Crash Course in Readers' Advisory

by Cynthia Orr


If you want to be indispensable to your patrons, don't miss this one-stop guide to readers' advisory.

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December 2014

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 173
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Reference and Information Services and Tools/Readers' Advisory and Leisure Reading
  Reference and Information Services and Tools/Reference and Information Services

One of the key services librarians provide is helping readers find books they'll enjoy. This "crash course" will furnish you with the basic, practical information you need to excel at readers' advisory (RA) for adults and teens.

The question "can you recommend a good book?" can be one of the most daunting you face, notwithstanding the fact that recommender tools are ubiquitous. Often, uncertainty arises because, although librarians are called on to perform such services daily, readers' advisory is a skill set in which most have no formal training. This guide will remedy that. It is built around understanding books, reading, and readers and will quickly show you how to identify reading preferences and advise patrons effectively. You'll learn about multiple RA approaches, such as genre, appeal features, and reading interests and about essential tools that can help with RA. Plus, you'll discover tips to help you keep up with this ever-changing field.

There is no other professional book that covers the full spectrum of skills needed to perform the RA service that is in such great demand in libraries of all kinds. Helping readers find what they want is a sure way to serve patrons and build your library's brand. You will come away from this easy-to-understand crash course with the solid background you need to do both.


  • Serves as a practical, down-to-earth, all-in-one introduction to a subject that is essential for librarians working in the field
  • Summarizes the best practices of readers' advisory service and the best tools for readers' advisors
  • Introduces tools for identifying read-alikes and discusses new trends and approaches in readers' advisory
  • Includes lists of the best sources for further reading for those who wish to delve more deeply into a subject
  • Can serve as a text or manual for in-service training or be used as supplementary reading in LIS courses
Author Info

Cynthia Orr had a long career in public libraries in the Greater Cleveland area, where her final position was collection manager for Cleveland Public Library. She is now the digital collection advisor for OverDrive, Inc., remains active in ALA and PLA, and often speaks and writes on the topics of readers' advisory service, technical services, and collection management. Her published works include ABC-CLIO's Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests, Seventh Edition. She contributed chapters in Reference and Information Services: An Introduction, Third Edition and Research-Based Readers' Advisory, and she authored "Collection Development in Public Libraries" in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Orr edits ABC-CLIO's Reader's Advisor Online Blog and teaches a class on readers' advisory service for Kent State University's School of Library and Information Science. She received her master's degree in library science from Case Western Reserve University and is a winner of the Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award given by the Reference and User Services Division of the American Library Association.

Table of Contents


  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Reading and Libraries Chapter 2: Understanding Reading Chapter 3: RA as a Science: What the Research Shows Chapter 4: Understanding the Reader Chapter 5: Understanding the Literature Chapter 6: Preparing Yourself to Work with the Literature Chapter 7: Working with Readers Chapter 8: Tools and Techniques Chapter 9: Building a Reader-Centered Environment Chapter 10: Knowing the Players, and Keeping Current Chapter 11: The Current and Future State of Readers' Advisory Services in Public Libraries
  • Further Reading Index



    "Orr's professional guide is designed to support librarians in both helping their users access the library confidently and figure out what they want to read through readers' advisory techniques. While the examples and statistics tend to be geared to public adult libraries, those who work in schools and with children and teens are sure to pick up many ideas for engaging these readers. . . . This is an essential resource for every librarian working in the field today."VOYA

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