Readers’ Advisory

Readers’ advisory services foster an environment where reading is a valued activity and readers’ advisory staff advocate the importance and joy of reading within the community.  Successfully helping the user to find the next great fiction read or connecting a reader to what interests them in the non-fiction collection involves collection knowledge, readers’ services skills and good conversation.

Last updated: June 26, 2014

Competency: Assists users with choosing popular and recreational reading, viewing and listening choices

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrates a broad knowledge of the library’s collection and materials of interest to library readers
  • Demonstrates knowledge about publishing trends and is on top of the book buzz
  • Reads widely and demonstrates the ability to formulate connections between resources, and converse with users about the resources
  • Understands the theory of appeal, listens carefully to information elicited from the user and bases suggestions on an interpretation of what appeals to the user
  • Communicates succinctly but effectively the character and appeal of a book, both in writing and speaking
  • Identifies and suggests a selection of materials that align with what appeals to the user
  • Uses Web tools (blogs, wikis, social networks) to encourage participation and contributions from readers
  • Seeks feedback from readers on suggested materials and adjusts future suggestions accordingly
  • Treats equally and without bias all requests for readers’ advisory assistance
  • Creates booklists, read-alikes, book-talks, displays and other tools to assist users with finding materials of interest and increase access to library resources
  • Engages with users virtually as well as face-to-faces for readers' advisory interactions
  • Uses social networking sites and tools to spark conversations with community members about titles, authors and reading


Competency: Develops strategies to stay well-informed as a readers’ advisor

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Uses a variety of online and print readers’ advisory resources to identify materials
  • Maintains a knowledge of major new authors, fiction genres, non-fiction subjects and current releases
  • Participates in conversations with colleagues as a means of exchanging information about reading interests
  • Keeps current with popular culture through a variety of channels
  • Connects with professional communities to seek and share best practices for readers’ advisory.


For more detailed Readers' Advisory competencies, see the core competencies developed by the Ontario Public Library Association's Readers' Advisory committee. The committee has also created a toolkit to support developing the competencies. 

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