Interactive Reader’s Advisory: Flow Chart Display


Once upon a time I woke up with an idea for a display. A huge flow chart that took up an entire wall, and asked readers questions about their reading preferences. As they worked their way down the chart, they would have to decide for themselves what kind of book they wanted to read, and eventually would find themselves at an envelope with a booklist. This week I was able to make that display a reality at The Cambridge Idea Exchange!

I love reader’s advisory tools that ask the users to make decisions for themselves about what they want to read. Not only does it help them find a great new book, but it helps them figure out what they like, and why they like it. Maybe there’s someone out there who thinks they will only ever love fantasy novels – they jumped on the Harry Potter train early and they don’t see any reason to get off. Maybe after asking themselves some questions about why they like what they like, they’ll realize that what they really love is emotional character-driven story lines with dark plot twists and moral undertones. A whole new world of books is open  to them. Similar to my YA personality test, this display is passive (doesn’t require staff supervision), yet still very interactive for the patron.

DSCN1663Something extra I decided to add was a “Personalized Book Suggestions” form on the back of each booklist. I also set up an online form, and posted a QR code on the display. I see this as a trial version of a service I would like to expand.

Also, attaching related images to each envelope was a last minute decision after a brainstorming session with a coworker, and I’m so glad I did it! They really make the chart pop.

Questions and Answers

Are you looking for something realistic or fantastical? (Realistic, please / Uh yeah. Fantasy)

  • Do you want to read something super intense? (Um, no. / YES.)
    • A tear jerker or a nail biter? (I’m ready to cry / nail biter for sure)
      • Heartbreak or tough life situations? (Heartbreaking actually / Drama and struggles)
      • Thrilling or mysterious? (I love Sherlock / The more suspense the better)
    • Lovey dovey or not? (If I read about one more love triangle I’m going to lose it! / Lovey dovey please!)
      • Adorable or Scandalous? (ABORBS PLZ / Bring on the scandal)
      • Inspirational or hilarious? (I’m ready to LOL / I’m ready to be inspired)
    • Do you want to read something serious or silly? (The sillier the better / Serious.)
      • Are you into Dystopias? (Yes, Katniss is my BFF / No thanks)
        • Love story or political? (If I read about one more love triangle I am going to throw up / Love stories are great!)
        • Aliens or Dragons? (Dragons…or at least dragony type things / Aliens and planets and space and awesome!)
          • Harry Potter or Batman? (Accio magic books / Superheroes FTW!)
        • Graphic Novels or Novels? (I’ll give graphic novels a try / Traditional novels for me thanks)

Flow Chart Booklists

Personalized Book Suggestions Form
Questions and Answers

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If you decide to use my resources, or make your own flow chart, let me know and send a photo! What other passive but interactive reader’s advisory displays have you tried?

*Edit: Since this post I’ve created 2 new Flow Chart Displays: Try a New Type of Book and Meet Your Next Literary BFF.

Flow Chart Displays Abroad!

I love to hear about other libraries adapting these resources. Three librarians from the States have done a beautiful job incorporating the Flow Chart display into their spaces.

Young Adult Librarian, Bonnie Svitavsky added the flow chart to a large, horizontal space in the Puyallup Public Library (WA) Teen Zone. I love how it looks webbed out in different directions, and the addition of cat photos to the envelopes.


Librarian Chrissy Lewin tweaked the lists to fit her collection at a Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School in New Haven, CT. Thanks for sharing, looks great!


 from Metro Library adapted the flow chart into a 3D display! I love how the reader is lead directly to a book instead of a book list. 

6 thoughts on “Interactive Reader’s Advisory: Flow Chart Display

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