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The Readers' Advisory Interview

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Tara Bannon

on 12 August 2016

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Transcript of The Readers' Advisory Interview

RA is for everyone.
Anyone who interacts with customers should feel empowered to initiate and actively participate in these conversations.
The customer gives you clues in their answers to your questions.
Listen for appeal terms.
Watch for body language cues.
Ask clarifying questions
When you say Horror - do you mean ghosts, "Don't open that door!," serial killers or something else?
No matter how busy you are, give the customer your full attention and
If you suggest one they've already read, you're on the right track!
Put the customer at ease!
The Big Picture
The point of the RA conversation is to connect with your readers. While offering suggestions is important, what is most important is letting the reader know that the library is a place where they are welcome and encouraged to talk about what they are reading (listening and viewing) and to explore other selections that may fit their mood.

RA conversations should be ongoing. Part of the goal is to establish a connection with your readers so they come back again and again to talk about what they are enjoying.
Always end each conversation with an invitation to return and talk about books whenever the reader wants.

- Neal Wyatt
Conversation Starters
and you!
The Readers' Advisory Interview
It's a conversation!
Anytime you recommend a title to someone, that's RA!
You can initiate the RA conversation when someone places a hold, returns a book or just looks bored!
Customers are often reluctant to initiate this conversation for a variety of reasons.
You already know how to do this!
Are you finding what you are looking for?
Would you like to leave with a book today?
What's the last book you read that you loved? Why?
What's a book that you read that you hated? Why?
What are you in the mood for?
What do you like reading about?
Ask open ended questions that require more than a Yes or No.
Jumping in!
It's okay to be nervous.
Shooting buckshot. Not a sniper.
Suggest instead of recommend.
Suggest multiple titles. I like 3. Choice is important. Try a variety of formats.
Place a book in a customer's hand.
Use a balance of the computer and simply walking around pulling books off the shelf.
Never stop asking questions.
On a scale of 1-10 how girly do you want your book to be?
Ask customer to hang out a minute and run around grabbing items or chitchat while searching on the computer
Know Your Tools
Polaris *
Amazon *
KDL What's Next
Bookmarks *
Your Colleagues
The Advisory Email Group
Google "X" Readalikes *
Displays including Staff Picks
Walk the library floor
Readers Advisory blogs, articles, etc
How it goes:
You might enjoy Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. It is fast-paced and thought-provoking. It is a witty mix of Literary Fiction and Science Fiction in a contemporary setting.
So You Haven't Read it?
No one expects you to have read everything.
Tell them what you've heard or read about it.
It's important to get past your own personal experiences.
Remember, we're not promising anything.
Give them permission not to read it too.
Continually scan your environment for clues to trends.
How to read a book in 5 minutes
Full transcript