Nancy Pearl was in town

Last week Nancy Pearl was in town for the 50th anniversary of the Southern Adirondack Library System and gave a delightful talk at their annual dinner. She also presented several other programs, including a session on readers advisory for children & teens. And even though I’ve never done any real RA work, the librarians I work with do. Going to events like this helps me keep a bit better in touch with the real world of libraries! Little did I know that I’d learn so much in that hour. Nancy’s framework for looking at the appeal of books is so elegantly effective, yet simple enough for my non-literary brain to wrap itself around.

I won’t attempt to write up my notes since my good friend and librarian extraordinaire, Sue Rokos, did such a great writeup.

Some excerpts from Sue’s excellent post.

… every book of narrative fiction and non-fiction fits
at least one of Nancy Pearl’s four potential doorways through which
readers enter a book:Doorway # 1 is Story

This doorway is the largest – if someone says “I couldn’t put it down”
or “I couldn’t wait to see what happens”, they are looking for story…..

Doorway # 2 is Character
When someone talks about liking three dimensional characters, fully
developed characters, they enter books through Doorway #2…..

Doorway # 3 is Setting
Setting can be thought of as another character. If someone says they
felt like they were in that place in a book, that’s setting…..

Doorway # 4 is Language
Books with language as the biggest doorway are usually the award
winners. In general, they are books that move at a slower pace, where
“voice” is often talked about….

Do read her whole post to get more info and her book suggestions!


One thought on “Nancy Pearl was in town”

  1. Thanks Polly and Sue for the excellent summary of Nancy Pearl’s presentation. We are fortunate that she was able to spend the time with us and she was so willing to share her Readers Advisory wisdom.

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