Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Older Adults and Readers' Advisory by Alicia Ahlvers

My favorite article in the summer 2006 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly is one whose ideas I can apply directly to my work in a public library. Turn to page 305 where you will find "Older Adults and Readers' Advisory" by Alicia Ahlvers.

The author seems to have had many thought-provoking experiences working as the Senior Services Librarian at Kansas City Public Library. As you would expect with a position such as hers, she often leaves the building to serve her clients, bringing books to their homes and seeing that their requests are filled. It is work requiring a lot of customising, as every senior has different tastes and personalities.

Ahlvers has identified three groups of seniors: the G. I. Generation (older than age 85), the Silent Generation (64 to 84), and the Baby Boomers (43-63). Of course, only some of the Baby Boomers are considered as seniors at this point in time, but they all will be eventually. Ahlvers points out that the Boomers will especially show that seniors can not be stereotyped.

Being a librarian, the author likes lists. She names ten authors that each of the generations usually enjoys reading. These lists might be used for book and audiobook selection and then referenced when conducting readers' advisory interviews.

The longest section of the article deals with the readers' advisory interview. Ahlvers recommends trying large print books with many older adults and giving audiobooks to others. She warns against formats that are hard for older adults to manipulate. The author concludes the article with a discussion of helping readers with physical limitations.

1 comment:

ckubala said...

I really love the articles found in Reference & User's Services Quarterly. There's always something useful and inspiring. I, too, recently read this article by Alicia Ahlvers. You can tell she loves what she does and is dedicated to the older adults she serves. Webjunction.org has a great Services for Older Adults forum and I host the Readers'Advisory Forum there. Join us in our discussions. I plan to mention this aricle in the RA forum this week.