Rethinking readers' advisory

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/20/2014


Dan Freeman

eLearning Manager

ALA Publishing

ALA Publishing

CHICAGO ALA Editions announces a new iteration of its popular eCourse Rethinking Readers’ Advisory: An Interactive Approach. Rebecca Howard and Laura Raphael will serve as instructors for a six-week facilitated eCourse, starting on July 7, 2014.

Form-based readers’ advisory moves beyond traditional methods such as general book lists, open-ended interviews and counter displays, allowing librarians to develop RA services that are more efficient and responsive to library users' needs. In this eCourse, you’ll go in-depth and learn all about this exciting RA model, from start (getting administrative and staff buy-in) to finish (building forms and training staff members).

After participating in this eCourse, you will be able to:

  • identify the challenges of traditional RA;
  • describe benefits of form-based RA;
  • understand how to assess your library’s capacity for this service and garner support from library leadership;
  • describe the key elements of an effective RA form;
  • understand the terms readers use when describing what kinds of books they enjoy;
  • describe the competencies of an effective RA team member;
  • list RA resources available to assist in development of reading guides;
  • identify important aspects of personalized reading guides;
  • consider a variety of special situations and issues that may arise when offering a form-based RA service.

eCourse outline

Week 1: History of Form-Based RA and the Decision to try it at Your Library
Week 1 will include an overview of form-based RA—its history, benefits, and implications for staff and readers—as well as a discussion of how to propose this service to library leadership.

Week 2: Crafting the Form
In week 2, you will develop a form that will be most effective for your team and your community of readers.

Week 3: Selecting and Training the Team
Week 3 addresses the “who” of the service—how to select and train a stellar RA team for this work.

Week 4: Creating the Guide
In Week 4, you will determine what your final product will involve and the elements it should include as well as an explore the various RA resources available for guidance.

Week 5: Organizing and Marketing the Service
In week 5, you'll learn how to keep the project running smoothly—how to organize and promote your service for optimal results.

About the Instructors

Rebecca Howard worked as a copywriter for an ad agency and wrote grants for a local HIV/AIDS social service agency before going back to graduate school. In 2003, she began working at the Tulsa City-County Library for the Adult Literacy Service and completed a Master’s in Human Relations followed by a Master’s in Library and Information Studies. While in the Literacy department, she started book discussion and creative writing groups for adult new readers, developed a writing curriculum for adult learners, contributed to statewide training modules for volunteer literacy tutors and participated in a national “promising practices” project on nonprofit management and accountability. As a Readers’ Librarian, she coordinates “Your Next Great Read,” is a regular contributor to the blog Reading Addict, and develops and supports Readers’ Library programming. An ALA member, she also belongs to the Social Responsibilities Roundtable and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Roundtable.

Laura Raphael is an associate librarian with the Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) with more than 10 years' public library experience. She has written for Library JournalPublic LibrariesMarketing Library Services and American Libraries. In 2011, she received the Community Leadership Award from the Oklahoma Humanities Council for co-creating and coordinating “Novel Talk: Smart conversations for serious readers,” a series of literature-based programs for TCCL.

Registration for this ALA Editions facilitated eCourse, which begins on July 7, can be purchased at the ALA Store. Participants in this course will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message board participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (MP3 files) and downloading and viewing PDF and PowerPoint files.

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