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Readers Advisory Ideas

One person cannot possibly read enough to know a book for every reader...or can they? Unless you are Nancy Pearl, the average librarian performing readers advisory services needs some helpful resources to give the best service to their patrons. Consider the following ideas.

First, think like a reader. Where do your patrons find their ideas for what they would like to read? The most popular choices I have seen are People Magazine book reviews, Oprah magazine, The Boston Globe and The New York Times newspapers, as well as the Dr. Oz talk show and National Public Radio. Does this mean that in order to provide excellent readers advisory services, one must watch all the popular television shows, read all the magazines and newspapers, and listen to all the radio stations? Of course not. However, it is generally good practice to subscribe to the RSS feeds of the corresponding websites to know the latest zeitgeist.

Next, have some great resources available for ready reference. I have a real appreciation and respect for Nancy Pearl. Her Book Lust series is amazing in its scope and information. Although the books are small in size - they are packed full of information. I stumbled across them in my desperation to find a suitable book for a young thirteen year old boy who came into the library looking for a fictionalized mythological tale. He had read all Rick Riordan's series and was searching for something along the same lines. Nancy Pearl's Book Crush for Kids and Teens to the rescue! I found several titles featuring mythological tales by different authors and another satisfied patron left the library, books in hand. Phew!

The interaction did not end when the patron left the library. Intrigued by what I found, I checked out the entire set and took them home to peruse. Pearl covers books for babies, toddlers, elementary school children, tweens, teens, and adults. Her topics range from ABC books, to counting books, authors too good to miss, ethnic stories, and much much more. She is nothing short of amazing and these books are as well. (Hint: not only are they great for readers advisory, also great for collection development ideas.)

In addition to the Nancy Pearl books, I regularly review the Oprah Magazine for her recommendations. Invariably, someone will want something Oprah has profiled or recommended. She has an uncanny ability to know what readers are interested in. Dr. Oz (an offshoot of the Oprah show) always has interesting health and weight-loss books and NPR often profiles authors of books for all ages. People Magazine commonly features books by and about celebrities. Most libraries subscribe to these magazines. Next lunch break, grab a few and see what everyone's talking about!






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