The Birth of a Notion: Inspiration For My Research


Some time ago, I was perusing the archived discussion posts on the site when I came across a topic that struck my interest. In January of 2017, a library school instructor had emailed with a question. “I am teaching a RA course and am looking at updating our resources,” she began:

For print we currently have some older editions of the Genreflecting and What Do I Read Next? Series, and we also have some other assorted print resources. Do people still use print for RA? For online our library subscribes to NoveList Plus and NoveList K-8 and that is about it. I would appreciate anyone sending me any of your “go-to” resources for when you are doing RA, both print and online, free and $$$

The instructor received a number of threads providing suggestions, mostly for online resources and blogs. However, one responder remained steadfast in her usage of print resources.

Wanting to narrow down the scope of the topic of readers’ advisory (or RA), I again browsed through the archived discussions and came across a question posted by another instructor in April of 2017. This one dealt with readers’ advisory for children, tweens and teens.

I am looking to gather some suggestions for doing RA with children, tweens or young adults that I can pass along to my library graduate students. I am used to doing RA with adults, and while some of those RA techniques can be modified for younger ages, I am hoping that those of you who work with the younger ages may have a few tried and true suggestions (general or genre specific) that you would be willing to pass along.

From the responses, there was a general call for a more passive form of RA for younger readers as compared to adults. Recommendations included providing book lists on various genres, and for the youngest readers, Picture1the implementation of the “Five Finger Rule” (as seen below).

One respondent turned out to be Diana Tixier Herald, who wrote a section in the introduction to Teen Genreflecting 3 where she discusses RA services to teens.

I have always had an interest in readers’ advisory services, particularly when it comes to younger readers. There is a certain challenge in trying to find the “right book” for a young patron who may be a reluctant reader or simply has trouble expressing just what he or she wants. While it is indeed a great pleasure to read large amounts of children’s literature, I have found through my research that it’s not enough to be well-read. There are other elements to RA that can factor in to a satisfactory patron encounter.



Berast, C. (2017, January 6). Readers’ advisory resources [Mailing list]. Retrieved from    

Katcham, S. (2017, April 10). Children, tween and teens ra tips [Mailing list]. Retrieved from