Reading (a)loud

Guest post by Melanie Mutch and Rachel Franks

 Each year a Readers’ Advisory seminar is held at the State Library NSW to bring resources, information and tools to public library staff.

These seminars are collaborative efforts between the NSW Public Library Readers’ Advisory Working Group and the State Library of NSW, and are a free professional development opportunity. It is the hope of the Working Group that, at the end of each of these seminars, the participants will leave full of inspiration and ideas to take back to their communities.

Readers’ Advisory is the term the Working Group uses to describe everything we do to help our communities to discover and enjoy recreational reading, in any format they enjoy. When we talk about ‘reading’ we are referring to all types of reading – from novels and short stories, to graphic novels, films, television, games or any work – fiction or non-fiction – that allows the reader to experience a story. Our goal is simply to help people find what they love. Indeed, one of the aims of Readers’ Advisory Services work is the non-judgemental encouragement for all readers to engage with, and share, what works they enjoy. People might want to ready in a quiet place at home, in a loud environment such as public transport; they might want to read to themselves or they might want to read aloud to others – sharing the joy of reading (as well as watching and playing).

We focus on a different genre every year,  the 2015 seminar Librarians’ Guide to the Galaxy focused on reading science and science fiction.  The  seminar featured  guest authors Sean Williams and  QUT's Senior Lecturer in Forensic DNA Dr Bill LottMegan McArdle , a SF/F reviewer for Library Journal spoke to us about to help people find a great read in the genre, and we had a presentation about the benefits of integration Novelist into the catalogue and learned how to read a book in 5 minutes.

Staff from a number of NSW public libraries gave us 5 minute presentations on topics ranging from Lego programs to Rewarding Reading training and Dr Who in the library. These brief sessions are a valuable insight into what is happening in our libraries, and often a source of great inspiration.

Ellen Forsyth from the SLNSW discussed the Readers’ Advisory Survey results with the group, and some early work was done to identify solutions to the biggest challenges that were identified by the respondents. The Working group will continue to discuss what actions need to be taken at our next meeting.

If you missed out on this year’s Seminar, or you were able to attend but would like to review some of the materials presented, you can find everything you need here:

Librarians Guide to the Galaxy seminar and information from Past Readers’ Advisory seminars here.

In addition to to running these seminars, the Working Group supports the Read Watch Play reading group and associated resources, and hosts regular meetings for NSW public library staff. Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings, and we encourage new members to join the working group.

The next meeting will be held at Canada Bay Library on Wednesday 27th May, 2015.