Virtual Programming: Reader Advisory Videos

As an avid reader myself, my favorite part of my job is talking books. It’s tough to chat in person, though, with social distancing and masks. Fortunately, several of my coworkers have come up with some great ways to reach out with reader advisory via video episodes!

While many book clubs have been difficult to move to digital, we’ve been able to continue them in both new and different ways. One more conventional book club I’ve been involved with has been the YSU Alumni & Friends Book Club. In the beginning, a small group of librarians and YSU staff, faculty, or alumni would meet on Zoom and broadcast a book discussion on Facebook Live. Community members could comment on the video and we’d do our best to respond to questions or remarks. Now we’re moving to a format where the entire discussion takes place on Zoom, and while I missed our last meeting, it seems to be going well. September and October discussions are on YouTube, and we also have a Goodreads group page.

The other type of “book club” is a recorded meeting of librarians where we discuss books on a theme. Then we post those video discussions to our library’s social media pages. One example I’ve been a guest on has been the Time Traveler’s Book Club, where the group discusses historical fiction, future fiction, or any book having to do with time travel. In the episode I joined, we talked about one of my favorite novels, Kindred by Octavia Butler, and the graphic novel adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings.

My favorite of these to work on though is Shelf Indulgence, because we tackle books in genres that don’t normally get book clubbed, like campy horror, urban, and Amish fiction. These are a lot of fun to edit!

Space Cowboy — he comes up in our Shelf Indulgence “Westerns” discussion

The last reader advisory video that I’ve been helping a lot with has been Literary Love Connection. Starr had an idea to make a “dating game” style show where we try to match readers to their next favorite book using an anonymous question-and-answer format. Amelia a librarian who we never get to see on video, made a fantastically funny into/outro and does all the “advertisements” that show up too. These are hard to record because they require at least five participants, so we try to get two recorded at the same time. I love being a panelist on this one. I find hosting the most challenging role, but there are other librarians who do a much better job than I do!

Have you had any successful ideas to safely share reader advisory in the time of COVID-19, or do you have a book you think I’d should read? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment or contact me. Thanks for reading!

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