Category Archives: Reader’s Advisory

Book Lists – May (Summer is Coming)

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a good book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

It’s still technically spring, but summer is coming (Game of Thrones fans will appreciate this image); so here are some books to get you through spring and ready for summer:

Book Lists – YA

Looking for a good YA book to read? Looking for a good YA book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good YA book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

Book Lists

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a good book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

Best Books of 2016 & Best Forthcoming Books of 2017

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a book to recommend to a patron? Looking for some books to add to your library’s collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

2016 has come and gone. With the end of one year and the beginning of another, we can look back on the best books from 2016; and we can also look ahead with anticipation to some new books in 2017. Review the categories in the lists below to find the perfect book for you, your library, or your patrons.



NDLCC Standards Compliance: Reader’s Advisory

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.

books1[1]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:

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.

“YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten” Nominees for 2016

Teens' Top TenYALSA has posted the list of the 2016 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees. The 26 books on this list are the favorites from 2015, nominated and chosen by teens. Voting takes place between August 15 and Teen Read Week (October 9-15, 2016), with the 10 winners being announced the week after Teen Read Week.

Now is a great time to have your teens start reading the nominees so they are ready to vote when the time comes. This will also get teens reading during the summer, which is the ultimate goal. Continue reading

Make Diversity a Goal at Your Library

This is a guest post by Stacey Goldade, head of the Statewide Catalog Development Department at the North Dakota State Library.

For patrons to want to come to your library, you’re going to have to have something that appeals to them. That means a wide range of topics, formats, genres, stuff for all ages, etc., which means making sure you have enough materials about diverse kinds of people. I know you may say that practically all your population is white and of Scandinavian descent, but that’s changing and even if it was true, the whole point of a library is to learn about new things. So even though I’m a white woman, one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read was Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, which let me see what being a black man in the south in the 1950s was like. It’s very unlikely you have anyone in your community that is an astronaut or a pro-football player, but you have books about space and sports right? Because people still want to learn about those topics even if that’s not their profession or their background. People want to learn about other people too, so make sure you are providing them with books about all kinds of people.

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Encourage Your Patrons to Read Diversely

Have you ever thought to yourself “Diverse books don’t circulate in my library because my community isn’t actually diverse”? While you may feel your community is not diverse, a lack of diversity may not be the reason why diverse titles aren’t circulating. It may be that you as the librarian need to make your patrons aware of these titles and promote why your patrons might enjoy them. Have you ever chosen not to purchase books because you think they are too “diverse” to circulate in your library? They definitely won’t circulate if they are not on the shelves! Remember that books don’t have to be about diversity, they can simply be diverse.

Once you’ve purchased them, what can you do in your library to help get books circulating?

  • You probably already do book displays, but do they highlight diversity in your collection? Try using an infographic to help people select a good match. There’s no need to make the display only about diversity, simply incorporate diversity into displays you already have planned.
  • If you do a program such as Blind Date with a Book, be sure to include some diverse choices. The whole idea of a Blind Date program is to get patrons to try something new that they might not usually read.
  • Diversity in YA, a blog which highlights “young adult books about all kinds of diversity,” has a guide for how to encourage diversity in your collection. One of the suggestions is “recommend diversity.” What’s one primary reason books are often popular? Because people are talking about them! Kids in particular want to read what everyone else is reading, so talking about books will go a long way toward getting them to circulate. Even adult patrons come in asking for books they heard about on TV or the radio. Once you have the momentum of word of mouth, you will see increased circulation. What are some ways to talk about books?
    • Mention titles in your weekly article in the newspaper
    • Mention titles on Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
    • Mention titles at book club meetings
    • Work with the school librarian to cross-promote
  • If you’ve never tried book trailers, try featuring them on your library website or Facebook page. Not all books have them, but you can find them on YouTube, or you can try the website of the author or the publisher.
  • You can’t read everything, so familiarize yourself with websites that can help you advise readers on what books they might like. Also, the State Library offers access to NoveList (under Books & Literature), another great resource for connecting readers and books.
  • If you don’t usually do book talks, read up on how to do a book talk and try it with some titles you’ve enjoyed.

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2015 Debut Authors

7357608430_64f9ea5260_z[1]Do you like to keep up to date with the newest books and authors? Then you’ll want to check out the authors publishing their first books in 2015!

It can be hard to stay on top of what’s coming out, so here are a few resources devoted to 2015 debut authors to help you keep up to date on Young Adult and Middle Grade titles by newly published authors:

If you’re really looking ahead, there’s also The Sweet Sixteens for 2016 YA and MG debut authors.

Did you read any fabulous novels by debut authors in 2014? Maybe one of the finalists for the Morris Award? Share your recommendations in the comments! If you set reading reading goals for the new year, this sounds like a great reading challenge!

What resources do you use to discover new authors? Share your suggestions in the comments!

State Library Partners with Zoobean

Zoobean-LogoHave you been looking for ways to connect with library patrons who have young children? Have you been looking for ways to reach parents of young children who are not already library users? Beanstack may be the perfect solution for your library!

Beanstack is a service provided by Zoobean that recommends books to parents for children specifically from birth to 8 years old. Parents sign up for an account using an email address (no library card required) and then set up a profile for each of their children, indicating each child’s age, interests, and reading level. Beanstack then emails the parent with a personalized book recommendation for each child on a weekly basis. Each recommendation can be linked to your catalog if you own the book. While Beanstack has compiled a list of recommended books, you and your staff can add books to the list as well, if you do not own the titles Beanstack recommends, or if you simply want to supplement their recommendations. There are also themed learning guides which provide suggested activities, discussion starters, and multimedia resources. Themed learning guides are accessed with a library card number, thus drawing in parents who don’t yet have a library card.

While there is no cost to parents to use this service, the library purchases accounts on their behalf at $1 per account annually, in groups of 500 accounts. More accounts can be added at any time. In partnership with the State Library, Zoobean has offered to waive the set up fee for North Dakota libraries that sign up for Beanstack by October 30.

Zoobean was founded by Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Google’s former Head of K-12 Education, and Felix Brandon Lloyd, Washington D.C.’s Teacher of the Year for 2000-2001, when they became parents themselves. For more information on working with Zoobean, please contact Felix at