Tag Archives: RA Questions

What’s the Appeal? Using Appeal Factors and Field Codes in NoveList

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I have to admit that I don’t use NoveList nearly as often as I could when delivering Reader’s Advisory at the library desk. I was intrigued to learn that NoveList has been developing their appeal factors to help you find just the right book for a patron. Their appeal categories include Character, Illustration, Pace, Storyline, Tone, and Writing Style. Each of these categories can be broken down further into a list of adjectives (for example, do you want “candid” writing style or a “spare” writing style?) Please note, I haven’t included links because you have to navigate to these pages through our own library’s NoveList site.

NoveList has some pre-set searches including “I’m in the mood for books that are moving and haunting” (try Girl at War by Sara Novic) OR “action-packed and fast-paced” (try White Ghost by Steven Gore). You can also try their appeal mixer. The appeal mixer is a lot of fun—I chose “Character-Complex,” “Writing Style-Compelling,” and “Pace-Fast-paced” and received 135 recommendations including Tana French, Anna Quindlen, and lots of Sherrilyn Kenyon (who I was not expecting and have not yet read…) You can also adjust the results for adults, teens, kids aged 9-12, and kids aged 0-8.

In addition to appeal terms, NoveList has two-letter field codes that enable you to do Boolean searches. For example, to find suspenseful literary fiction, type in “GN literary fiction AND AP suspenseful” into the NoveList search box. Be sure to capitalize the field codes (GN for Genre and AP for Appeal Terms) as well as capitalize the Boolean operators. This search resulted in 200 results including Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests and Emma Donoghue’s Room. They have list of all the field codes in a PDF here as well as a cheat sheet of the most commonly used field codes here.

When I receive requests about genres or styles that I rarely read, such as romance books without any sex, it’s good to know NoveList has field codes to help narrow down possible titles (“GN romance AND AP chaste”).

If you have access to NoveList at your library, explore the different appeal factors and field codes to see the types of searches that might help you solve those tricky Readers’ Advisory requests!

-Meghan S, Surrey Libraries

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Challenging RA Questions

This year RA in a Half Day responded to some of the takeaways from last year’s event and included more interactive components and RA interview role playing. Tara Matsuzaki served as the master of ceremonies for a scintillating series of challenging RA questions presented as mock interviews. Questions were presented to the audience and every table was asked to come up with recommendations and ideas for how to solve their reading needs. Imagine a room of 70 talented librarians, MLIS candidates and library allies leaning in and sharing their collective skills and knowledge on readers’ advisory. It was a flood of ideas!

War Films for Dad – Heidi Schiller, North Vancouver City Library

Heidi Schiller acted the part of a patron looking for war films, especially from WWII, for a father who has already seen all the classics. The audience really picked up on looking outside of film towards TV series like Band of Brothers and Foyle’s War. The question also came up as to whether or not he would like a humorous adaptation such as MASH and how far outside WWII he would be interested in going. So some suggestions even looked at the similarities of war films based in the 20th century conflicts to films like Gladiator or Troy based on conflicts in much earlier eras. There were a lot of suggestions for where to find quality suggestion lists, from various library websites to even the genre page on Wikipedia.

Moving from YA to Adult Fantasy – Meghan Savage, Surrey Libraries

Playing the part of a teenage patron wanting to move out of YA fantasy literature into adult Fantasy, Meghan challenged the audience to meet her interest in stand alone novels or short series with a romantic flare. Neil Gaiman’s work came up immediately and universally as a great cross-over author from YA to adult fantasy. Kelley Armstrong was also mentioned as an author who wrote both YA and adult fantasy, though much of her adult works is more urban in focus. Sharron Shinn, author of several fantasy series with a romantic focus, and Jim Butcher, with a more adventure driven series, were mentioned as authors of series that can be consumed out of order without too much disruption of story lines. The point was also made that fantasy contains many sub-genres to consider.

