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Unisa's Partner Public Libraries: Readers' Advisory Services

This guides provides information and resources relevant to the Unisa Public Partner Libraries who serve Unisa students as well as members in their community

Readers' Advisory Services

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The public and community library plays a significant role in the community. There is a major role for the library in the individuals's use of leisure time, whether it be to provide information or entertainment. To meet the needs of both adults, teenagers and children who read for pleasure, a readers' advisory service is a valuable asset for the library.

Readers' advisory is the process of matching readers with books or content and visa versa. It deals with both fiction and non-fiction content and a specific request may require a combination of formats, for example, books, e-Books,  audio-books,articles, dvds and the like to meet the need. 

The task of the readers' advisor is to suggest titles, as opposed to recommending titles. Patrons should be given what they want and what they are comfortable with and not what the library staff think they should have. 

A common question is "Do you have more books like this one?"

Other types of request may include:

  • determining the name of a novel on which a certain film is based
  • identifying the author who wrote a book featuring a certain character
  • determining the order of a series
  • finding novels about a certain time period or in a particular genre
  • finding biographies about a certain person.

What is important is that just as in reference service all library staff must remember that reader's advisory work involves ethical decisions. Every request - reference or readers' advisory, from an adult to a child - should be handled by library staff with equal respect and diligence. 

Sourced from:  Readers' Advisory Service 

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