step, be a fiction reader yourselfand in addition Preconferences / workshops Courses Journals and books On-line discussion groups Talk with experienced librarians
Tools for RA Librarians Print
The Gale Group What Do I Read Next? What Mystery? What Romance? What Western? What Inspirational novel? What Historical fiction? What do children read next?
“Never apologize for your readingtaste” —Betty Rosenberg, Genreflecting •Adventure/Suspense •Christian Fiction •Crime and True Crime •Fantasy •Historical •Horror •Mystery and Detection •Romance •Science Fiction •Western
Tools for RA Librarians Electronic
Other Electronic Sources Genreflecting What Do I Read Next? Fiction Catalog And then there are the free web resources such as:
Overbooked: Table of Contentswww.overbooked.org: A web site (formerly known as Book Links)for ravenous readers. Overbooked specializes in literary andgenre fiction information. Overbooked Originals include author web pages, annotated lists of nonfiction, fiction and mystery bookswhich received starred reviews, themed booklists, featured titles lists and hot lists of hard cover US fiction releases. Coming soon(more) Overbooked Reviews New Books ~ Starred Reviews Lists ~ Whats New? Genre Fiction: Mystery, Romance, Speculative, Inspirational Reviews and Reading Lists: ~ Best of 2001 ~ Best of 2000 Readers Advisory Resources - what to read next & good reads! Book Talk - a discussion and promotion area for Overbooked authors and readers. http://www.overbooked.org/
NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW!Non-Fiction Genre StudyWishing you knew more about popular nonfictionto help readers asking for suggestions for their leisure reading?Join the Adult Reading Round Table’s two-year exploration of narrative nonfiction, "From In Cold Blood to Eats Shoots and Leaves." http://www.arrtreads.org/
Online book sellers Amazon.com Barnesandnoble.com Borders.com Powell.com
Fiction List-servs Fiction-l Dorothy-l Romance Readers Anonymous SF_Lit and many others
Indirect RA Displays Booklists Bookmarks Subdividing collection by genre Giving patrons easy access to printed and electronic RA resources
Library sponsored Book clubs either online or in library Book talks Authors’ visits
To Make RA succeedYou need the support of the library’s administration andYou need to have librarians who are committed and enthusiastic.
How do you start? Begin by asking the reader to describe a book that he or she liked. Listen to what they say and reflect back what you hear Often, just allowing the reader to describe a favorite book is enough to start him or her thinking about the qualities that made it enjoyable
The next steps are: Then you can go to the print or electronic sources and search for the patron or allow him or her to do it. You need to play it by ear—let the patron be as independent as he or she wishes to be Introduce some books that you think the patron might like and tell the patron why you think these books are appropriate.
New developments in RA Providing RA for non-fiction readers Allowing patrons to receive RA through forms filled out in library or on their own computer