23 January 2015
I love doing Reader's Advisory. I really enjoy talking with patrons about what they're reading and what else they might enjoy or even about books they did not enjoy. However, I am just one person and there are only so many hours in a day where I can sit at the reference desk or roam the stacks helping patrons find books. For times when I am not there, I want the patrons to be able to find books anyway. That's where my passive reader's advisory comes in.
I have already created book lists online in our system's OPAC, which can help patrons find the books they want. There are links to these lists on our library's webpage. Unfortunately, this method assumes that the patrons 1) visit the library's website and 2) know to click on the links to the lists. It's likely that many of them don't do that, or don't do that often. To be fair, the time when a patron might need a read-alike will be when s/he is browsing the stacks, not necessarily when s/he is at home looking through the OPAC (and how many people who are not library employees or library school students do that, anyway?).
But many of my patrons do have some variety of smartphone, and they do usually carry it with them when they are in the library. Thus, I created QR codes to lead my patrons to those very same lists. I used an online QR code generator, saved the codes as picture files, then placed them on squares with words that described the list they led to. I printed them out so that the QR codes had a white background (to make sure the contrast was great enough that they could be read), but I backed them with colorful paper so they would be attractive.
The last thing I needed to do was place them in the stacks. I taped the cards to shelves near books that were similar to those on the list. For example, I put the humorous list near the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. The codes have only been posted for a few hours, so we'll see how well they work. I'm excited to be able to observe patrons using the codes, and I do hope it helps them more easily locate more books they or their child would like to read.