Weekly Reading – Week 6
Challenges for Readers’ Advisors Today
In his article Trott (2008) discusses potential challenges for readers’ advisors today and stresses out the importance of continuous adjustment for the readers’ advisors in order to compete with fast moving and ever changing readers’ needs. One of the challenges that Trott (2008) talks about is learning to provide effective reader’s advisory not only for books but also for other formats such as audiobooks. Author says, “in addition to the concerns of story, setting, mood, language, and character, audiobook advisory requires a knowledge and sensitivity to things such as the narrative voice, reading style, where the auditor plans to listen to the recording, and what sort of media format the auditor needs and desires.” I also agree with the author because when selecting an audiobook we often consider factors such as the narrator’s voice. For instance, we rather choose a book which is read by an award-winning narrator than by someone whose name we are not familiar with. Therefore, readers’ advisors have to not only familiarize themselves with the book collection but also they have to have at least general knowledge of popular titles among other library material formats.
Trott (2008) also points out the challenges to maintain and build knowledge of genres. He explains that today’s advisors cannot only be comfortable working with fundamental genres such as crime, romance, historical, western, fantasy, science fiction, and so on. New genres and subgenres are continually developing and readers’ advisors have to simply keep up with it. For instance, genres such as Chick Lit, Street-Lit, Urban fiction, Steampunk, and many others have found large audiences among today’s readers, thus reader’s advisors should also build their knowledge around them. “The readers’ advisor of the future must have a willingness to venture into these less-known areas of the reading world and to come back not only alive but also with an appreciation for what readers in therse areas enjoy.” (Trott, 2008)
A major challenge that is discussed in Trott’s article is providing readers’ advisory services to readers who are non-English speaking. Even though the collection of many public libraries consists of foreign language titles, how does the reader decide which title to choose? It would be definitely valuable if the majority of the library’s staff was bilingual but this is reality: readers’ advisors are faced with significant challenges in suggesting materials in foreign languages. However, small steps can be taken towards this improvement. For instance, readers’ advisors and catalogers can work together and compile reading lists in foreign titles. In addition, I think it would be wonderful if the majority of a library employees were bilingual and were partially involved in readers’ advisory services as well. In short, I think that this is a serious issue that needs to be discussed further; American population is becoming more diverse and American libraries have to make changes in order to satisfy their patrons’ needs.
Trott, B. (Winter, 2008). Building on a firm foundation: Readers’ advisory over the next twenty-five years. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 48(2).