Monday, November 20, 2006

What Is A Reading Map?

When helping a reader find a "good" book, a librarian will often consider the "appeal" of titles the customer has previously enjoyed. For instance, if the reader loves J.D. Robb's Eve Dallas series, the librarian might recommend other suspenseful novels with a similar setting, tone, pacing, characters or use of language. This process is called Readers' Advisory (or RA for short).

Beth brought my attention to a recent article in Library Journal. In Reading Maps Remake RA (Nov. 1, 2006), Neal Wyatt suggests that librarians add some new techniques to traditional RA services. By helping readers to represent graphically--or map--those things they found intriguing about a book, librarians can make readers aware of a wider selection of titles in the library's collection.

*Update: In response to Beth's comment below, here's a link to a reading map that Neal Wyatt composed for Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. By following the links for "TIME" and "PLACE," you can see a version of the illustration to which Beth refers (p. 41 of the print version).

For Discussion: Beth and I want to know what you think of this article in particular and the process of finding that next great book in general?

Thanks, Beth!


You know the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words?" Well it's true in this case as well! Ask a librarian to let you see a paper version of this article--the pictures explain reading maps for the visual learner in all of us.
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