Redefining the Reader: New Techniques and Technologies for Readers' Advisory Service
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
Tuesday February 16, 2010 – Monday March 15, 2010
What does it mean to provide readers' advisory services when recreational reading is evolving from page to screen? Traditional readers' advisory services matched reader needs and interests to the "next best book." To stay relevant and reader-centered now means examining how reader needs and interests are changing, especially as readers are able to interact with creative content in ways that weren't possible with static print.
In this course you will:
- Review the fundamentals of readers' advisory services
- Explore new techniques and technologies to meet evolving reader needs and interests
- Discover innovative readers' advisory services and programs at other libraries
- Look at social catalogs as readers' advisory tools
- Become comfortable with multi-format readers' advisory
You'll be able to expand the reach of your library's readers' advisory services by creating physical and virtual spaces for readers and establishing partnerships with reader affinity groups. By working as a team inside the library, and harnessing the power of partnerships outside the library, you will be able to position your library as the best resource for its community of current and future readers.
Course Description: During this four-week online course you will gain a clear and up-to-date understanding of readers' advisory service, taking a snapshot of how it is currently provided at your library as well as examining new service models in other libraries. While reviewing the best practices of a readers' advisory interview, you'll be encouraged to think about how to apply these in online environments. Through background reading, assignments, handouts, and discussions, you will become familiar with essential tools, and useful techniques and technologies that can be applied immediately to enhance service. An online meeting will feature a readers' services innovator exploring new definitions of "reader." In the last week of the course, you will design a practical readers' services program targeting a specific group in the community served by your library.
Two weeks before the course begins, you'll be asked to begin a log of your own casual reading to continue through the course. The log should note titles and authors as well as any pertinent details you think might help you retrieve reading suggestions in the future.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: What, Why, How, When, Where and Who: Providing Value-Added Services to Your Community's Readers
- What is readers' advisory?
- Why does or should your library participate in defining and offering reader and media enthusiast advice?
- Where should your library invest its resources to aid readers in search of advice?
- How can library staff help avid readers become better informed about their own tastes and options?
- Week 2: New Readers' Advisory Models for Reaching Individual Readers
- Technology used by libraries to extend advisory reach
- Innovative initiatives developed by public and school libraries in the U.S. and abroad
- Potential partners in the local community and beyond
- Virtual and physical libraries as meeting places for readers
- Week 3: Diversifying What "Reader" Means
- Staff awareness and skill building in areas of reader development
- Critical concerns for listeners, visual readers, and narrative hounds who aren't just readers
- Multi-format advising models from libraries and other organizations
- Social catalogs and local reading communities
- Week 4: Programming to Reach Reader Affinity Groups
- Reaching beyond service to individuals to serving larger groups
- Book discussion groups
- Community reads
- Cross generational programming around reading and books
- Creating readers by encouraging writers
- Remote programming
Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 3 hours per week. You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night. However, it is recommended that you complete each week's assignments within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Any library staff who are interested in developing or improving their readers' advisory skills and awareness of new RA initiatives targeted to adult readers. (Readers' advisory skills for serving children and teens are covered in other Infopeople online courses.) This course is appropriate for support staff who have readers' advisory responsibilities.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday February 16, 2010.
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