May 25, 2018

Readers’ advisory and the Great American Read

Of course I tuned in to the premiere of The Great American Read -- I’m a librarian! I haven’t yet voted (so many books have meaning to me, it's hard to choose between them!) and I’m also trying to assuage the inevitable librarian guilt that I haven’t read XYZ title.

But! Summer is a great time for reading and the silver lining: I now have an impressive TBR pile. Since it is summertime, and librarians everywhere are gearing up for their version of a summer reading program, why not incorporate The Great American Read into your readers’ advisory and programming work? Here are 5 ideas to get you jump-started:

Create a display“I don’t like to come to the desk to ask for a book to read.” Every reader likes a display and why not benefit from the great books on the list as your source? As we saw on the premiere, there are natural groupings to be made -- authors who rose from obscurity; books that are lucky to have seen the light of day; books paired with the author/celebrity who recommended them. Have some fun! (Psst! LibraryAware customers can use our Great American Read templates to create a display sign).

Print out the list. “I need book suggestions but I’m in a hurry/I want to keep track of the books I read.” Make it easy for your patrons and increase your circulation -- a great two-fer. NoveList librarians (and your patrons) can find these lists by typing Great American Read into the search box then clicking on the Lists & Articles Tab. You’ll find the entire list. Print and share!

Hold an impromptu book club. “I like to talk about the books I read and get ideas for others to read.” The books on the list represent such a variety of genres and tones -- great fodder for discussion! Some angles to try: Love it/Hate it; What book would your favorite author vote for; XYZ book should/should not have made it onto the list and why. Want other discussion ideas? Subscribe to our Club Scene newsletter for suggestions. We’ve also got a great page on all of NoveList’s book club help, so be sure to check that out.

Take the quiz. Take the quiz and have your colleagues take it, too. It’s a fun way to incorporate book conversations into readers’ advisory as you defend your choices to each other. Invite your patrons to take the quiz and write their comments on stickies that you leave on the books for other readers.

Tweet your vote. Vote early, vote often! Both colleagues and patrons can have fun voting and talking about the books that made the cut for them. Even better, post your results to social media. Sharing is infectious and what better way to stimulate readers to come to the library to get the book you tweeted about? Voting hashtags found here.

Happy summer! Keep reading.

Kathy Stewart is a NoveList Consultant. 

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