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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Making the Distinction Between a Book You Love and a Book That You Love to Suggest

As I was planning out my week of posts here on RA for All, I noticed something interesting-- the week is bookended with glowing reviews, but I was struck by how my passion for these stories comes from two distinctly different places.  This is a dichotomy I would like to explore today because it illustrates some key issues involved with providing RA service, issues that I don’t think are discussed out in th open quite enough.

On Monday, I posted a review of Travelers Rest, a psychological suspense/horror hybrid that I personally loved AND felt needed more attention from library workers. This is a book that is not getting a big promotional blitz, but I think it should be book talked to a wide range of patrons.  Click here for the soundbite review which you are welcome to use to book talk this title, and for more on what type of readers should try this book.

On the other hand, tomorrow, I will have a review of a book that is going to be a sure bet suspense suggestion in every public library. I read it and thought it was very good for what it is, but it will not become one of my personal favorites. This is a book you can hand out with confidence to just about every reader looking for a “good read.” For this reason, you will see that my review will be just as “glowing” as the one I wrote on Monday, but this review will have a distinctly different tone as I will be focusing on how much patrons will love this book. And they will. Tomorrow’s book [which comes out next week] is going to be a huge hit.

I am going to be enthusiastically promoting and hand selling both titles in the coming months. Both will become some of my “favorites” this year-- favorites to place in readers’ hands because I know for the correct readers, these books will deliver a “great read.” An experience so wonderful that you will win the hearts of patrons with your mad RA skills.

When you are providing service to leisure readers this distinction is key. I will LOVE to have patrons discover either title. It will give me great joy to help them have a great reading experience, but I only personally LOVE one of the titles. The point here is that I find both books awesome, for different reasons, and the distinction only matters to me personally. As a library worker suggesting leisure reads to patrons, these titles are equivalent in my eyes-- BOTH ARE GREAT!

Be able to understand and make this distinction without thinking about how weird it sounds is a sign that you have leveled up in your service to leisure readers. Because your success has nothing to do with you and what you think-- it is all about your patrons and giving them the best leisure reading experiences possible. 

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