Of the six library conferences in my state I have attended, I think this year’s had the best presentations. The schedule was full of many good ones on various topics from outreach to reader advisory to technology and then some. Thus, I think a series of blog posts are in order. With that in mind, here’s the first.
Reader Advisory Topics:
Reader Advisory was a big theme at the 2018 conference. There were other presentations I wanted to attend, but one was when we presented ourselves and another overlapped with a more-important-to-my-job session. Though I cannot go into much detail, I think this overview will help generate ideas for others to explore.
On the first day of the conference, I attended a presentation of digital reader’s advisory programming. The presenter was from one of the large library systems in the state, so they are able to offer quite a few programming opportunities related to reader’s advisory. This library uses a Bibliocommons catalog, which is essentially an online catalog and Goodreads hybrid. Staff frequently post ratings, reviews, and lists of books within the catalog to appeal to varying interests. Besides highlighting books they enjoyed reading, this also shows the subject area expertise of the participating librarians, which may lead to interested patrons contacting that librarian for recommendations. This library also uses Facebook for two programs. In one, they take BookRiot Read Harder Challenge and created a Facebook group when participants can share the books they are using to complete the challenge and trade thoughts and read-a-likes. They also do a Facebook Friday promotion where patrons can post three books they enjoyed in the event and received 2-3 recommendations back based on those.
The following day, I attended a presentation that examined how to decode what patrons are asking for in terms of reader’s advisory. The key takeaways from this were to listen for clues in the conversation, such as books enjoyed or interests. Ask about likes and dislikes, if needed. Use that to provide recommendations. Since readers often prefer to stay within one genre, they suggested trying to suggest one or two books in a similar genre. For example, if a reader enjoys mysteries,m suggest a true crime book. They also stress to look for elements readers like in a story, such as pace, tone, character-driven, etc. and to make recommendations based on that as well. The presenters also discusses tactics for practicing reader advisory skills, including how to best preview a book without reading the entirety.
What do think thing about these ideas? If you work in a library, do you do any of these? If so, how has the public responded?
For the next post in this series, on to outreach!