I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The State of Readers' Advisory and How I Can Help

Today I wanted to let everyone know that the video archive for the LJ and NoveList webinar entitled, "Readers' Advisory: How Do You Measure Up?" is now available for free viewing.

Currently, the national picture for RA Service in public libraries is looking a bit bleak.  As patrons get more comfortable asking for help with leisure reading at their libraries, nationally, library staff who provide this service are starting to fell ill prepared for the increased complexity of the job. Libraries are seeing an increase in the importance in providing RA but staff are not getting the time, training, and funding to provide more and better service.

It is if we are becoming a victim of our own success.

I have to admit that I do at least 60% of my personal training and continuing education on my own time because while I am at work I am generally helping patrons, working on ordering more books or in meetings.  On the other hand, I also do not expect everyone to have to give that much of their free time to providing RA.  That time is my choice.

But, I do not want people to feel overwhelmed.  Helping leisure readers is such a rewarding job. I know first hand how much work it takes to be just competent, let alone have the high level of service and knowledge that I demand from myself.  But, the trade off in work to job satisfaction is HIGH. This is can promise.

I do not want unhappy and stressed out RA providers out there, so I am trying to help here with a few concrete steps:

First, watch the video and assess where you greatest needs lie.

Second, Click through to my 10 Rules of Basic RA Service. This is the barest bones of what you should be providing to all leisure readers.

Third, use the labels down toward the bottom of the blog in the right gutter to see the topics I have posts on; maybe some can help you right now. If you only have time to search one topic, try RA Training.

Fourth, leave a comment here if there are areas you would like me to address on the blog. I want to be responsive to the needs of all of you out there. I might be able to fill some training and knowledge gaps with just a few well directed posts.

Fifth, contact me about low cost training options I can provide to you, your library, or even your system or conference. I can even do workshops where I can train trainers, which from looking at the data on how RA is going nationwide, might be the best course of action right now.

Webinars like this one are great, but by mission and design they are very general.  The next step needs to be customized help that does not take up too much staff time and is not very expensive.  I think I can help a lot of people get started by just using this blog as a training tool.  Use tags to access older posts on the topics that address your current needs.  This could be a fast and cheap way to fix a lot of problems, but I need your help to know what I should be posting here that will be the most helpful to you.

Let's get serious about finding the best way to have knowledgeable staff helping readers because when RA works best, everyone is happy.

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