Readers' Advisory Interview

Readers’ advisory interview

The readers’ advisory interview uses the same welcoming behaviors as the reference interview. Approachability is the key. Use appropriate body language and make sure patrons understand you have time to talk books and reading with them.

The open question varies in the readers’ advisory interview from the reference interview. In the readers’ advisory interview, you are trying to engage the patron in a conversation that elicits a broad set of information about their reading interests and habits. The two phrases you can use are:

“Tell me about a book you read that you really enjoyed” or

“Tell me the story of the last book you enjoyed”

These will elicit the information you need from the patron to appropriately suggest books that match their needs and interests. Here are some categories to watch for as you try to gauge and match their interests.

Readers enjoy books for many reasons. Some become connected to a particular type of story or genre. Some enjoy one genre, such as mysteries, but only if they are set in a particular country, such as English mysteries. They may need a particular setting, such as mountains or small towns, or need a particular subject in the background, such as horseracing, to pique their interest.

Almost all readers go through periods of change in their reading habits as they move through life. Assuming that your regular patrons only want one type of reading material year after year limits them and you in achieving their reading goals.

Some of the best ways to improve your skills in readers’ advisory are to keep a record of your own reading, browse the new book shelves and best seller lists regularly, and set a goal of doing at least one readers’ advisory interview each reference shift.

Go to Hints and Tips for Readers' Advisory.

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This page was last updated on September 16, 2003.