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Readers' Advisory and Reference Services: Readers' Advisory

Readers Advisory

Readers' Advisory has many definitions, but at its core, it's about bringing readers and books together—this could be through recommendations, book lists, displays, and other means. When most people think about readers' advisory, they think of a librarian providing guidance to a patron about what materials they might enjoy or need for a project at the reference or circulation desk. This could be as simple as "I've read all of Nora Roberts, what else will I like?" or as complex as, "I'm looking for information about the Battle of Adwa."


This collection of resources can be used to help find books for readers. Simply type in a title or author to help narrow the field and find similar reads.

Different resources may work better for different situations, librarians, and readers. It's nice to provide the person a variety of choices of materials, so explore all of the options to find books of different lengths, formats, genres, time-frames, and authors.


NoveList is an online library resource or database for readers advisory. Users can enter a book or author to find readalikes, reviews, and more. Unlike other online book resources, NoveList contains information on genre, storyline, pace, tone, and the writing style of every book in its listings.

In addition to it's search interface, NoveList is known for it's browsing resources. Users can also choose to browse by various appeal categories such as "cartoony illustration, "diverse ability characters," or "sobering tone" to help select their next read. It has a tool for developing book displays and even curates reading lists for award readings, school curriculum, and book clubs. NoveList truly has something for everybody.

With it's user-friendly and helpful interface, NoveList is a one-stop-shop for both librarians and patrons alike. It can be used for all ages and reading levels.

Book Levels

Many schools use reading levels to help students choose developmentally appropriate books. While there are various options which typically use a number, letter, or metric to help students determine “appropriate” books, no perfect system exists.

Some school libraries may choose to label materials or sections of their collections based on these reading levels. Many librarians feel that this is a form of censorship, since students are not given full access to all the books in their libraries. While using reading levels to help students improve their reading is not a bad thing, true readers are born when there is a balance between reading levels, interests, requests, and academic needs.

The links below will assist young readers and librarians find the most common reading levelers:

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Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.