Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Some reminders for readers' advisors

These little tidbits come from Joyce Saricks's column in Booklist for June 1 &15, 2006. I read the article in print via the snail routing. The column is basically some advice for new readers' advisors.

  • "My first admonition to this captive audience is: relax, you know more than you think."
  • "We'll never read everything we want to read--not everything patrons expect us to have read--but advisors gain confidence as they see how to share what they know." (This is certainly reassuring as I often find myself on a little guilt trip because I feel I have not read enough. The fact is you can never read enough, so go with what you enjoy, and then sample here and there. Well, at least, that works for me.)
  • "What we do need to learn to do is to validate readers' interests and help them find more to suit their moods."
  • "This dovetails nicely with my second piece of advice: learn to listen and then to make connections. Even if you do find a reader who likes books you've also enjoyed, she may not have enjoyed them for the same reasons. Listen to what the reader enjoyed, and go from that to further suggestions. Readers' advisory is about connections, and one need not have read every title one suggests to see what might work for a reader. By relying on reviews, what other readers have told us, and what we've discovered by browsing through books we haven't read, we are able to suggest titles that may fit a reader's mood." (I know I have done that a couple of times where I have recommended things I may not have read myself, but that I sense a person may like on the basis of what they tell me their need or mood is at the time).
  • Another reminder: ". . .that readers' advisory isn't done in a vacuum. It's collaborative."
  • Remember also that patrons themselves are a resource, as they can help us keep up as well on what's interesting and popular, according to Saricks.
  • And finally, remember that RA is fun.

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