Mar 9, 2010

Adventures in Secret Shopping!

Posted by Kirsten at 3/09/2010 02:25:00 PM

I decided to kill two birds with one stone for this assignment. I had to go to a library that I’d never been to as a field trip for another class so I figured, why not get there early and do my “secret shopping”. I have to say that the experience was very satisfying.

When I arrived at the library, I had to figure out where the adult area was because the place was huge and I figured out that the adult area was on the second floor. Stepping off the elevator, my first instinct was to head to the reference desk that was directly in front of me. While glancing around however, I noticed that there was a separate reader’s advisory desk so I headed up to the desk.

The desk was just above waist height and had only one person working. Right away she asked if she could help me and I asked the question. “Could you help me find a good book”. Her first response was to rephrase my question and to ask me what I normally read. i explained that I normally read Sci-Fi and Fantasy but that I wanted to branch out and read something different. She proceeded to question me not only about what I liked and didn’t like about the books I normally read, but what books I’d read that I really liked. She then pulled out this handy folder, which the four employees that work at the Reader’s Advisory Desk have created, with a list from each person with good books that they’d read in different genres. After combing through the lists and looking at the staff picks displays she took me to the shelves to see if a particular book was in. (Of course it wasn’t. But she didn’t miss a beat and moved right on to another option) Then she asked me if I’d ever read any suspense like Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code.  I had read it and enjoyed it so she recommended that I try a bit of Steve Berry, a similar author. Rather than send me ot look for his books, she took me to them and pulled multiple books off of the shelf and looked at them and then handed me The Templar Legacy and told me to “Try this one, because its a good one to start with.”


Her reader’s advisory didn’t stop there however. I thanked her for her help and was ready to walk away when she said it’s too bad I wasn’t looking for fantasy, because she had thought of one that i might like. Of course, never one to turn away a good fantasy novel, I was quick to tell her I wouldn’t turn one away! We walked over to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy shelves and pulled out Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Before handing me the book she gave me a brief synopsis of the book and then suggested i take a look at the cover  and read the full It sounded as good as the Steve Berry book so I again thanked her. i actually had to stop her from continuing to recommend books!

It was great, a wonderful experience in reader’s advisory.  I even noticed our textbook sitting on the advisory desk complete with papers marking various portions of the text. Even if someone was looking for books and didn’t want to speak to an actual person there were plenty of bookmarks with lists of authors such as the ones for “Fantasy Myth and Legend” or the list of authors that would “Tickle Your Funny Bone”. There was also a large bookmark with “The Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels” They even have a service for individuals where they can submit a form answering questions such as the genres they normally read, books and authors that they've liked or disliked and elements that they would lprefer or like to avoid such as sexual content, objectionable language and violence. Even the preferred setting is asked about. The librarians then use the information provided to create a reading list of 5-10 titles that the reader might enjoy! how cool is that!  The same service is also provided for book groups!

I have to say,this was an enjoyable experience and that this might be the model that I set for myself when I do reader’s advisory in the future.

And yes, I definitely must read the books she suggested too!


Alisa Burch on March 13, 2010 at 8:04 PM said...

Wow! What a great experience. I guess that is the kind of service you would expect from a library that offer readers' advisory service.

Andrea Japzon on March 22, 2010 at 9:25 PM said...

My heart is filled with joy.

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