Reach Readers

Understanding Your Reader: How to Recommend the Right Book at the Right Time (101-FY24)

*️⃣ This course will prepare all staff to recommend books by giving them an understanding of reader engagement. Learn strategies for providing excellent customer service to all readers, gain an understanding of the concepts of appeal, genre, and themes, and learn to value service to readers as a critical service to the overall mission of your library.

Participants will be introduced to the different types of readers we encounter, the varied roles all staff play in reader conversations, and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion when recommending books. By the end of this course, participants will feel confident matching readers to books in a variety of situations.

*️⃣ Learning outcomes include:
- Identifying effective strategies for talking with readers, including using reader-friendly language.
- Understanding the concepts of appeal, genre, and themes, and how they can be used to match readers to books.
- Understanding the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in readers' advisory services.
- Valuing reader development as a critical service that is essential to every library's overall mission.

This course will take the average learner about 4 hours total to complete.

*️⃣ Course format: This course consists of three lessons: three self-paced lessons and a fourth live session. You must complete all four lessons to get your certificate of completion. It is sold by the seat. Group rates are available:
20% off for 3-25 seats
30% off for 26-49 seats
40% off for 50-99 seats
Ask us for a custom quote for more than 100 seats.

*️⃣ Special note: Libraries and consortia can also purchase a two-hour live workshop version of this course. To discuss that option or to take advantage of a group rate, email

*️⃣ Course instructors: Yaika Sabat (MLS) comes from a background in public libraries, and is now the Manager of Reader Services at NoveList, where she works on reader-focused services and trains library staff nationwide on recommending books. As a Horror Writers Association’s Library Advisory Council member, she works to help librarians understand and embrace the horror genre. She is passionate about diverse representation in books and media and is always open to trying a new genre. Her other interests include writing, graphic novels, folklore, and baking.

April Mazza (MLS) is a Learning Engagement Specialist at NoveList. She previously worked in public, school, and special library settings and has reviewed youth materials for "School Library Journal", "Kirkus", "Booklist", and the "Horn Book Guide". She has served on both the Sibert Informational Book Medal and Newbery Medal committees. She also cohosts and coproduces the podcast “This Podcast is Overdue,” which explores books and reading. As a kid, April loved reading folk and fairy tales. Today you’ll find her reading all sorts of genres, especially if they are moving, culturally diverse, or illustrated.

  • Welcome
  • Lesson One
  • The Critical Role of Working With Readers
  • Lesson TWO
  • Working with Readers
  • Lesson THREE
  • Tools And Resources To Help You Make Reading Suggestions
  • Live Session with your instructors on November 1, 2023 at 2:00 PM ET
  • Live Session with your instructors on January 11, 2024 at 5:00 PM ET
  • Live Session with your instructors on March 5, 2024 at 10:00 AM ET
  • Live Session with your instructors on May 2, 2024 at 12:00 PM ET
  • Complete the Survey
  • Post-Course Survey
Completion rules
  • All units must be completed
  • Leads to a certificate with a duration: Forever