19 November 2006

Read On! - An update from Marita

At last Thursday’s Network/PD Day we neglected to give the group an update on our readers’ advisory initiative, launched at an after school meeting on 9th November. The “plan” (in its most flexible sense) is to start with course materials provided by the good people at NoveList (part of our EBSCO database suite) and develop our own local context support materials.

Readers’ advisory is that part of our role where we assist students to discover reading which matches their wants. Like the reference interview, it is a specialised interaction and a good opportunity to practice one of our great potential strengths: the human touch. Stephen Abram in Waiting for your cat to bark – Competing with Google and its Ilk, Part 3 suggests the following summary of where opportunity lies for libraries:
Librarians aren’t just about search; we’re about improving the quality of the question. End users are about “find and discover.” We need to be clear on that. If we focus on search, we are focusing on Google’s best game. If we focus on the question, the human touch, and overall customer experience, then we will not only survive, we’ll thrive.
And, of course, in schools readers’ advising skills have relevance for teacher librarians, library assistants and classroom teachers.

RA-101 Lite
The course materials provided are based on sound principles developed from research and practice. However, most examples are about adult users and the references used are not Australian. Thus the need for local content.

RA-101, full version, was a joint project of EBSCO’s NoveList and the St. Louis Public Library, Minnesota. It grew out of a manual called Talking With Readers: A Workbook for Readers’ Advisory, by Duncan Smith and Suzanne Mahmoodi, Ipswich, Mass.: Ebsco, 2000, which is available from NoveList as a PDF file for subscribers. (Readers’ Advisory tab.)

Talking With Readers was developed using action research, but that is another (very interesting) story!

Thanks to Frances Manning we have a wiki space and a good name for our context building exercise. When you go to Read-On! Click on “Manage Space” to see who has joined (about five so far). Contact a member and and ask them to send you an invitation to join. (Also done from Manage Space by a member). The space is evolving and contributions are eagerly awaited.

Finally another quote from Stephen Abrams' article:
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Let’s be clear – that’s too long term – we need to do something now.

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