Please Be Advised – Listeners Are Readers Too

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Readers’ advisory, simply put, is connecting someone with reading content they’ll enjoy based on what they already enjoy. It’s about giving them chocolate with their peanut butter. Or peanut butter with their jelly. Or jelly with their chocolate, if that’s the kind of thing they’re into.

And this is the internet, where no one is judging you for what you like!

So that must mean that recommending an audiobook is basically the same thing, right? Wrong! You just grated chocolate on someone’s plate of spaghetti! You just drizzled peanut butter on a nice coq au vin blanc! You put jelly on my egg McMuffin!

And even though I loved it, I’m going to tell you about listeners’ advisory anyway.

Listeners’ advisory shares all the nuance of readers’ advisory with the added parameters of things like: format and narrator preferences. Think about it like this: people read at different speeds, they may want the ability to listen at different speeds. People listen to audiobooks when they jog, so will a 10 CD audiobook work? What if they don’t have a smart device? What if they only want something read by the author?

They said they wanted a book read by the author! Imagine the egg on my face when I recommended The Epic of Gilgamesh, HIYOO! heh…Is this thing on?

Here’s a simple recipe to help you put together a good listeners’ advisory interaction. One part read-alike, one part agreeable narrator voice, and one part format preference. No surprise here, we can find read-alikes easily with Novelist! You can get a lot of legwork done in the Advanced Search feature by limiting results to Audiobooks and using all the relevant keywords. You can also narrow results by duration, series status, abridged or unabridged, audience, award winner status, the list goes on. You want an audiobook thriller in a series that is read by the author? You got it!

Well, that was easy! Guess we can call it a day, right? Just put a hold on that in Libby, and when it comes in next week just download it right before your 15 hour flight to Malta! Oh, you tried that once just to discover the narrator’s voice bored you to tears? Unlistenable you say? It upset you and your bad mood ruined the entire vacation for yourself and everyone you came into contact with?

May I recommend an audiobook?

It’s always good practice to Sample an audiobook in Libby, if that’s your preferred format for audiobooks. There’s no shame in liking or disliking a narrators voice! And audiobook aficionados will sometimes have strong, yet valid, opinions.

Alexa, play “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick.

Here is an additional resource for finding the right voice. AudioFile Magazine’s website is a great place to find reviews, hear audiobook samples, and see which audiobooks are winning awards! You can even discover specific narrators who have been recognized in the field of professional reading! So next time you visit Novelist or the library catalog, you can try searching by your favorite narrator instead of author and be pleasantly surprised.

There’s also format. Would you believe they stopped putting CD players in cars? Right around the time The Epic of Gilgamesh was written (HIYOO!!). But, CD audiobooks still circulate alongside Playaways as a reliable alternative to eAudiobooks.

“Some people prefer the feel of real digital, man.” – guy wearing a scarf in June

So, listener’s advisory requires some extra attentiveness if you want to cook up the perfect recommendation for your patrons tastes. But, as always, you’re fully equipped for success thanks to your Allegheny County digital resources! If you’re looking for audiobook recommendations, feel free to reach out to your local library!

Derek – South Park Township Library

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RAD Summer Staycation

Rad Summer Staycation passes dropped on May 1st. Please see the following update from James Santelli – Communications Manager, Allegheny Regional Asset District – regarding updates and answers to questions you may be fielding from patrons.

Wow! What a response to the RAD Summer Staycation. We were prepared for many people to book their free tickets right away on May 1, but the response has been much greater than even our high expectations.

You may be left wondering, as one Facebook commenter did: “Is the entire summer of tickets gone on the first day?” Absolutely not. Only a fraction of the 100,000+ tickets that will be available this summer have been reserved. However, in order to offer spots for library-card holders all summer, the RAD Pass system limits the number of reservations that can be made on any given day.

RAD is currently working with our partners at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – who operate RAD Pass for patrons of the Allegheny County library system – to increase supply and ease demand.

Here’s what we’re doing:

1. Working with attractions to replenish their ticket offers on RAD Pass. Many will be adding new offers on a daily basis regardless of the “new passes available monthly” message indicated on the RAD Pass website. (See our advice below the numbered list.)

2. Finalizing the work to get more attractions online in the coming weeks, including some of our favorite places – Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, The Frick Pittsburgh, National Aviary, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and more.

3. Changing some of RAD Pass settings to serve more people. These back-end changes include reducing the limit on concurrent reservations from three to two (no current reservations will be affected) and allowing more claims for weekday tickets.

4. Adding more events to our calendar that are free to everyone, including concerts, festivals and open-house events. Beyond free passes, RAD Summer Staycation is also about celebrating free summertime experiences throughout Allegheny County.

Here’s our biggest piece of advice: Check back to regularly, especially in the mornings, because we promise more passes are coming. The message of “New passes available monthly” is auto-generated by RAD Pass’ third-party system and unable to be changed at this time, even though most of our assets will be replenishing offers daily.

Thank you for your patience as we try something new.  This is our first time offering the RAD Summer Staycation, and we are doing our best to address the first-timer hiccups and make sure you have the chance to enjoy a great day at one of your regional assets.


James Santelli – Communications Manager, Allegheny Regional Asset District

Questions about the RAD Summer Staycation program? Check out the FAQs on our Staycation page. Questions about your RAD Pass reservation? Head to the Contact Us page of

Gabi – Robinson Library

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Free Resume Builder!

The other day a patron came to ask me to help him print a resume that he had just created. As soon as I saw it I knew that he wouldn’t be able to print it without paying for it. Of course, it wasn’t a one-time purchase either. He was disappointed. But this gave me the perfect opportunity to promote Resume Builder through Power Library!

If you haven’t used this resource you are missing out. It’s a very easy fill-in-the-blank form that will create a very basic, but professional looking resume as a PDF.

It does have its drawbacks though. It can’t be edited and it does say at the bottom that the resume has been Prepared by

But for the patron who is looking for a free, simple, no frills resume then Resume Builder from Power Library is the way to go.

Tracy – Monroeville Public Library

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Using Lists on the Catalog

Have you ever had a patron ask for a book recommendation in a genre that you don’t read? Or maybe they’re looking for books on a specific topic? Find the answers you’re looking for by searching pre-made lists on our library’s catalog. 

To begin, you’ll want to navigate to the catalog’s home screen. From there, several lists appear for you to browse in a carousel.  

If you’re looking for something specific, look at the search bar at the top of the screen. You’ll want to change the searching filter from ‘Keyword’ to ‘List’ before typing in your search term. Some helpful lists to try are ‘wordless picture books,’ ‘mysteries,’ and ‘pop-up books.’ The catalog will bring up lists created by librarians and patrons. All the books in the lists are items found within Allegheny County.  Happy searching!

-Erin Weaver, Bridgeville Public Library

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