By nature, I’m not someone who seeks out help from others. I’d rather find information myself than ask someone for suggestions or assistance when browsing for books. It’s maybe a little ironic, since I love helping people and chatting about books when asked even though I would never be one of those patrons myself. Perhaps for this reason, I’m a big fan of passive readers’ advisory.
Here are two (of the many) methods we use in my library to help readers find books that they’ll enjoy.
Reading Lists in a Binder
We used to keep book lists in a box with hanging file folders. When I imagined that a binder would allow for easier browsing, I didn’t realize it’d get to be quite so cumbersome.
Printed reading lists are kind of a pain to keep updated, but I think they can be a great resource both for staff who may be less familiar with certain genres and for patrons who don’t want to ask someone in person for a suggestion.
Some of ours are traditional lists, but most of them are at least contain book covers, and many of them are the flowcharts and other graphics I make (most of which you can find under readers’ advisory resources).
We keep a spreadsheet that contains the subject/genre/theme of the list, who is responsible for it, and when it was last updated. It’s something that staff work on when they have down time.
When we moved into the old Border’s building while the main library was undergoing renovation and expansion, we inherited some shelf talkers that had been in the old bookstore. Currently, the Teen Zone is the only area of the library using them, and I think they’ve been a great addition to our space. Every month or two the rest of the staff and I switch out our suggestions to keep them fresh. We include our logo on the sheet and a brief recommendation that will hopefully hook new readers.