Every Reader a Book, Every Book Its Reader

A recent article in Library Journal.com , Publisher & Librarians: Two Cultures, One Goa l , by Barbara Fister, offers a useful look at the distinct cultures of the publishing market and the world of the librarian:

For two professions so committed to meeting the needs of the readers, publishers and librarians have distinct cultures.  Put simply,one culture is about developing and selling books; the other is about sharing them and fostering a culture of reading.  But there’s another basic difference, too.  Publishers work closely with authors and use sales figures to tell them what readers want, interpreting those figures like tea leaves.  Librarians work closely with readers, using them as informants to help them select books that will satisfy the diverse tastes of a community.

Ultimately, however, there are more similarities than differences.  Though the reward in each sphere may be different, each hopes to more accurately match readers with enjoyable books.  Both publishers and librarians hope to capture the interest of the reader and to develop a love of reading and exploration.  The two spheres together represent a symbiotic relationship with publishers cultivating talent – the sort of talent that people want to read – and librarians continue to engender curiosity and a love of reading, or as Fister writes:

Though publishing and librarianship may have different cultures, we have a common goal. S.R. Ranganathan put it in a nutshell with two of his famous rules: every reader his book; every book its reader. In an era when publishing opportunities have proliferated and the number of titles being published has skyrocketed, libraries rely on professionals who can do the painstaking work of developing quality books. In turn, publishers need librarians, who help spark a love of reading among children, sustain it through the stages of life, and know what’s important to readers.

The Lexile Framework for Reading has something to offer here as well.  Both publishers and librarians continue to learn the value of the Lexile measure – a measure that allows readers to match themselves to books based on their reading level.  And the Lexile Find a Book tool goes a step further.  The Find a Book tool allows readers to match themselves to books based on both text difficulty and reader interest. This simple utility allows readers to not only match themselves to the ‘right’ book, but to also more efficiently discover new areas of interest and previously undiscovered authors – something both publishers and librarians can get behind.

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