Jo and I would like to send a special thank you to staff at State Library of Queensland for inviting us to present about readers advisory and our project to the Rural Libraries Queensland training course this week. We’d also like to thank the wonderful RLQ attendees who had travelled from far-flung places in Queensland like Longreach, Carpentaria, Goondiwindi…
Our preso covered our top ten low cost/no cost/high return ideas for RA in public libraries – these factors being especially important in small libraries with low staff numbers, but still relevant to large library services in times of tight budgets.
Among other things I gave a 15 second review on Megan Caldwell’s Vanity Fare and the attendees recommended a great follow-up for readers of 50 Shades of Grey – Rachael Treasure’s 50 Bales of Hay. Have you enough reading knowledge to recommend to others?
We’ll include these ideas in our project report.
Something the rural libraries have now, that we’re all envious about, is their RLQ Tourist Card which enables people living or travelling in outback Queensland to borrow from all RLQ libraries. And they have a combined catalogue across 28 member Councils. Imagine all those possibilities for collaboration across RLQ with bookclubs, eAudiobooks, reviews, etc.
130 library services across South Australia also have this collaborative opportunity with One Card . Victorian libraries are also going for united strength.
We would love to hear from staff in these libraries to let us know how you’re using the One Card concept to support the delivery of outstanding readers advisory service.
Today I participated in an international twitter conversation around readers advisory. Abby tweeted this morning:
‘Librarians, a question: can you give good readers advisory without reading widely yourself? Please discuss.’
Some of the responses in chronological order are as follows:
I think you could give ‘good’ RA, but I don’t believe you could give great RA
Catalogue can’t give you everything. I think actual knowledge of genres, authors, styles could give that
Think passion and an interest in reading , books shine through conversations which result is great RA
Interesting question hey? If staff are not reading and talking about books can they give good RA?
Depends on what the ‘reader’ wants, if wants reader development that is one thing, if wants information about something that is another thing
Talking amongst colleagues is RA practice as well (to avoid clamming up with customers)
If staff are not reading and talking about books can they give good RA > nope
Sometimes I feel like RA is the best kept dirty library secret ever
And elicits both positive and negative reactions when talking about it
It’s like choosing books for kids, if you love books yourself your passion comes through
I think sometimes reading books is easy, talking books can be hard
Even harder when like me, you read a particular genre
How do I learn to talk about other genres with same passion
I would never trust a librarian who does not read
Talking with others about books ignites passion, debate and flurries of reserves
Chiming in as academic librarian: I can’t see how!
This is where I come unstuck, I don’t read widely because I read for enjoyment
However, I do read Good Reading magazine and other review resources so at least I know what’s out
You don’t have to *like* or be passionate about all genres, but do need knowledge
I think knowledge of the tools is important to show your reader is important too
Agree, we have to know what tools are there and how to use them
There is always ways to cheat – ‘talking about books you haven’t read’ book from Amazon
Love it! Hubby has 5 questions/statements he uses when pretending he has seen a movie #silly
I’d love to know those 5 questions!
‘Talking about books you haven’t read’ is actually in my to be read pile…..
I think you can, I pump a lot of people for information on genres I don’t read
RA training is important, it provides critical skills
I tried talking w staff about fav books from 2012, started with a blog post I had seen, no response
Will continue to try and talk books with my staff
And what do you do with a school library employee that refuses to read YA
Get rid of them? Lol! Write it into their job descriptions……
If it is made a requirement, you write them up
This has been a great discussion, I going to work on developing a genre reading program for staff…. Will blog here soon
I’m so excited about developing this readers advisory program for my staff that I feel a little feverish
(I am a big nerd)
The conversations played out for nearly two hours, with many different responses. What do you think? Can you give good readers advisory without reading widely yourself? What strategies does your library have in place to facilitate this?
We took a lot of photos in Auckland, mostly inside libraries and certainly of many librarians. Check out the many readers advisory techniques used in Auckland’s libraries on our flickr collection.
And if you’re visiting Auckland, please drop in to the libraries and say hello from us. We miss those guys!
As well as meeting great librarians from the public libraries we also met the very inspirational Fiona Mackie, President of SLANZA (great article about her and Word Up in Collected #9, pages 16-17) and Catherine Frew from the Corporate Library. We caught up with the marvellous Tosca Waera (Social Media Coordinator, the personality behind @Auckland_Libs), Sally Pewhairangi from Finding Heroes (who inspires us with her big ideas) and Paul Brown – our amazing tour guide and readers advisory expert.
Here’s a link to a LIANZA 2012 paper by Richard Misilei, the awesome manager of Tupu Youth Library – South Auckland Libraries: Connecting with Southside Youth. A library service to be proud of. If you’ve been there, shout about it!
We visited Central City, Botany, Tupu, Onehunga, Massey, Titirangi, Henderson, Takapuna and East Coast Bays libraries.
The point of going to a conference is to learn more about the profession, and to meet up with others in the profession. I’ve sometimes found the most valuable things happen outside of the conference framework, but happen because of it.
We both went to the QPLA off-year conference held at State Library of Queensland, Brisbane. It was a mini-conference but packed full of valuable information and ideas. More on that soon.
We’re grateful to Nadia Patch, Coordinator of Reading at Brisbane Libraries, for spending her lunch break in an interview with us. We were so impressed with the work Nadia does and how she works with the team leaders (branch librarians) to work on a coordinated and very successful approach to reader services. Nadia’s team had developed eye-catching genre bookmarks which feature a space for librarians to write their own recommendation before personally giving the bookmark to a customer.
And the BCC bookclub booklet features 40 reviews written by library staff – awesome production.
We were also excited to meet Sue McKerracher, Director of the Library Agency managing National Year of Reading. After the conference I was fortunate to meet with Jane Cowell and Tammy Morley at State Library (Jane is Director Public and Indigenous Library Services and Tammy is Manager Capacity Development). Jane and Tammy were very supportive when I asked the question – how can we work with State Library to support reader services in Queensland public libraries?
They’ve also suggested we submit an article to the PLC enews, so look out for that.
The conference was all about advocacy, and personally I found Sue Henzcel and DK’s presentations the most valuable in this area (Sue on metrics and DK on social media advocacy). I found a lot I can use to support reader services delivery in the public library service.
I finished my trip with a visit to Robin Lee at Brisbane Square Library (colleagues Suzanne and Esther had visited BSL and Fairfield to check out RFID) – and met some more wonderful Brisbane librarians.
Conferences and library visits are an invaluable opportunity to meet talented people who are doing great things in our industry.
Who have you met who has influenced your professional practice?