Just last week I finally completed my first lot of training in readers advisory.
Various circumstances have prevented me from ever completing this training throughout my career and I had found myself relying on just four resources whenever things got tricky at the lending desk: the library's reading lists, fantasticfiction.com, the librarian's bible (Who else writes like...) and finally the shelves themselves for a quick search of ideas to offer people.
Well, my mind has been expanded since the training and I've discovered some new sites, some new authors and genres and what questions I could ask to make it easier to get to the bottom of the borrowers wants and needs.
I have also just recently begun using the Xbox Zune service at home (which is subscription based) which allows me to stream the music of just about any artist I care to listen to. I love it, but the only problem I have with it is that when faced with the possibility of listening to absolutely anything I want, I often draw a complete blank and forget the long list I have running in my head of bands I need to hear.
I guess I kind of feel like a lot of borrowers must in the library who come in, see a huge collection of options and just don't know where to start. So I started thinking, wouldn't it be great if there was somewhere I could go to have a 'listeners advisory' service. I investigated further and found that such services are out there!
I've discovered TasteKid.com which can provide recommendations on not just music, but movies, tv shows, books, and games. All you need to do is put an assortment of say, bands that you really dig into the engine and voila, a cloud of bands that people are telling you you should listen to and bands that you forgot you liked appears like magic. There's also a list on the page of things that 'seem to be kind of popular' if you just want to follow trends or keep up with the conversation at a party ;)
I tried it with books and included authors as far reaching in my tastes as I could think of and included Carson Mccullers, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Donna Tartt, Douglas Adams, Charles Bukowski and Margaret Atwood.
I got a great mix of 30 authors, some of which I'd read and enjoyed, which means the engine was on the right track and others I was yet to. If you're into it, you can then create a taste profile by liking or disliking or 'meh-ing' the suggestions put forward. I haven't gone that far yet, but think it's another great tool for suggesting new things to people.
Does anyone else have any great tools that they use for readers advisory or for just discovering new things? What do you turn to when people ask you about music in the library, or movies, or games or how about apps?
Can't wait to hear back!