“Readers’ advisory” is a term that no one out outside of the library profession probably uses. Most of us don’t really like it either – it kind of sounds like we’re warning people away from books, when in fact it’s the opposite; we’re giving advice based on readers’ individual preferences to help connect people with books we think they’ll love. But we have yet to come up with a replacement term, so “readers’ advisory” it is. (Please, if you have a better idea, leave a comment!)
While the name might be uninspired, the different approaches can be wildly creative. Here are a few methods of readers’ advisory we’ve found other libraries or bookish websites offering:
- Show us your tattoo and we’ll recommend a book for you: The public library in Portland, Oregon will recommend books based on your tattoos! And you don’t have to be there in person – you can send a picture on Twitter and get a recommendation back.
- Do you like Pokemon and YA literature (a.k.a. teen books)? The site Forever Young Adult pairs Pokemon characters with books.
- The New York Public Library offers staff picks every season, and you can choose from among them using their unique descriptors (e.g. Atmospheric, Haunting, Love Stories, Upbeat, World-Building).
- In a similar vein, NPR offers its Book Concierge, a guide to hundreds of “great books” each year since 2008, and many unique filters to narrow down the options (e.g. Book Club Ideas, Eye-Opening Reads, Rather Long, Rather Short, Science!).
- Do you really love TV, but feel like maybe you should read a book now and then? Try these “10 Books That Read Like Your Favorite TV Shows” from Literary Hoots. Robbins Library librarians also have “readalike” suggestions for TV shows and movies.
As you may have gathered by now, most librarians are book lovers and we really, really enjoy helping people find books they will love. However, we can’t help you with the next problem…too many books, too little time!