About a two months ago now, I left my job at the Boston Public Library and moved to Pennsylvania. One of my favorite things to do while working at the BPL- and one of my favorite things about being a librarian, actually- was reader’s advisory. When it comes to Reader’s Advisory (RA), I’m like a Dr. Seuss book. I would do RA with a mouse, in a house, with a goat or on a boat. I am grateful that it is one of those things that has always come naturally to me. It’s also why I always loved purchasing books for my branches, because it allowed me to keep an eye out for books that could appeal to my most voracious, yet picky readers.
As I’m sure you can tell from the above image, the move has not ended the RA questions, in fact, it’s actually caused a bit of an uptick in them. This text is from one of my favorite patron’s in the world. She is entering the 3rd grade and has always preferred older books to newer books. I didn’t include any more screenshots as I’m sure no one wants to read about our postcards to one another or the tv show Nailed It! Anyway, it was nice to be able to do a Reader’s Advisory session, even if we weren’t in the same place.
Typically my RA questions start broad. Fiction or Non-Fiction? If it’s fiction, then I follow it up with “What kinds of things are you interested in?” People or Animals? Adventure or Funny? Funny Adventure? The questions go on and become more specific- sort of like a choose your own adventure book, except at the end the reader walks away with a big pile of books to look through. What’s really neat though, is that depending on if another librarian was asked, you may get a different set of recommendations. There may be some overlap, but I would be shocked if they were all the same, because each of us comes to librarianship with different perspectives, preferences and ideas.
This leads me to my questions! What are your go to Reader’s Advisory questions? What are your go to titles? Is there a genre that always stumps you? Please reply in the comments, I would love to hear your answers!
This post address ALSC Core Competencies around Reference and User Services, as well as Commitment to Clientele