An Exploration of Reading Promotion and Readers' Advisory at Chinese Public Libraries
Reading promotion and readers' advisory (RA) are key services of the public library. Reading as a concept and an activity has a long history in China. This study is to first have a thorough examination of reading promotion and RA through the literature, and then to focus on exploring the two main research questions: what the current state of RA services is at Chinese public libraries and what Chinese public library users are interested in reading. To conduct the study, 236 libraries at the provincial and municipal levels are chosen as representatives. Some key findings of the study include that Chinese libraries have been paying more and more attention to the importance of reading and reading promotion; a variety of reading promotion activities are being carried out in public libraries nationwide; Chinese librarians are proactive in promoting reading and applying new technologies (e.g., WeChat, Blog and library website) to reach out patrons; nonfiction reading is still considered vital in Chinese culture. This study suggests more can be done to improve the service than providing new titles on the library website which is currently the main reading promotion activity online. Libraries should more actively provide RA services (e.g., writing book reviews and developing RA software) and consider introducing formal RA services to user services to overcome the weakness of inadequacy of explicit RA.
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