Saturday, February 14, 2015

Online Readers' Advisory Services

Canadian public libraries are becoming more and more interested in their readers.  Cultivating good relationships with readers can translate into more library support through book usage.  With a rise in use of e-collections, libraries have to offer readers' advisory services in new ways that make them convenient for readers to use.  Providing reading suggestions can spread a readers' interest across the whole collection drawing attention away from popular titles.

Personalized book lists or reading suggestions are old ideas in the readers' advisory cannon but they are experiencing a resurgence in interest, both for libraries and readers.  Many libraries are offering web-based forms which allows readers to receive reading suggestions.  Here are a few successful services which may serve as a model for service in your library.

Kingston Frontenac Public Library's 3 for 3

This service allows readers to send the three authors or titles that they have read in the past and enjoyed to receive three new titles or authors to try.  Readers are encouraged to identify appeal factors for the books they enjoyed to provide something for the advisors to consider.  Readers will receive a response in a week.  Be sure to check out other lists and posts on their KFPL Reads site.

Toronto Public Library's Ask a Bookhead

If you click on the green button at the top right hand corner of the page above, you'll be taken to a chat page where you can ask readers' advisory questions.  Library staff answer these questions on a daily basis and the information is available for others to read.  This service is one of a whole suite of services available for readers.  Check out Book Buzz, Toronto's online book club, for additional resources.

Vancouver Public Library's Books Just for You

Vancouver offers a traditional looking form for readers to complete for advisory services.  This is just one part of a fulsome offering of services for readers.  There is no additional information about how quickly you may receive the suggestions or how many titles/authors you may receive in return but it looks like you won't be disappointed.

Edmonton Public Library's Personalized Book Lists

Like Vancouver, Edmonton allows readers to complete a formal request for advisory services.  Book lists and other resources are available as well.  Check out their online chat!

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