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Magical Readers Database

Readers Advisory (RA) is one of the many skills that library professionals possess. This skill focuses on helping someone discover their next book or connecting people with books they love. Readers Advisory is much less an interview and much more a conversation; asking open-ended questions and knowing what to ask is a high priority. There is absolutely a correlation between reading for pleasure and learning. I have always felt this way and would even say that reading for pleasure promotes learning because we can retain what we enjoy far more than something dry and uninteresting; that is why living books, books written in a narrative or conversational style by an author who is passionate about the subject, are much more appealing to students than textbooks. They are enjoyable and, therefore, clear the path for improved retention.

Making booklists, understanding genres and subgenres, roaming the stacks, and pretending to straighten books to strike up a conversation with a patron to inquire if they might need help looking for something are excellent tactics librarians utilize. Librarians strive to consider the emotional facet involved as we utilize the tools mentioned in RA. Making sure that no judgment is cast, whether verbally or in the body language exhibited, is also a top priority. Though I have rarely come across a librarian who is not eager to help, it could potentially destroy the relationship between the patron and the librarian, as well as the relationship the patron has with literature itself, if a librarian were to respond with disdain, or behave as though a patron were interrupting them when asking for a book suggestion.

So, where is a good place to find a digital RA tool on the internet? My favorite to utilize is NoveList ( NoveList is a great database that can be accessed through any library, whether an Academic, Public, or K-12 School. NoveList is a book recommendation database designed by librarians to provide more expertise for library patrons.

Some of the features of NoveList are:

  • Search by genre, theme, subject, and other specific keywords if your patrons are looking for recommendations.

  • Recommendations for "like" titles and authors. If you have a reader who has impressively run through all of Agatha Christie's works, for example, NoveList has a feature that can help them discover authors and books that are similar in pace, tone, and subject matter, as well as voice and writing style.

  • They cover audiobooks.

  • They offer what they call "BookChat," which provides real-time answers in a discussion board format when you are looking for recommendations.

  • They list the whole series of books, not just specific and/or popular titles.

  • They have regional lists as well.

Here is a YouTube link to a quick NoveList tutorial created by Charles County Public Library.

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