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Readers' Advisory Handbook

Edited by Jessica E. Moyer and Kaite Mediatore Stover 

ALA Editions, 2010

232 pages
6" x 9" Softcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1042-9

Available in print, e-book, or print and e-book bundle




The Idaho Librarian, Vol 60, No 2 (2010)
Reviewed by Erica Littlefield

Would you like to learn how to read a book in 10 minutes? Do you need to put on  a storytime for adults? Are you interested in creating themed booklists? All these topics and more are covered in The Readers’ Advisory Handbook, a new book from the American Library Association, edited by Jessica E. Moyer and Katie Mediatore Stover.  Moyer and Stover have packed a lot of great information into this slim volume. The book’s twenty-two chapters are divided into five general subjects that each have a bearing on reader’s advisory: “Getting to Know Your Materials,” “Reviewing and Evaluating Materials,” “Marketing, Promoting, and Sharing Materials,” “Programming,” and “Expanding Readers’ Advisory Services.” The varied topics make the book useful for everyone from new librarians to seasoned library veterans.

My favorite chapter was the first one: Jessica Moyer’s “How to Read a Book in 10 Minutes.”  Librarians often develop their own personal method for “speed reading” so they can keep up with their collections and research in the field, but Moyer breaks the process down into eight basic steps. She also provides a worksheet to accompany the process. I just had to give her method a try, so I picked a random book off the shelf by an author I didn’t know. After walking through her ten-minute process, I was surprised at how much I remembered about the book.  


The other standout chapters include “Adult Storytime” by David Wright and “Passive Readers’ Advisory: Bookmarks, Booklists and Displays” by Lissa Staley. Wright’s tips for planning an adult storytime are spot-on. He details how to choose stories, gives pointers on the reading itself, and includes information on offering a storytime for teens. Staley’s chapter is particularly helpful because her information about creating bookmarks and brochures for readers’ advisory can also be applied to other things, like publicizing library services and events. Another helpful feature in the book is the inclusion of a list of resources at the end of most chapters.
Readers’ advisory is at the heart of what public libraries are all about, and this book is a great resource for librarians looking to beef up or refresh their reader’s advisory skills. This helpful new handbook will have appeal for any librarian who reviews and selects materials, works at a public service desk, or is responsible for library programming. A must for all public, school, and academic libraries.

Against the Grain, September 2010

The Readers' Advisory Handbook is mostly a series of workshop presentations and as a result the contents are short advice pieces, several of them by the editor Jessica Moyer.  Contributors understand readers' advisory as going beyond the quick, "Oh if you like Elizabeth Peters, you'll love Barbara Michaels" type advice to marketing, reviewing, and programming.  Paul Smith for instance, tells how to host authors events and Lissa Staley writes on kits for book groups, from assembling to circulation.  The presentations go beyond, in other words, traditional readers' advisory to public services.  Relatively new areas like graphic novels, audiobooks, and manga are covered as well as more tr4aditional reference - updated to include electronic sources.  Bobbi Newman takes readers' advisory into online realms without techno-babble.  The emphasis throughout the book is on practical advice for practicing librarians.  More extensive discussions can be found elsewhere, but nowhere, I believe, in such short compass in one source.  Each presentation includes references and Websites.  Some of the material is duplicated in other chapters as each stands alone.  Individually they can easily be devoured in one sitting and should get staff and student juices running.  The print cost is excessive for classroom user, but e-copies could substitute.  The Readers' Advisory Handbook is very suitable for small public and school libraries as well as larger - and could be stimulating for academic librarians!


Booklist The Readers' Advisory Corner, August 2010

As readers’ advisory matures, it involves much more than the act of matching a reader with a book. It encompasses a broader range of materials and library users and also informs the way materials are reviewed, selected, promoted, and used. There are books that lay out the core principles of reader’s advisory or that address a particular genre or the needs of a particular audience. This compilation fills a gap by presenting the full range of “skills, techniques, and practices” that now make up readers’-advisory service. It is divided into five parts: “Getting to Know Your Materials”; “Reviewing and Evaluating Materials”; “Marketing, Promoting, and Sharing Materials”; “Programming”; and “Expanding Readers’ Advisory Services.” Chapters authored by a number of familiar names (among others, Sue-Ellen Beauregard on reviewing audiobooks, Heather Booth on working with teens, Sarah Statz Cords on getting to know nonfiction, Lynne Welch on creating read-alikes, and David Wright on providing storytime for adults) join chapters by editors Moyer and Stover in providing a comprehensive guide. Several of the chapters contain samples and worksheets. A valuable addition to the growing readers’-advisory shelf. - Mary Ellen Quinn


