August 20th, 2013 9:00 AM
September 16th, 2013 4:00 PM
  • Do you find yourself recommending the same book, or few books, over and over when a library user asks for suggestions?
  • When approached by someone who wants to hear about good books in a genre you don't know or appreciate, do you go looking for a staff member who does?
  • Have you been asked to take charge of a book group or a display area meant to attract all kinds of adult readers?
  • With so many websites about books and reading available, how can you choose the best ones to share with your library's most engaged readers?

Advising adults on what book to read next is a skill that requires library staff to step outside their own comfort zones as readers. There are lots of tools and methods to assist you in this work and this course will introduce you to such valuable resources as:

  • Readers' advisory interview techniques
  • Appeal factors in fiction and nonfiction
  • Maintaining a reading log as your own custom built tool
  • Learning from print and online readers advice
  • Recognizing coworkers and community members as collaborators in readers advisory
  • Empowering your community members with opportunities to advise you
  • Measuring user satisfaction in readers advisory services
  • Developing individual and group reading plans

In this course, you will keep a reading log that can become a constant resource to you as an advisor. You will also have access to other learners' skills and ideas about books, reading and advising, through assignments and weekly discussions. You will learn how readers' advisory work is a value-added service your library can and should provide, and how it differs from the advise readers receive from friends, family, bookstores, and other resources. Becoming a trained readers' advisor will increase your comfort with fielding requests that are beyond your own reading tastes and interests. This course will also provide the opportunity for you to become more familiar with a larger portion of your community that will help you reach reluctant library users.

Course Description: This four-week online course will provide you with the opportunity to become comfortable with the fundamentals of readers' advisory work, appeal factor theory as it is applied to both fiction and nonfiction, how to build your own tools for working with local readers, and ways to achieve a better understanding of your adult reading community. Through assignments and discussions you will learn about best practices in interviewing, genres, passive and active reading promotions for adults, and working with adults who have language or access issues that require something different than your general collection. You will construct and maintain a reading log that can be continued through your career as a readers' advisor. The instructor will provide resources, best practices, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied to your local readers' advisory work immediately.

During the course, you will maintain a reading log and participate in other weekly assignments. You will also participate in discussion forums and online meetings as part of the online learning process.

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: Readers' Advisory Basics: What and Why
    • The readers' advisory interview
    • Where adult readers find advice
    • Appeal factor theory
    • Collection depth as a library value
    • Genres
  • Week 2: Readers' Advisory Venues: Offline and Online
    • Library finding tools such as the online catalog
    • Displays and other passive in-building readers' advisory
    • Book clubs and other active, in-building programs
    • Building and maintaining a reading advice library site
    • Measuring community satisfaction in readers' advisory service
  • Week 3: Readers' Advisory Tools to Know and Maintain
    • Traditional readers' advisory print resources and publishers
    • Readers' advisory databases
    • Evaluating reading oriented websites
    • Building and maintaining core readers' advisory knowledge to capacity
  • Week 4: Developing Your Library and Community Readers
    • Community approaches to readers' advisory work
    • Developing the perception of the library as facilitator for user-created content
    • Developing a plan of readers' advisory service that includes services for those with print disabilities and/or non-English literacy skills

Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend two and a half hours per week, for a total of 10 course hours. Each week's module contains readings and assignment options (among which you will have some ability to choose and still earn course credit) as well as discussions; there will be two online meetings scheduled during the course. You can choose the assignments and discussions most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.

Who Should Take This Course: Any library staff interested in developing or improving their readers' advisory skills and awareness of readers' advisory tools and methods targeted to adult readers. This course is appropriate for support staff who perform readers' advisory work with adult readers. Infopeople's Children's Services Fundamentals and Teen Services Fundamentals courses provide readers' advisory training for staff working with youth populations. This Readers' Advisory Fundamentals course is a beginning course and has no prerequisites. Infopeople also offers a more advanced readers' advisory course for those comfortable with the basic skills covered here and who want to carry readers' advisory services into multiple and diverse formats of material types.

Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC): This course, in combination with Infopeople's Beyond Books: Advanced Readers' Advisory course (offered annually), is approved as covering the Adult Readers' Advisory competencies for the LSSC program. Both courses must be taken to meet the competency set. LSSC logo

Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at:

Payment: Your invoice will be emailed to the email address of the person who completed the registration. If that is not the person paying the invoice please forward invoice to the appropriate person. Payment is due within 30 days. If you have any questions about your invoice or payment please contact Gini Ambrosino at [email protected]

Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday August 20, 2013.

After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.

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