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Weekly Reading – Week 5

Talking about Books

In chapter 6, Maatta (2010) discusses the art of readers’ advisory conversation with aim to help patrons in selecting new library materials.  The art of RA interview does not only depend on how and what we talk to patrons.  First of all, readers’ advisors should make sure that their desk and surrounding offers a welcoming environment and a variety of RA resources such as booklets, displays and so on are available.  Readers’ advisors should also understand that conducting reader’s advisory interview does not have to be performed directly behind the desk; it is completely appropriate to help patrons while browsing the stacks as well.  Most importantly, smiling and having positive and welcoming attitude is crucial.  Since patrons often feel that they would bother the advisor if they ask for “some good book to read,” for that reason; the advisor should make sure that patrons are familiar with this service.

Maatta explains that conducting RA interview starts with learning more about the patron’s reading interests and “what the reader is in the mood for.”  I think this is a very important part just because someone likes to read romance, it does not mean that person would not want to try something else, maybe a mystery with a touch of romance or even a thriller.  By having a friendly conversation with the patron about his/her reading interests, the advisor looks for the appeal of the books; the advisor tries to find out what the patron likes in a particular book and what he/she does not like by asking open ended questions.  Advisors should definitely be good listeners and listen carefully for clues about what types of books the reader does not like to read.  Asking probing questions in order to determine the advisor’s understanding what the reader likes is a must.  On the other hand, readers’ advisors cannot make assumptions about the readers’ meanings and cannot be judgmental in any aspect.  A successful reader’s advisory interview is when the advisor suggests more than one title and follows up with the patron to ensure his/her satisfaction.

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References

Maatta. S. L. (2010). A few good books. Using contemporary readers ‘advisory strategies to connect readers with books. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

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