Since my first Flow Chart Display at the Clemens Mill branch of the Idea Exchange has been hanging on the wall for a couple months now, I thought it was about time to design a new one. Patrons stand in front of the wall, and answer a series of bright (and sometimes sassy!) questions about themselves / their reading preferences. At the end of the flow chart they reach into their resulting envelope and pull out a booklist that suits their tastes. Last time I did 16 different genres of YA books. This time I did 8 different types of books: anything but the typical fiction novel.
This type of interactive readers’ advisory display challenges patrons to think critically about why they like what they like. It also challenges them to expand their perception of what constitutes reading for pleasure – some patrons will end up trying a format they’ve never heard of before (playaways), a format they’ve previously held a stigma against (graphic novels or picture books), a format they totally forgot about (Choose Your Own Adventure novels) or a format they didn’t think could be enjoyable (non-fiction). My job is to get people excited about reading, and I think introducing them to surprising formats is an effective approach. Especially if they made a series of decisions on their own that resulted in that surprise.
The different types of booklists included in my display are:
- Graphic Novels
- Picture Book
- Interactive Books / Choose Your Own Adventure
- Non Fiction Stories
- Short Stories
- Novel In Verse
The series of questions leading to those booklists are:
- Are you interested in reading Non-Fiction? (Um, no. / Sure.)
- Would you rather read something funny, or something enlightening? (Make me laugh / Teach me something!)
- Do poems bother you at all? (Ugh poems make my skin crawl. / Nope, free verse is the bomb.)
- How do you feel about art with your stories? (I feel great about it! / Not this time.)
- Do you want something complex, or beautifully simple? (Complex! Complex! / Hm. I’ll try the simplicity thing.)
- Do you want a type of book you’ve probably forgotten about, or a type you’ve never heard of before? (Blast from the past. / SOMETHING NEW!)
- Are you sure about this. (Yes! DO IT! / NO, ABORT ABORT!)
The back of each booklist provides a link to our online personalized book suggestions form, which patrons can fill out to receive a personalized list of suggestions.
Free Downloadable Display Resources
Want to put it up at your library? Go for it! I’ve uploaded all the resources needed below. Just make sure you send me pictures, and give me credit.
- Flow Chart Questions and Answers
- Flow Chart Questions ONLY
- Try a New Book Lists
- Which Type of Book Should You Read Next Title
- UPDATE: Online PDF version of the flow chart with clickable links to book lists
What interactive reader’s advisory displays have you tried at your library?