Each YA comes into the library with a personal story. S/he has unique interests and abilities, experiential perspective and personal or familial ideology or moral code. The reader’s advisory interaction must draw enough information out to provide you a profile of this person with which to effectively match a selection of titles.
If you have already taken the ABLE “reader’s advisory” course, the following will serve as a reminder. These classic reader’s advisory questions prove quite effective:
As they ready to leave with your suggestion, you might find it helpful to ask them to return and let you know what they thought of one (or two). These initial conversations and any follow-up you have with readers are some of the most rewarding moments in a librarian’s day. Readers’ opinions and suggestions are not only interesting (and occasionally entertaining) but teach us something we can use in future interactions.
Reader’s advisory can be perceived as the most pressure-filled or stressful part of library work. You may feel unqualified or uneasy to recommend a title particularly in a genre you are not fond of reading. All staff should be encouraged to read widely, push their limits, and become familiar with many genres by reading a sampling of titles or at least a classic in the field. Library staff is not expected to have read every book in the collection, but they should work to be aware of authors or series, and have read at least a small representation of titles in different parts of the collection. Having access to, and regularly reading, library journals and thus the (often peer) book review sections will aid in developing at least a cursory familiarity with authors and titles from which to draw upon.
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