Some thoughts on Reader’s Advisory

March 15, 2007

Last night and early this morning in that time when dreams still nick at consciousness I was having some thoughts about the library.  In particular how we have this great opportunity to share our interests to the general public.  Yes some may call it reader’s advsory; I like to think of it as pulling together resources from staff who normally do not get the chance to share their ideas with the greater library system.

Linking from the library home page a patron would have the opportunity to take a look at library staff recommendations either by genre or staff member.  This service is provided by countless sources out there right now but the difference here would be the personalization of the service.  A patron could see that Jane from Great Neck recommended a certain book and they like her description and go ahead and read it.  They love the book and decide that they would like to see what other books Jane has recommended.  Boom!  They search by her name and find more great reads.  The patrons are being served with very little extra staff effort.  If you pull together all of the rabid readers among the staff then you could amass a pretty good little database over a short amount of time.

The added benefit of course is that more folks get involved with a project that serves the greater good of the library system.  Hidden talents are uncovered and you find out that someone soft-spoken really has a talent for gleefully summarizing a Nora Roberts romance.  Staff who have no experience with reader’s advisory could get a feel for trends found in different books and the appeal factors that are so important in matching customer desires with great reads.

I know that some library staff have very little to time to give to another project.  I for one do have extra time at the desk when I could punch out a few lines about a book I finished the night before.  I’ve been doing it for fun the past month or so.  Why not transform some of that time already there into something both productive and fun?  And for those who are already so busy you can either add a little more to your already full plate or just quietly observe the musings of some of the lesser heard staff members.  Seems like a win-win situation to me!

“A library is but the soul’s burial-ground.  It is the land of shadows.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher


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