Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Van Riel, Rachel, Fowler, Olive and Downes, Anne the Reader-Friendly Library Service

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Van Riel, Rachel, Fowler, Olive and Downes, Anne the Reader-Friendly Library Service

Article excerpt

*** Van Riel, Rachel, Fowler, Olive and Downes, Anne The reader-friendly library service Newcastle upon Tyne, Society of Chief Librarians 2008 379pp ISBN 978-009559028-0-2 25 [pounds sterling] Order information at www.openingthebook.com

Is your library service reader centred? Do you need pragmatic, evidence based ideas, arguments or strategies to move your service from passive responsive to a more confident active service to readers, to kick start a promotion--or a reason to desist'? If so, then this latest book from the Opening the Book team is a must read resource.

Intended to clarify issues of reader development and support decision making there are many interesting and provocative messages throughout the book including

* sell the sizzle not the sausage

* the reader centred approach is about tempting--not prescribing and expanding options and encouraging readers to experiment

* a nonjudgmental approach to readers choices as epitomized in The Opening the Book mission statement

 
   The best book in the world is quite simply the one you like the 
   best. This is something you can discover for yourself but we are 
   here to help you find it. 

* library environments are too complicated and often shabby to the modern eye

* libraries allocate major resources to purchasing and processing stock--and relatively few to promoting use--and wonder why loans may decline in a world with many recreational choices

* libraries need to make strategic and considered decisions for reader development, take responsibility for it in their staff structures and evaluate activity

* libraries should not be 'propped up at all costs'--continuing support is based on what they do now and what they are capable of in the future.

The reader-friendly library service is a practical resource for practitioners. Its strengths lie in that

* it is clearly written and presented in a very accessible format

* the content challenges readers to reflect on their professional views and practices by both the main content and the wake tip calls peppered throughout the text

* the strategies are pragmatic and supported by research evidence and theory. …

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