IN-Direct (One-to-Many) Activities

This section catalogs “indirect” Readers’ Advisory activities. These activities do not involve a direct, one-on-one encounter between a librarian and a reader (though they may involve in-person encounters within book groups and similar gatherings). Here, the focus is on discovery, providing opportunities for readers to encounter new titles and authors through lists, displays, browsing aids, and other tools discussed below. This discovery can happen whether or not the librarian is present.


Recommended Book or Reading Lists

DESCRIPTION: Library staff members curate lists of recommended, popular, or interesting titles around a specific theme, audience, or topic, and publish the lists on their library websites or on paper, often in bookmark size. Libraries distribute these lists to their readers in many ways—through their websites, on their digital media sites for ebooks and audiobooks, on social media, or at community events, as well as in the library building, by leaving paper lists in displays for readers to take, or placing the paper lists into books throughout the stacks for serendipitous discovery. Sometimes the lists include staff reviews of the titles. 

EXAMPLES:

  • Staff Picks: Bookmarks, with staff member comments, are placed in specific books shelved in the stacks or in displays. These comments often include suggested read-alike titles or authors. 

  • Genre or Themed Bookmarks: A team of genre or subject specialists create bookmarks around genres such as romance or cozy mysteries, or specific themes. 

  • Recommended Listening Awards:Curated lists of audiobooks are created and kept near the collection. 

  • Featured Titles List: Using book covers, staff members create a weekly curated list on the library’s OverDrive site to promote titles in digital formats with low circulation.

  • Best of Lists: Library staff members curate lists, including fiction and nonfiction titles in multiple categories including Best of the Year, Best of the Summer, Best Gift Books, and Best of Staff Picks and provides multiple copies of lesser-known well-reviewed titles to encourage interest. The lists are printed in a booklet format and used as part of a display with the multiple titles.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Displays

LONG DESCRIPTION: Library staff members create displays of titles that are either new, recommended, or thematically related. Displays are typically placed in high-traffic areas and are maintained and curated by staff members. As with reading lists, displays often include Staff Picks or Best Books. A print book list may also be available as part of the display.

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Social Media Book Talks

DESCRIPTION: Library staff members use social media in various ways  to promote new and suggested titles. Discussions may take place on Facebook or Twitter at designated times or are ongoing. Library staff members may also record a book talk on Facebook Live and upload the video to YouTube for later viewing by readers. Staff members may also post book reviews to a Goodreads account or to a library blog.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

●     American Library Association I Love Libraries initiative

Social Media Virtual Displays

DESCRIPTION: Pictures of physical book displays are posted online or to social media platforms in order to reach the virtual user. Hypertext links are typically provided to guide the user to the library catalog or text version of the display so the materials may be requested and/or downloaded. Libraries share images and links to books or book lists on social media. Lists are often related to current events or showcase staff favorites or new titles. 

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Reading Groups or Book Clubs

DESCRIPTION: Library-hosted book groups take a variety of forms. In many groups, all participants read the same book and come together to discuss it. Groups may focus on special topics, such as mysteries, wellness, social justice, etc. They may also focus on special audiences such as parent/child, teens, or world language speakers. Other groups may take a less formal approach, inviting readers to gather and discuss anything they’ve been reading. Discussions may happen in person (in libraries or other settings) or online via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. 

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Presentations

DESCRIPTION: Library staff members offer various types of presentations on a book or books, or story that will be of interest to the intended audience. A book talk may take place at the library or at an offsite or online location. Book talks may be designed to promote new and hot titles, or to provide suggestions to a targeted population such as members of a senior center, the local Chamber of Commerce, or in a school classroom. The presentation may be about one book or several books. A story hour includes a reading of the actual material, be it a picture book, short story, poetry, or an excerpt from a larger work. Story hours are usually aimed at children but some libraries also offer these for adults. Usually a story is read or told in person, but is sometimes offered via telephone or the Internet.

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Author Visits

DESCRIPTION: An author event provides readers an opportunity to meet a favorite author or perhaps discover a new author that they might enjoy. Authors, whether local or national, often speak or read from their works at libraries. Additionally, when authors discuss their work and/or writing process, attendees often learn more about themselves and why certain books appeal to them. These can be single author events or conversations or panels with multiple authors and may feature both authors of fiction and nonfiction.

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Newsletters

DESCRIPTION: Libraries provide print newsletters for giveaway or regularly scheduled email newsletters to subscribers. These may be created in-house or curated by a vendor through subscriptions. Newsletters may be of general interest or targeted to specific topics or genres. They link back to lists or specific titles in the library catalog or to book and author events such as readings or book groups.

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Readers’ Advisory Podcasts

DESCRIPTION: Library podcasts take a variety of approaches, but almost all of them include some form of readers’ advisory service. Some are books- and reading-focused, while others take a broader look at libraries while including book talks or other readers’ advisory activities; others are primarily recordings of author talks and readings.

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Community Reading Campaigns

DESCRIPTION: An entire community is encouraged to read the same book and participate in discussions or attend related events—this is often an annual event. The book may be selected by a special committee, by vote, or it may be an award winner. The campaign may follow a theme. The programs can be heavily promoted, sometimes in partnership with other community organizations such as transit systems or the mayor’s office.

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Community Reading Challenges

DESCRIPTION: An entire community is challenged to diversify and broaden their reading. Using gamification, programming, and interactive elements, patrons are encouraged to read books they would not otherwise choose on their own. These programs are usually presented as yearly or monthly challenges with prompts such as “Read a book by a person of color” or “Read a book in translation.” Some libraries also use the challenges presented by other media outlets. Prizes are often awarded to those who participate.  

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Media Contributions/Appearances

DESCRIPTION: Librarians may appear on television, write columns in magazines or newspapers, or appear on the radio to offer reading suggestions. 

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Catalog Interventions

DESCRIPTION: Using local cataloging, vendor-provided products, and local content, librarians can connect with readers through the library catalog to make suggestions for read-alike authors and titles, to link to other library-developed content, and to pull together reading lists for popular materials. 

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