RA 101: Training Your Coworkers

Let’s say your co-workers love calling you to ask for help with Reader’s Advisory questions. And let’s say that you love it when they call you – recommending books for teens is one of your favorite things to do! But you can’t be around all the time, and your colleagues flounder when they have to recommend books to teens on their own. What can you do to help them out?


First thing: Ask them. Ask your co-workers what kind of help they want. This gives them ownership of the process and shows them that you care. They are going to want to learn in different ways – visually, by reading reviews, or by watching an in-person training or webinar.

Second thing: Ask your supervisor. Unless you are the manager, you are not in charge of training your colleagues. You want to touch base with your supervisor and make sure they’re okay with you spending your time on creating training resources, and with giving them to your colleagues – which then means they’re okay with your co-workers spending time on that training.

Now let’s move on to the training resources. Don’t have time to make brand new resources from scratch? That’s cool, not everyone does!


First up is Goodreads.

Do your colleagues use Goodreads? If they don’t, you’ve got to fix that right away. When you’re not around, Goodreads is the next best thing for quick and easy RA.

Step 1: Get them to sign up for a Goodreads account.

Step 2: Share your Goodreads account with them.

Step 3: Show them how to browse your shelves of books.

Step 4: Show them how to use the “Readers who read this also liked” feature.


What else can you do?

Sit down for an hour with them and do book talks. We always focus on doing book talks for your teens and students, but doing book talks for your co-workers can give them a retinue of YA books they can fall back on for RA. If you can’t take the in-person time to do this kind of training, make a recording of it so they can watch it later.

Talk to them about the books you’re reading. Ask them what they’ve been reading and listen, and then recommend YA books to them – lots of adults just don’t know a lot about what YA books are out there for them to discover and enjoy.

Make displays of YA books near the desks where your co-workers are. Encourage your co-workers to recommend books to teens and parents from your displays. However, make it clear (politely!) that they shouldn’t refill your displays – you’ve got a theme going and you want to keep it up. Alternatively, you can leave a stack of books to refill the display from when you’re not around.


Websites and lists you can share:

TSU Book Lists http://www.teenservicesunderground.com/features/booklists/

YA (And Kids!) Books Central www.yabookscentral.com

YALSA’s Best fiction for Young Adults http://www.ala.org/yalsa/best-fiction-young-adults

Teen Librarian Toolbox http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/book-lists/

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