Monday, April 1, 2013

Readers' Advisory When You're NOT Around

My library only staffs one YA Librarian & YA Lit Specialist - Me.  When I'm not there, the Adult &
Choose Your Experience Display
Children's Services staff are left to answer teen Readers' Advisory questions whether or not they have any knowledge of Teen Lit.. If your library is anything like mine, there are quite a few hours during the week that the branch is open but there is no YA Lit Specialist in the building.

To that end, I tend to create Reader's Advisory Displays to help both my teens and my co-workers when I'm not around!

What's a Reader's Advisory Display?
My displays vary depending on season, phase of the moon and my whims, but they do tend to fall into one of two categories: single theme & general YA Lit.  For example: In October I usually put together a display featuring creepy/monstrous reads, or I might focus on specifically "undead" titles.

What's the Difference Between a Regular Display & a Readers' Advisory Display?
Everyone is familiar with regular displays - you select books, maybe throw up a sign and let teens grab the books as they like.  The problem with these displays is that they often get picked over and can be hard to keep stocked.  The answer? Readers' Advisory posters! Several times a year I create/update Book Posters which I use to highlight books for a specific display. (This is also a good trick if your library does not have adequate table-top display space.)

My Book Posters are themed and generally feature at least 20 titles for teens, parents & staff to explore.  I make an effort to feature both older and newer titles as newer titles often have wait lists and I hate for teens to walk away empty-handed.  With a Readers' Advisory Display, even staff who are not YA Lit Specialists can help teens find a book they would enjoy.  So even when you are not in-branch, your teens are getting the suggestions they need to keep them reading!

Make a Poster, Make a Bookmark
If you decide to make Book Posters, I highly recommend creating a corresponding bookmark for your teens.  Many of my teens want multiple titles from one poster, but they don't remember titles well and that can become a problem as you rotate your Readers' Advisory Display.  With a Readers' Advisory Bookmark teens can easily find the titles that were of interest on the poster.  Another advantage of bookmarks is that you can often fit more titles on a bookmark than a poster, which means more Readers' Advisory!

If you are interested in using my Book Posters & Bookmarks, they are for non-commercial, library or school use only and can be found here.