Guest post by Mary Soucie, State Librarian (first published in the June 2016 issue of Flickertale)
After this year’s public library annual report, Library Development Manager Eric Stroshane completed an analysis of how our public libraries are doing in regards to being in compliance with the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries. There are categories that all libraries are in compliance with. We are going to highlight the areas that don’t have 100% compliance.
The first topic we are going to write about is Reader’s Advisory. Reader’s Advisory (RA) is the act of recommending both fiction and nonfiction titles to patrons through direct and indirect methods.
Direct is pretty straight and word forward. A patron asks for a good book, a mystery book, a self-help book… insert any request here. A librarian or staff member directs the patron to one or more titles that will fit their needs. Indirect includes everything from book displays to booklists/pathfinders to bookmarks.
In 2014, Library Journal published an article entitled “The State of Reader’s Advisory.” They identified four points of service where RA takes place:
In-person RA takes place 85% of the time at the reference desk and 59% at the circulation desk. Self-directed RA is also highly popular, with 94% of libraries creating book displays, for example, and 75% offering book lists. Book-oriented programs are widespread, too: the survey shows that book clubs (89%) and author visits (86%) are held at most libraries. The fourth point of service was digital: 79% of libraries provide read-alikes or other such tips on their websites, and a little less than half, recommendations via social media.
You can read the rest of the article at: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/02/library-services/the-state-of-readers-advisory/#_
I’ve taken advantage of RA via social networking several times and I love it. I’m not sure if any of our ND libraries are offering this but if you are, please be sure to let me know. One way to provide RA via social networking is to ask a reader to provide the last title they’ve read and then librarians recommend 3-5 titles based on that title. Another is to share book reviews via Twitter or Facebook. I know we do have some librarians doing this.
I think more of our libraries are providing Reader’s Advisory Services than indicated by the annual report. Hopefully, this article has helped you better identify the ways that you are providing RA that you didn’t identify as such.
If you have questions about the standards, please contact any member of the Library Development Team.