Reader’s Advisory 101

Imageby Melissa Tomecz

The Reader’s Advisory (RA) event hosted by the Public Library section of the ABQLA went off without a hitch.  A good time was had by all during the evening, held on May 26 at the Côte Saint-Luc Public Library. There was a lovely variety refreshments and an intimate café-like atmosphere. Library Director and City Manager Tanya Abramovitch, along with Assistant Library Director Janine West, gave a presentation on how their staff are trained in RA at the library.

ImageThe talk was presented in two parts. Tanya first spoke about the appeal factors that help draw people into reading and enjoying certain books. She described how language, character development, setting and pace can make or break the story. Then Janine went through a summary of all the genres broken up into smaller sub-genres and the authors who write in those streams. She also presented tools for RA services to help patrons and suggestions on how to train staff for RA by speed-reading the cover, back, and flaps of books.

The handy little tips and tricks that were offered were appreciated, not to mention that there was the realization that for each genre, there are many diverse sub-genres to consider which can actually differ greatly from one another even when they may be from the same family. Tanya and Janine’s program, which was implemented at Côte Saint-Luc, stressed the fact that in order to know your genres and books, you must read. Read a lot, in as many genres as you can handle. This is the only way you can be considered an RA expert.  It will also help you distinguish your favorite tastes and stay open-minded to other people’s preferences.

ImageA discussion period followed the formal presentation, along with some mingling. Interestingly, attendees came from all types of libraries: public, school and technician backgrounds.  There were even some non-librarians!  It just goes to show how reading and love of books can bring together diverse individuals.