We all know about Passive Reader’s Advisory: booklists, displays, posters. Book suggestions that our patrons can browse on their own time. These are extremely valuable tools to librarians – we can’t be everywhere at once after all!
I, and most librarians, believe that a reference interview is usually the best way to match a reader up with a suitable book. Sure they want a thriller, but are they hesitant at the mention of romance, can they handle a bit of paranormal, do they hate long descriptive passages? There are limitless variables like these, which are vital to matching readers with their perfect story. Sometimes they are as subtle as furrowed brow or a twinkling eye. And that’s why computers will never replace librarians.
That being said, there are “Passive” advisory options that are a little more interactive than a static booklist. Interactive Reader’s Advisory options are self-directed tools that require patron participation. Even though we can’t always be there in person, we can create entertaining tools that lead the patron through a series of questions. One of the most valuable parts of a Reader’s Advisory experience is helping the patron realize why they like what they like, and why they hate what they hate. By asking the right questions, we can teach patrons how to conduct reader’s advisory on themselves.
Examples of Interactive Readers Advisory
1. PlayBuzz Quiz
During my MLIS I did a project on personality tests, and created an online quiz called Which YA Novel Should You Read Next? The online personality quiz and summary is available in a previous post, and a downloadable PDF version of the quiz is available here.
2. TryInteract Quiz
Recently I’ve created 2 personality quizzes for the Cambridge Idea Exchange website. One for teens: Which Beauty Queens Character Are You? And one for adults: Which Contemporary Canadian Author Are You? I used the quiz-making website TryInteract for these two – it is totally customizable, free, embeddable, and allows for linking back to the library catalog. The quizzes ask fun questions such as: What are you most likely to be doing on a Saturday Afternoon, Choose a fashion item, and What is your favourite word? In the results I created a short personality quiz style write-up about the quiz-taker, included a result image, a quote from the book, and a link to the library catalog. Users can easily share their results on social media. Try them out for yourself below!
3. Interactive Flow Chart Displays
Interactive Flow Charts are giant wall-sized displays. Patrons follow the chart, answering a series of questions about their reading preferences. At the end of the chart they are directed to an envelope with a booklist that fulfills all of their answers. I’ve uploaded the resources to create What YA Genre Should You Read Next flow chart and Try A New Type Of Book flow chart.
What are your favourite Readers Advisory Personality Quizzes?