Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Readers' Advisory Handbook, edited by Jessica E. Moyer and Kaite Mediatore Stover

Here is more good advice on how to give reading advice. Jessica E. Moyer and Kaite Mediatore Stover have collected twenty-two articles from practicing librarians into their recent The Readers' Advisory Handbook, published by ALA Editions. Divided into five sections, these practical pieces help librarians learn to evaluate materials and collections, write reviews, and get books into the hands of readers. They also push the definition of readers' advisory way past the one-on-one client transaction. The pieces near the end of the book suggest new and special services. I am particularly inspired by David Wright's article "Adult Storytime" in which he describes running storytimes for grownups at the Seattle Public Library, showing how these programs promote short story reading. I'd like for my library to adapt his ideas.

I am not involved in service to prisoners, but others are, including the newly formed Chicago Deskset, which raised money to get books for the residents of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. The members of this group may benefit from reading and contemplating "Readers' Advisory for Incarcerated Populations" by Kate Pickett and CJ Sullivan. These Kansas librarians distinguish between the residents of treatment centers and inmates in prisons and jails, identifying the different problems librarians face in connecting readers and books in these institutions. In all cases, the librarians have to convince facility administrators and staff of the good of providing books to their wards and then navigate through institutional rules that may limit what they offer. Pickett and Sullivan's thought may help activist librarians succeed.

My library needs to plan how it writes and distributes booklists better. It has been a recurring problem. Several articles in the middle of the book address the issue, showing many types of lists that can be written and various media for distributing them. These articles also identify websites that feature already made lists that librarians can tap as needed or adapt to promote their own collections.

While The Readers' Advisory Handbook may be used in library schools, I foresee it being of the greatest help to frontline librarians trying to improve their services. In this valuable guide, they will find RA advice procedures, forms to use in RA service, and sample titles and authors to suggest to readers. Novices and seasoned librarians can benefit from consulting The Readers' Advisory Handbook.

The Readers' Advisory Handbook. ALA Editions, 2010. ISBN 9780838910429.

1 comment:

Chicago Deskset said...

Thanks for the Chicago Deskset shout-out! The next event will be held July 10th. Spread the word.