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Reader’s Advisory

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Part of my job at the library is offering a Readers’ Advisory (RA) service. At the bare bones level, this is helping readers find a book to read. The more in-depth description of this service is uncovering what the reader is in the mood to read, what tropes they’re after, what genre is speaking to them, the style of writing they enjoy, the format that they require, and then making a recommendation based on all of that.

Those of you who are familiar with the Bindoon Library know that we’re pretty small. We don’t have staff for specific tasks, just me, the lovely Petal who covers for me on my breaks, and our wonderful vollies. Larger libraries will sometimes have staff at the service desk who specialise in RA duties. They make a point of reading all the new releases and the critically acclaimed titles. They have an in-depth knowledge of release schedules, book reviews, and current trends. They spend a good portion of their time at work acting like the Book Cupid, matching readers with their next read.

As much as I would love to offer that level of service, I have to admit that my RA skills are not quite that developed. Firstly, I long ago decided that life was too short to read books that I don’t enjoy and so I tend to read only within my preferred genres. I’m never going to pick up the latest James Patterson & Co novel when N.R. Walker has just released a new book.

Sadly, I also don’t get paid to read. If I was, I would happily read that new Colleen Hoover book and give it a crack, but alas, I don’t so I won’t. As it is, I have a finite amount of spare time to allocate to my recreational reading, so sorry Ms Hoover, but I have a Tal Bauer novel to devour.

I might not be able to make many recommendations based on my own reading preferences, but what I can do is point you in the direction of similar authors to those you enjoy. I can let you know what’s popular and what’s trending. I can help you find alternative formats that best suit your needs. I can find you some Aussie authors to explore, let you know which book won the Goodreads Readers’ Choice Awards, and let you know what the latest book is being read in Oprah’s Book Club.

I’m also happy to help out my members who might be too unwell to come and choose their own books. Using your borrowing history as a guide, I can make a selection of titles for you so a family member or carer can pop own and pick them up.

It might not be quite the same level of service as at a larger library, but I certainly try my best!