Readers' Advisory: Differing Mental Models and the Futures of Libraries, Librarians, and Readers’ Advisory

Bill Crowley


Many of us struggle with determining the best way to represent our profession in libraries. How do we maintain our relevance and the value of our degreed professionals while managing increasing expectations from patrons, tax payers, and politicians? In RUSQ 54:4, Duncan Smith provided a thoughtful conversation on the future of readers’ advisory services in his article “Readers’ Advisory: The Who, the How, and the Why.” Smith decided to write the article after reading Bill Crowley’s 2014 article “Time to Rethink Readers’ Advisory Education.” Smith and Crowley, while both highly respected professionals in the library industry, believe in two very different readers’ advisory paradigms and the role professionals and paraprofessionals play in this service. In an effort to provide insight into both mental models, Crowley agreed to provide his reflection on Smith’s article, expanding on his original article and introducing the RUSQ readership to an alternate readers’ advisory model. In particular, he wants us to ask the questions “is RA success determined by facts or perceptions?” and “is our current RA model the right model?” It’s an exciting opportunity for all of us to have two such notable professionals offering their expertise and opinion on the future of RA, providing deep reflection, solid arguments, and reflection on their differing RA paradigms.—Editor

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