RA for All: Readers Advisory belongs in every library, no matter its budget. The implementation of this vital service is the responsibility of every staff member-- from pages to directors, from those behind the scenes to the ones on the front lines. This program will remove the mystery behind providing great RA service. Using her “Ten Rules of Basic RA Service” as a guide, Becky Spratford will use your own love of your favorite books to show you how to help any patron find their next great read. It's not as hard as you think. But more importantly, you will learn why a staff that can harness the power of sharing a great read will become a stronger team and improve service to all patrons.
Don't believe me and Duncan? This Pew report backs us up.
Becky's Ten Rules of Basic RA Service
-- A non-judgmental list of what you “should read"
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)
-- reading ABOUT books is just as important as reading the books
6. Share what you read- with staff and patrons.
-- booktalk every chance you get
7. Working together is a valuable resource
--both across whole staff and with other libraries
8. Never let a patron leave unsatisfied: RA Service is 100% dependent upon good customer service.
9. Bridge the physical-virtual divide
10. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
-- Get Booked podcast as a practice tool
-- Participate in #AskaLibrarian
-- reader profile exercise
The 5 Resources You Cannot Live Without
GoodReads: Plot summaries [don’t waste your time recording plot; it is right there for you], author pages, possible readalikes, but more importantly, customer comments! 5 star and 1 star reviews are the most helpful. 1 star reviews in particular will tip you off to limiters and glaring appeal issues. Treat customer reviews as patrons. Post your 3 words for each book to preserve the major appeal factors. Also use as a platform to practice writing reviews and/or helping anonymous patrons.
NoveList: Many things you need all in one place. [Full disclosure-- I write for them.]*
KentDistrict Public Library’s What’s Next Database: Easy to retrieve and print lists of books in series order. Makes patrons happy. Brings them back!
All Readers.com: Although it is not a pretty site, no one else gives the frank sex and violence level information that their reviewers do.
Gnooks: When you are desperate…distract them.
*If your library does not subscribe to NoveList, I suggest Fantastic Fiction as a replacement [although, talk to me about getting a free NoveList trial because it really is the best.]