Direct (One-to-One) Activities
This section catalogs “direct” readers’ advisory activities. These activities involve a direct, one-on-one encounter between a librarian or library staff member and a reader. The encounter can be face-to-face, on the phone, via email or chat, or through a form, either online or in print. In all of these cases, the result of the encounter is that the reader takes away specific reading suggestions based on his or her reading interests. The focus here is on the suggestions.
Conversations and Recommendations
Library staff members engage a reader in conversation to determine reading tastes, history and mood. The conversation often begins by asking the reader to name a book they have enjoyed recently and why. The conversation may then delve into greater detail about the importance of appeal factors such as story/plot, language, characters, and setting for the reader.
Engaging readers through both deliberate and casual impromptu conversations at service points in the library and through “roving” readers’ advisory
Organized outreach events in the community
Informal/incidental conversations in the community
The library designs a form to collect information about the reader’s interests. The form may be available in hard copy or submitted online and will usually ask for some basic information such as reading history, genre interests, format preferences. The library may ask readers to rate the importance of appeal factors such as plot, language, characters, and setting. Some libraries also collect demographic information about the users of the form. The responses are then evaluated by library staff members who provide specific reading recommendations for that reader.
Hollands, Neil. "Improving the Model for Interactive Readers' Advisory Service." Reference & User Services Quarterly 45, no. 3 (2006): 205-12 (Available free of charge with My JSTOR login.)
Social Media Readers’ Advisory
Library staff members provide personalized reading recommendations on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Although these interactions are one-on-one—a reader asks a question and gets an individualized response—the public nature of social media makes them visible to a large audience and other community members often chime in. Activities may follow a special theme or format. Librarians use services such as NetGalley and Edelweiss to find and share news about forthcoming titles with readers. Some libraries have regular social media “office hours” for readers’ advisory.
Using the Twitter hashtag #Libfaves(year), a number of librarians count down their favorite top ten titles published during the current year over a ten-day period in early December. Readers can follow the individual tweets to discover what librarians liked best during the year or wait and for the final list to be compiled.