My name is Jessica Brown and I’m a Student Representative with the BCLA Readers Advisory Group. I’m also in my last semester of the Library & Information Technology Program at Langara College. I’ve been asked to write a blog post about Readers Advisory from a student’s perspective.
I love reading. I’ve read avidly since the age of 6 and I love talking about the books I’ve read with other people. Audiobooks are a particular favourite of mine, and I am constantly exclaiming over the excellent recordings I’ve listened to.
Because of this, I’m sometimes asked for book recommendations by my friends and family. My favourite investigative question to ask is “Which was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?” I learned to ask that question at an all-staff meeting at the Prince George Public Library several years ago. I was working as a shelver but I was allowed to stay and listen to the presentations, even though they did not apply directly to my job. The presentation about Readers Advisory really resonated with me. In the past, I’d struggled with requests for recommendations, especially requests from strangers. That presentation gave me a glimpse of the world of Readers Advisory and I’ve continued to use tools from it to this day.
My classes at Langara focus on cataloguing, technology, and research. Good Readers Advisory depends on knowing how to ask questions and how to find answers. I have developed excellent summary skills, partly from my classes in Children’s Services and Young Adult Services where we write many book reviews and are also exposed to a variety of genres. I’ve become more confident in recommending books that are not from my favoured genres because of this exposure.
Readers Advisory is an art and requires lots of practice. I hope to soon recommend books and resources to people in a professional capacity, instead of only informally. In the meantime, I will continue being excited about books and help other people find books which make them excited too!