So Many Books, So Little TimeSo many books, so little time

How many times have you seen this logo on a t-shirt, coffee mug or flipping through library promotional catalogues— So Many Books, So Little Time?”  My heart starts racing, my palms get sweaty, and I immediately feel like a bibliophile that’s lost her way.  Then I pull myself back to reality knowing that even librarians who are voracious readers know that they can’t read everything.  Perhaps that is why some librarians shy away from doing active readers’ advisory (RA).

We are most enthusiastic about the authors and titles that have become our personal favorites, but what about the “great reads” we might have missed along the way or the one that might be published next month?  We all know that all books do not appeal to all readers.  So what does that mean for us as readers’ advisors?  It means we must continually expand our “reading” horizons. 

Know Your Collection

That doesn’t mean that we have to read every book that we suggest, put in a book display, feature in our newsletters, place on read-alike lists or bookmarks, or purchase for our library collections.  What it does mean, however, is that becoming familiar with your collection makes you so much more prepared to assist your patrons in making the right reading connection for them.

RA Leaders

In the last couple of decades some truly inspirational readers’ advisory specialists have emerged.  This leadership is provided by the likes of Joyce Saricks, Neal Wyatt, Barry Trott, Duncan Smith, Mary K. Chelton, Nancy Pearl, and Georgine Olson whom have all made an enormous impact on how we deliver readers’ advisory services in our libraries.  They have authored books and articles that inspire us to take a chance and try something new. 

Reading a Book in Ten Minutes

Today there are so many resources and tools to help us do a better job at matching readers with books (audiobooks or DVDs).  Georgine Olson has developed one of the best “speed reading methods” to help us become more familiar with our collections. 

Most of us peruse the cart of newly processed books and read the jacket blurbs before shelving acquisitions.  Go one step further –try Georgine’s method of reading a novel in ten minutes.  Watch how it improves your familiarity with books when you don’t have the time to read each and every one.  Reading a book in ten minutes is no substitute for actually reading the book, but it is a reasonable method of gaining a better knowledge of your collection.  Use her form to keep track of your speed reading.  Encourage others in your library to try this method too.  Share your “reading” experiences with each other.  With a little effort you will broaden your knowledge and your patrons will be the beneficiaries!

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