This morning I am at the Fond du Lac Public Library's in-service day presenting my program RA for All: Basic Readers' Advisory for All Library Staff.
We will be doing a lot of exercises and discussing how to best help all of the leisure readers who walk into the library. It is a fun 80 or so minutes all about how to talk about books and reading, and really, if you work in a library, how can you not love that.
I base the entire presentation on "Becky's 10 Rules of Basic RA service." Over the years I have found that if you stick to these 10 rules, you can provide good, basic readers' advisory service to just about any patron. Obviously, there is a point at which a more fully trained staff member may need to step in. But, since most patrons think everyone who works in a library (from the high school pages to the Department Heads) is a librarian and is qualified to talk about "good books," every staff member needs training in the basics of how to help patrons find their next good read. A nice outcome of this presentation, is that it also encourages staff to begin sharing what they are reading with each other, which goes a long way toward providing their patrons with better service.
You can access the full handout with resources here, but I here are the 10 Rules:
1.) Betty Rosenberg: “Never apologize for your reading tastes.”
2.) Suggest don’t Recommend.
3.) Everyone reads a different version of the same book.
4.) Write down adjectives about what you read; plot you can find.
5.) Read widely (at least speed read widely).
6.) Read about books (RSS feeds).
7.) Share what you read- with staff and patrons.
8.) Never let a patron leave unsatisfied.
9.) Get out from behind the desk.
10.)Get involved in creating displays.
If you are interested in having me come to your library to present this or any other program program, click here. Please note, however, I have a limited appearance schedule this Fall, but am wide open in 2011.