Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Books, Readers and Beyond: #52 What to Read

Do you have any good books to read?

Garage Sale In Monroe

South Bank Book Market 4,
originally uploaded by klbw.

Most anyone who has worked in a library has heard that question. Answering with the right books for that particular person is the ultimate goal of Readers' Advisory. Since most of us aren't able to compete with Nancy Pearl in the quantity and quality of our book recommendations, here are some tips and tools to help with readers' advisory. This module (#52, 53 and 54) is worth 3 hours of training credit.

The Interview

To find out what kind of books someone likes, you first need to ask a few questions. Another champion in the field, Stacy Alesi, offers advice on providing great readers' advisory service:
  • Start off simply: if they're looking for a best seller that isn't on the shelf, ask if they've read other books by that author or authors who write in a similar style.

  • Ask them for the name of the last good book they read. This can lead you to the style or author or genre or setting that is appealing to your customer.

  • Always resepect a person's reading tastes. Just because you liked a book doesn't mean everyone will.

  • Be familiar with current and popular books and know your collection.

  • Ask customers to share their opinions about books they've read.

Online Reading Advice

After you've narrowed down what you are looking for, you can consult one of the many websites or databases available to assist you in the quest for that perfect book.

Novelist Plus - Novelist Plus is a library database that is usually your best place to start. It can help find book discussion guides, author read-alikes, series listings and book display ideas, among other things.

Fiction_L Booklists - Morton Grove Public Library provides many ways to search the most popular Readers' Advisory mailing list.

What Should I Read Next? - Enter an author and title and receive a list of recommendations.

Library Booklists and Bibliographies - From Amusement Park Fiction to Murdered by the Toaster, if there's a list for it you'll find it here.

Finding a Series (in order, of course) - the What's Next database can help with adult series or Mid-Continent Public Library can help with series for children.

Other Resources
Librarian in Black: Sarah's Reference Warehouse: Readers' Advisory
Overbooked: a Resource for Omnivorous Readers

  1. How do you find a read-alike? Pick a title by one of your favorite authors. Search Novelist Plus to find a read-alike. Now perform the same search using two of the other sites listed above. Were the results the same? Compare the two searches and the results in your blog post.

  2. Using one of the resources listed above find two books suitable for a fourth grade girl interested in animals and another two books for her thirteen year old brother who is interested in ghost stories. Post which resource you used and the books you located.

  3. A customer tells you that he's read every book written by Dean Koontz and asks you to find an author who writes similar books. Using two of the sites listed above, find three new authors to recommend to your customer. Post the sites you used and the results in your blog.

  4. A customer has read Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. She would like to read the other books in the series in order. Using one of the above resources, post the series title, the order of the books in the series, and the resource you used.

This post was brought to you by Bruce Farrar, Sandra Silvey, Rhiannon Perry, Grace Lillevig and Linda Stevens.

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