VOYA October 2010

Today’s public libraries face ever-shrinking budgets, increasing the need for all staff to provide excellence in readers’ advisory. This new handbook from ALA Editions provides basic and advanced suggestions for public librarians that extend readers’ advisory to include programming, displays, and other ideas for improving circulation and services to all patrons.
The first section offers approaches to reading materials quickly in order to make recommendations to patrons. Variations of the “read a book in ten minutes” technique are offered for nonfiction, graphic novels, and even audiobooks. The middle section deals with writing annotations and reviews of text and digital materials. Two other sections handle promotion of materials within the collection. Finally, ideas for expanding services to different populations, including incarcerated youth and adult readers, form the basis of the concluding section. The tone of the chapters is informal and therefore very accessible. Worksheets at the end of some of the chapters will prove especially valuable for staff development. There are a few limitations, however. While the foreword indicates that the book will be of interest to both public and school librarians, there is little here specifically for school librarians. Some of the chapters could easily be collapsed; the technique of reading—actually skimming—books applies almost identically to fiction and nonfiction. Reviewing changes little from genre to genre as well. Some of the chapters include examples of annotations and reviews. These are helpful and instructive and should have been included in all chapters.—Teri S. Lesesne.


Library Journal August, 2010

This great generalist title offers guidelines not only on readers’ advisory (RA) but on related matters of collection development and marketing books to different reading audiences. Moyer (Research-Based Readers’ Advisory) and Stover (head, readers’ services, Kansas City P.L., MO) gather information and instruction from 15 contributing public and school librarians on self-education, managing and improving groups of selectors, making quick but thorough evaluations of different types of materials, writing reviews, and working with book groups as well as other kinds of programming. The information throughout focuses on the practical, such as “how to read a book in ten minutes.” VERDICT This title is appropriate for supervisors of RA librarians with collection development responsibilities in public or high school libraries serving larger populations. It is especially good for the busy librarian, who can dive into the most appropriate chapter, grab the pearls of wisdom, and emerge armed with real-world advice and a great new recommendation for the patron.—J. Sara Paulk






Table of Contents

Introduction: Jessica E. Moyer and Kaite Mediatore Stover

Part I    Getting to Know Your Materials

Chapter 1    How to Read a Book in Ten Minutes: Jessica E. Moyer Sample (pdf)

Chapter 2    Nonfiction Speed Dating: Sarah Statz Cords

Chapter 3    How to Listen to a Book in Thirty Minutes: Kaite Mediatore Stover

Chapter 4    How to Read a Graphic Novel in Five Minutes: Erin Downey Howerton

Chapter 5    Keeping Up: Genre Studies as Continuing Education: Lucy M. Lockley

Part II    Reviewing and Evaluating Materials

Chapter 6    Reviews and Annotations for Fiction and Nonfiction: Lynne Welch

Chapter 7    Reviewing Audiobooks: Sue-Ellen Beauregard

Chapter 8    How to Review Graphic Novels and Manga: Jessica Zellers

Chapter 9    Reviewing and Evaluating Reference Materials: Jessica E. Moyer

Part III    Marketing, Promoting, and Sharing Materials

Chapter 10    Passive Readers’ Advisory: Bookmarks, Booklists, and Displays: Lissa Staley

Chapter 11    Creating Themed Booklists: Lynne Welch

Chapter 12    Read-Alikes: Lynne Welch

Chapter 13    Book Group Kits: Lissa Staley

Chapter 14    Taking Readers’ Advisory Online: Bobbi Newman

Part IV    Programming

Chapter 15    Book Groups: Kay Sodowsky

Chapter 16    How to Host Author Events: Paul Smith

Chapter 17    Adult Storytime: David Wright

Part V    Expanding Readers’ Advisory Services

Chapter 18    Readers’ Advisory by Proxy for Teens: Heather Booth

Chapter 19    Readers’ Advisory for Older Adults: Alicia Ahlvers

Chapter 20    Readers’ Advisory for Incarcerated Populations: Kate Pickett and CJ Sullivan

Chapter 21    Suggesting Adult Books to Teen Readers: Jessica E. Moyer

Chapter 22    Suggesting Teen Books to Adult Readers: Heather Booth


About the Editors

Jessica E. Moyer has MS and CAS degrees from the University of Illinois, Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Currently she is a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities in the Literacy Education program. She has published articles in Reference and User Services Quarterly, New Library World, and the Libraries Unlimited Readers’ Advisor Newsletter, and she is the author of Research-Based Readers’ Advisory (American Library Association, 2008). An active member of ALA, Moyer is currently a member of the editorial boards for Reference and User Services Quarterly and Booklist’s Reference Books Bulletin and is chair of the 2010 RUSA Awards committee. She reviews fiction, audiobooks, reference books, and professional reading for Booklist and fiction for Library Journal.

Kaite Mediatore Stover is the head of readers’ services for the Kansas City (Missouri) Public Library. She holds a master’s degree in library science and a master’s degree in literature from Emporia (Kansas) State University. Stover is the “She Reads” columnist and an audiobook reviewer for Booklist, a contributing writer for NoveList, and has contributed articles to Reference and User Services Quarterly. She is active in ALA and has served on the Booklist Advisory Board, the PLA Readers’ Advisory Committee, the RUSA CODES Readers’ Advisory Committee, YALSA’s Alex Awards Committee, and the Sophie Brody Medal Committee. In 2003 she was named one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers.


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