Positive Graphic Novels to Teach – Robbie Burma, Vancouver Public Library

Robbie Burma offered the biggest challenge to the audience by playing the part of a teacher looking for sunnier graphic novels to suggest for a 12th grade general English curriculum. It proved to be proved to be a real challenge to rule out the grittier, more violent and/or darker graphic novels while remaining age appropriate and maintaining literary depth. The end result was the need to dig deeper into the patron’s needs and widen the collaboration by audience members as much as possible to get to the best suggestions. The most consistent mentions were for Escape to Gold Mountain by David H. T. Wong and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

Just a Good Book – Anthea Goffe, Fraser Valley Regional Library

It can be a stumper when the patron’s interests are really broad and vague so Anthea played a male patron just looking for any good read, fiction or non-fiction, but hopefully something that had a little literary merit balanced with a fast paced story. A few questions pulled out her appreciation of Hunger Games and Into Thin Air and her dislike of John Grisham and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The audience found this challenge great fun and indulged a taste for gushing about many great titles and authors ranging from Bill Bryson to Lee Childs and from Margaret Atwood’s series beginning with Oryx and Crake to The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J Maarten Troost.

Pre-loaded E-reader Gift – Barbara Edwards, Vancouver Public Library

Finally, Barbara brought in the factor of eBooks by asking for recommendations including both fiction similar to Amy Tan or Downton Abbey and some quirky cookbooks to pre-load on an eReader gift for her daughter-in-law. The issue of the eReader type was brought up both in the mock interview and by audience members. Issues included the inability of Kindle owners to download library eBooks in Canada and the quality of visuals for cookbooks on a black and white eReader. The existence of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook seemed ideal, at least on a colour eReader, but the audience also realized a need to ask more questions about what “quirky” meant in relation to cookbooks.

Reminder! … Submit A Challenging RA Question For a Chance to Win $30 in Coffee or Books (and To Benefit All Us RA Ponderers!)

Image courtesy of Drab Makyo (Flickr)

Image courtesy of Drab Makyo (Flickr)

Hi everyone! A reminder to submit any challenging Reader Advisory (RA) questions you’ve had come your way to us at the BCLA Readers Advisory Interest Group. We are collecting these questions for upcoming events and other RA professional development initiatives. Your questions (and preferably answers as well!) would not only benefit us all. …

Prizes for coffee and books await you!!

Is there a stumper you remember, a question that came from left field, challenging and maybe even intriguing you?

Please submit your questions by April 15th, 2013 for a chance to win 1 of 3 gift cards  to Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, or Chapters.

Questions will be submitted into a draw for a chance to win of one of these $30 gift cards!

To submit your questions, reply in the comments field below this post, send a message to our brand new email address raig@bcla.bc.ca, head over to our Facebook page, or create a video clip starring you and your colleagues dramatizing your challenging question. Post your video file to our Facebook page or upload it to YouTube. In the case of the latter, please send us the link.

 We’d love to see your questions! 

Those entries already sent, thank you! They will be included in the draw. 

Submit Your Tough RA Questions (For Mutual Benefit & A Chance to Scoop Up A $30 Gift Card for Books Or Coffee!)

A reminder to all that The Readers’ Advisory Interest Group is collecting challenging real-life RA questions. We have all likely had a stumper that had us thinking outside the proverbial box and from which we gained our own valuable insights on the range of readers’ advisory tools out there – some we may’ve never thought of before that question came along.

The questions will be of benefit to us all.  We plan to use these questions at our upcoming events and as part of other readers’ advisory professional development initiatives.

Please send us tough RA questions you have been asked by April 15th, 2013. Even better if you include the answer! Coffee and books await three lucky question entries! …

Image courtesy of Drab Makyo (Flickr)

Image courtesy of Drab Makyo (Flickr)

Questions will be entered into a draw and three lucky entries will be drawn for a $30 gift card each to Tim  Horton’s, Starbucks, and Chapters.

To submit your questions, reply in the comments field below this post, send a message to our brand new email address raig@bcla.bc.ca, head over to our Facebook page, or create a video clip starring you and your colleagues dramatizing your challenging question. Post your video file to our Facebook page or upload it to YouTube. In the case of the latter, please send us the link.

 

 We look forward to seeing your questions! 

Those entries already sent, thank you! They will be included in the draw!