Sunday, December 24, 2006
Celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl was in Australia recently for a speaking tour, and last Monday a captive audience drawn from public libraries around Melbourne came to hear her speak at the Village Roadshow Theatrette at the State Library on the topic of reader advisory services. Whilst much of her presentation dealt with working in public libraries, some of what she said can also be applied in any library. The information professional, as librarians are otherwise known, is the interface between the patron and the library resources. They are not supposed to impose their tastes or preferences on the patron. Rather, a better approach is to help the patron discover for themselves what they want to find. Ms Pearl is something of a cult figure in library circles. For a number of years she hosted her own book-based (what else?) talk show on American TV, has written a number of books on reading for pleasure, and has even had an action figure made after her likeness, complete with push-button shushing action.