Saturday, June 02, 2007

Reader's Advisory for Older Adults

It is hard for librarians to find the time to keep up with all the library journals. I will be trying to find articles in these journals that relate to older adult services and report on them here. I found a great article from the Reference & User Services Quarterly by Alicia Ahlvers (2006). This article is literally packed with great information. Ahlvers starts by describing the characteristics of different segments of the older adult population. She talks about the G.I. generation (aged 85 and above), the Silent Generation (aged 65-84), and the Baby Boomers (aged 44-64).

She described the G.I. generation as gallant, hard working, and civic minded. She stated that they "are particularly fond of sentimental stories and novels with characters from their generation" (p. 306). She characterized the Silent Generation as reserved, hard working, and often stoic. According to Ahlvers, people in the Silent Generation tend to be receptive to books recommended by librarians. Ahlvers predicts that the Boomer generation will be assertive and will be more willing to use technology, such as an online library catalog.

Ahlvers used data from her library's homebound program to provide a list of the most popular materials ordered by these different generations. This is very useful, as is her discussion of how to conduct readers' advisory interviews for older adults.

I really liked Ahlver's recommendation that libraries be able to print the check out receipt in large print, so that older adults can read the due dates for their materials. That had not occurred to me before, and it makes a lot of sense.

Ahlvers, Alicia. (2006). Older adults and readers' advisory. In Reference & User Services Quarterly, 45(4), p305(8). Retrieved June 02, 2007, from InfoTrac OneFile via Thomson Gale. (Your library may subscribe to this online database).

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