Focus on Passive Reader's Advisory To Build Patron Engagement

Libraries are known for in-person Reader's Advisory (RA) services. However, librarians and library workers worldwide are dealing with extraordinary "other duties as assigned". These duties include retrofitting libraries to keep staff and patrons safe from Covid-19, creating new service delivery models, and managing budget changes; all while keeping the public and governing bodies happy. Whatever other duties you are currently assigned, patrons miss in-person RA. Focus on passive RA to build patron engagement during these remarkable times.

Reading Lists. Create short half paged themed reading lists by frequently asked for genres like cozy mysteries, inspirational romances, staff picks, books-to-movies, read-a-like authors, or popular television shows based on books.

You know your patrons best! Focus on the types of books YOUR patrons request the most.

Pro Tip: You can print your recommendations and keep them handy at your circulation desk, add one or two suggestions to your newsletters, or post your lists online for your virtual patrons.

Highlight your collection. Tie your book lists to your collection; include hidden gems. This technique can give your low circulating titles a boost. Do your patrons love remodeling shows like Fixer Upper & Flip-or Flop? Create a list highlighting your DIY and decorating sections. How about cooking shows like Master Chef or Cupcake Wars? Feed your patrons' inner foodie with a cookbook RA list!

Make Displays. People need to see something an average of SEVEN times to remember it. Use your reading lists to make attractive book displays. Photograph your exhibits and post it to your website and social media.

Pro Tip: Link your social media posts to your online booklists.

Utilize FREE Online Resources. There are tons of websites dedicated to helping readers find their next book. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started. Share these links with your virtual patrons by adding them to your website and social media. Save them to your favorites list in your browser for quick reference at the circulation desk.

One of my go-to sites is KDL What's Next Database. You can look up any author and see their entire collection by series. This resource is great if an author has multiple series like James Patterson. If you need to know what's next, use this database.

Good Reads If you are looking for lists of books and don't want to create an account, the home page has booklists for everyone. Click on a list and find your next read!

If you have an account, it can suggest books that you might like based on books that you have read. Is your To Be Read list getting out of control? Do what I do. Save titles that you want to read here!

What Should I Read Next is simple to use. If you don't want to create an account, click on a category on the home page. You get a list of the top 20 most popular books in that genre.

Surprisingly, I use Instagram to find new books to read. Authors, publishers, and other book lovers post beautiful cover covers, timely book lists, and reviews. Your favorite author may follow or recommend another author that writes similar books.

To tie up, create short book lists. Focus on what's popular with your patrons.