Saturday, March 4, 2017

Topic Paper - A Guide to Young Adult Readers' Advisory

For this assignment, I chose to highlight tips and tools used to better improve the YA readers' advisory experience.

First, I started with a bit of background of the readers' advisory process. The readers' advisory interview is key to helping our patrons find more books to their liking. We ask questions like; "What did you just finish reading?", "What elements of the book did you like the most?", "Do you want to continue reading books by the same author, or would you like to branch out?". These base questions are essential to perform the interview and lead the reader to their next book. I also highlighted that most young adult literature is fiction, for readers ages 12 to 18. However, "New Adult Literature" is aimed at young adults from ages 18 to 30.

Second, I wrote about the characteristics of YA literature:

  • The authors write from the viewpoint of young people
  • YA literature is fast paced
  • YA novels deal with emotions that resonate with the reader
  • Characters from many different ethnic and cultural groups
  • "I want the credit!" - young adult protagonists are often trying to prove themselves by solving their problems on their own, without the help of parents
  • Coming of age narrative
  • Issues of identity, such as class, religion, or race
  • Language in the novels' dialogue reflects the way teens speak, using slang
Third, I began writing about the way we market to YA readers, by way of social media like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. On YouTube, publishers and authors create book trailers to "tease" the reader and spark their interest on an upcoming title. Another marketing idea is the awards given to books. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) provides various awards for YA books that have appealed (or still appeal) to the readers.

  • Michael L. Printz Award
  • Odyssey Award
  • Morris Award
  • Edwards Award
  • Nonfiction Award
With the knowledge of these award winning books, librarians can better direct their YA readers towards highly accredited and praised books. These books can be displayed in a teen space of a public library where YA readers can see the books and the librarians can offer up suggestions.

Another marketing initiative is the creation of movies or television adaptations based off of popular YA reads. Librarians in a teen space can advertise for a movie night showing films that are based off of books such as:

  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
Fourth, I listed tips and tools that can be useful in the YA readers' advisory interview and process.


  • Keep popular materials stocked and make sure to replace copies if they are worn out
  • Besides YA fiction, have nonfiction, magazines, graphic novels, and audiobooks readily available in your collection
  • Be familiar with the material
  • Create eye catching displays for the YA readers to see when they enter the teen space
  • If a YA reader is nervous about coming up to your desk to ask about a book, be open to getting out from behind the desk and approaching them, asking "Can I help you find a book you're looking for?"
  • Create a rapport and connection with the patron
  • Display staff picks of different YA titles
  • Make sure to listen to a YA patrons' likes and dislikes
  • Don't make any type of judgment when speaking to YA readers about books
  • Don't push your own favorite books onto a teen
  • Don't tune out or stop listening to your patron
  • Don't narrow your knowledge of YA books to fiction only
11. Barbakoff, A. (2014). Readers’ advisory to teens: An adult services librarians’      guide. Retrieved from
22. Bertin, J. (2017). What are the characteristics of young adult literature8?   Retrieved from characteristics-of-young-adult-literature-11042.html
33. Hogan, P. (2011). Tips for young adult readers’ advisory. Retrieved from
44. YALSA Book Awards. (2017). Retrieved from
55. YA LIT. (2005). Retrieved from


  1. Hello Annette! From your summary, it sound like you wrote an excellent paper on YA reader's advisory. I really enjoy the many movies and television shows that stem from YA novels. Once these movies and TV shows come out, the books they are based on almost instantly become even more popular. This helps get teens into the library and exposed to the library's other YA materials. They might even find something else to read while they are at the library. Great job, Annette!

  2. Lol, your comment, "I want the credit", is spot on. Many of us in teen services have commented on the phenomena of the disappearing parents. :) I have not used literature-map - have you tried it and do you like it? Is this something that teens will find accessible? I'm definitely going to check it out. Other tips I would add for YA advisory are to be open to adult crossovers (check out the Alex Awards list) and, more importantly, be aware of genres within YA lit. I have genrefied our YA section in order to provide better RA - sci fi, fantasy, paranormal romance, etc. It drives me nuts when all YA is lumped together as though it's homogenous, when in truth it has all the same genres as adult literature and deserves the same treatment in order to help teen readers find books they'll enjoy.

  3. Annette,
    I do find that teens need us to approach them without being behind the desk. Some of our teens here feel that the desk is intimidating and it is an authority figure. Coming out and going to them gives them an opportunity to see we are there to help. They also like to try to find things themselves and not ask for help. This way they didn't ask we offered.