Five Libraries Collaborate On Reader’s Advisory Project

Five libraries (four in Queensland and one in New Zealand) collaborated to create Beyond The Lavender Keeper Reading Map in recognition of of Australia’s 2013 Get Reading Campaign.

TLK Cover
Click on the image to read the booklet

The challenge was to produce a reading map of The Lavender Keeper to coincide with a visit to four Queensland public libraries by author Fiona McIntosh in mid-September as part of Australia’s 2013 Get Reading Campaign.

The project began six weeks ago when Alison Miles from CityLibraries Townsville asked if I was interested in doing another reading map (see our previous collaborative reading map Beyond Chocolat) along with three other librarians – Jo Beazley from Toowoomba Regional Libraries, Louise Pieper from Gold Coast Libraries, and Tina Cavanough from Moreton Bay Region Libraries – who were all hosting Fiona McIntosh at their libraries within the same week.

Alison and I had worked well together in the past so of course I said ‘Yes’ and volunteered to lead the reading map design. A couple of days later Alison shared some Google Documents for the team to use with a brief set of clear guidelines and expectations. And we got to it. Themes were discussed and voted on and books were shortlisted against criteria. There were two criteria for inclusion in the reading map:

  1. The title closely matches at least one of the main themes of The Lavender Keeper and
  2. The title is found in all five library collections.

The reading map design further dictated the number of titles selected and the amount of content per title.

I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with others (some for the first time), extend and expand my reading knowledge, and connecting readers with our collections in a visually attractive way. I thought we worked well together as a team and produced a reading map to be proud of.

My next reading map adventure will be the culmination of a ‘his and hers’ reading map of 1Q84. Boy will that be a goodie!

If you’d like me to work on a reading map with you, get in touch; I’m most likely to say ‘Yes’.


  1. raewynwyn says:

    Love, love, love the idea! Thank you for sharing it Sally. I can see this as a project for the Bookworms group who meet at Winton Library. They have yet to be convinced of the merits of online tools so I plan to host a Reading Map collaboration around a book of their choosing then publish it online for them to view. I know they will be as impressed as I was by this effective idea.

    1. Sally says:

      That sounds awesome Raewynwyn. I look forward to seeing what the group comes up with.

  2. Alyson Baker says:

    Hi – I did a similar thing once at Nelson Public Libraries — on Slight Trick of the Mind / Mitch Cullin. But I did it physically – on a board with coiled links coming out to other items in our colleciton that related to all the themes in the book. I thought it was great – but there were many who were just confused 🙂 Doing an online version is probably a lot more intuitive. I would love to try an online one sometime!

    1. Sally says:

      Hi Alison, I LIKE the idea of a 3-d reading map and would love to see what that might look like.

  3. sengaw says:

    I find your Reading Map venture very exciting! The Chocolat one was amazing and I especially love the element of collaboration you’ve involved in creating them. You’ve now taken it to a whole new level by collaborating with four other libraries! Amazing! I see this Reading Map concept of your,s Sally having huge potential for the school library sector. You should consider delivering a workshop showing other groups of librarians how to make your idea work!

    1. Sally says:

      Thanks so much Senga but credit must also go to Alison Miles from CityLibraries Townsville for asking me to participate and to Paul Brown from Auckland Libraries for exposing me to the idea of a Reading Map. As for a workshop, well let’s see what happens.

    2. Anonymous says:

      We’ll both blame Paul 🙂 Him and his inspirational ideas! I agree with you sengaw, the natural extension of this cross-library collaboration and practical application of concepts is to develop training for staff. It is definitely something I’ve had in mind. 🙂

      1. sengaw says:

        I’d love to hear how you progress it, especially if you collaborate with some school colleagues.

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