Home

Readers' Advisory is one of the most important services provided in Public Librarians. These libraries are treasure troves of reading, and librarians should be equipped to help their patrons navigate the sometimes labyrinthian stacks and shelves to find books that spark their interest. 

Matching readers with books can be very hard. RA is both a skill and an art, and no one is going to recommend the right book every time. However, there are some things you can do to increase the chances that your suggestions will be amenable to your patrons. 

When a patron asks for a book suggestion, begin by conducting an informal Readers' Advisory Interview. This interview is similar to the Reference Interview, in that you should try to ask open ended questions designed to get the patron talking. Try to ask what books they've read in the past, what authors or genres they enjoy, and listen for comments that may indicate they focus on plot, characterization, location, time period, pace, etc when reading. 

In order to provide good RA services, it is important to read widely. Patrons come to the library looking for a wide range of genres, and librarians should be familiar with the tenants and features of these genres. There are many ways you can stay up to date with this information, such as reading blogs, subscribing to list servs, and reading book reviews. 

This site is designed to introduce you to the concept of RA and outline some of the genres and subgenres that are popular with today's readers. You'll also find links to further reading and suggested titles.