One of the basic goals for this blog has always been to deliver reading (and viewing) recommendations to our patrons and readers. This pandemic may have slowed some things down, but it sped up our progress towards this goal. We’ve just added a new feature that will hopefully help provide even more help, any time of day or night!
Readers’ advisory is what the library world calls helping people find something to read. One of my jobs at the Berryville Public Library (besides blogging) is to provide readers’ advisory services. Over the years, I’ve fielded a range of requests (ranging from “I ran out of Sherryl Woods–have anything else like her?” to “My daughter likes murder mysteries, and I don’t know what to get her, but can we make sure they’re not too violent?”).
Readers’ advisory is actually one of my favorite things to do at work, and I always look forward to these requests.
The most important part of conducting readers’ advisory services is finding out what books/authors the patron already likes and, even more specifically, what it is that they like about those books. From there, I research several suggested books/authors/series (usually 5 but at least 3) and type up a list for them.
In the past, those lists have been helpful to patrons, but no attention was paid to their visual appeal. One of my goals during 2020 has been to revamp our readers advisory list visuals while also providing more direct readers’ advisory resources on the blog.
To that end, I’ve also revised all of the old readers’ advisory lists to strip out identifying information about the patrons who requested them, added some visual elements to make them more aesthetically pleasing, and posted them on a new page. You can access the new page on the upper right-hand corner of the blog, “Readers’ and Viewers’ Advisory Resources,” or just follow this link to access it. I hope the new page will be useful for both patrons who are looking for a new read and librarians providing readers’ advisory services.
The lists are heavy on Christian/inspirational fiction, crime/mystery/thriller, and YA because those genres have been the bulk of the readers’ advisory requests I’ve received and the books/authors/series I suggest are dictated by what we have in our collection. However, you will find lists for all genres.
Though the page is mostly focused on books, we also have some viewers’ advisory resources, including some genre booklets (an idea we borrowed from our sister library at Eureka Springs).
As I do more recommendation lists for patrons, I will add them to the page. Likewise, I’d like to eventually create some genre-themed booklets for readers’ advisory (similar to the ones for movies).
In addition to the new page, the blog provides other ways you can find recommendations for what to read or watch next.
Earlier this year, I revised the category system I use for the blog, so on any post that talks about books, movies, or TV shows, you can see the general categories the post is about. If you’re a fan of those genres, click on the categories, and you’ll see other posts that feature books, movies, or TV shows from the same genre.
Readalike suggestions are also frequently included in posts, so even if you’ve read the book featured on the blog, you might find a new favorite. These are usually located at the end of reviews or at the end of each individual write-up in a post that covers several books. Sometimes, they are a bit vague if it is hard to find a relevant readalike, but as much as possible, I try to include specific author or title recommendations here.
Take some time to play around with our readers’ advisory (and viewers’ advisory) features, and please let me know if you have any suggestions for what else to add.
If you’re a Berryville Library patron and want us to do a readers’ advisory recommendation list for you, just stop by the library, call us at 870-423-2323, or email us at email@example.com. The turnaround time for a list is one week.
Have you ever received readers’ advisory services from a library? What’s your favorite book that’s been recommended to you by a librarian? Did you find something new to read on our new readers’ advisory resource page? Tell us in the comments!