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Reading Maps: Readers’ Advisory on Steroids

by on December 12, 2013

Ever read a book and wanted to learn more about the place, the event, the person, or the activities? Yes? Well, that happens for patrons, too! This is where readers’ advisory comes into play. Librarians are in a position to help patrons find that next good book. We use booklists, displays, and word of mouth to help patrons find materials they will enjoy. These great readers’ advisory tools are useful and necessary, but are limited in what they can offer.

To provide whole collection readers’ advisory, new tools are needed. One online tool that we are using at Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) is Reading Maps. A reading map is readers’ advisory on steroids! Reading maps provide suggestions for all formats found in a library: books, movies, music, photographs, electronic resources, and databases. They also delve into the many themes from the book: setting, people, and events. The possible topics are endless and can be addictive to play with!

In 2012, a co-worker, Krista Meier, read an article about reading maps and shared it with our team. The examples of reading maps provided in the article were inspiring, but on stagnant websites – they weren’t that interesting to view. But, we both thought reading maps were a great idea and we wanted to make them more dynamic. That got me thinking about Prezi — in Prezi we could create movement, add video, include images and, most importantly, make it look cool!

We teamed up and set to creating reading maps. Krista worked on The Night Circus and I started with Leviathan. We started from scratch: we needed to learn Prezi and learn how to create reading maps. The following are lessons we learned:



  • Create an outline with content and live links before using the software (see below for our guide)
  • Include images, videos

Legal and technical issues:

  • Accessibility
    • Prezi cannot be read by screen readers, so a PDF outline of content is a must
  • Copyright
    • Cite your sources
    • Use images from databases or subscribe to a photo service (e.g. photos.com)
  • Browsers and Apps
    • Test the reading map on as many internet browsers and apps as you can

Great topic ideas include:

  • Library and community events
  • National library initiatives (Summer Reading Program, Banned Books Week)
  • High interest topics
    • Movies based on books
    • Television shows
    • Famous authors (dead or alive)

Creating reading maps does take some time, but after mastering the software, it will take just a couple of hours. Making sure that time creating reading maps is well spent is important. Fortunately, both Prezi and Pearltrees track how many views an entry has. Statistics are really useful to show supervisors!

Exploring all the possibilities that books have to offer through whole collection readers’ advisory is a great way to share the services libraries offer! But, more importantly, they are a ton of fun to create!

Our guide for building an outline:

  • Title/Subject
  • Book cover
  • Author biography
  • Reviews
  • Book trailer
  • Read-alikes
  • Library resources
    • Databases
    • NoveList
    • Catalog
    • Recommended websites
    • Music recommendations
    • Movies recommendations
    • Historical (or current) figure/events re-enactments
  • Genre info
    • Link to other reading maps that might be interesting
    • Link to library’s website
  • Citation info
    • Self
    • Library
    • Section with references of sources used
  • Social media
    • GoodReads
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
  • Photos
    • Of author
    • Book
    • Subject matter
  • Videos
    • Interviews
    • Book trailer
    • Subject matter
  • Local information
    • events
    • people

Now, create your own and share it here!