Over the last few weeks, on the Browser's Corner, we have been running the BPL staff's favorite reads of 2013. These are the favorite books we read in 2013; they did not have to be published in 2013. We have had more staff participation this year than ever before, and it has come from more departments than last year too. I am very proud of the level of service to leisure readers this staff recommendations blog continues to provide.
We wait until after the hoopla of the end of the year to run these posts for a two reasons. First, with everyone trying to use up their vacation time at the end of the year, it is hard to wrap everything up by 12/31.
And second, and more important from a service perspective, we run an annual display in January on the "Best Books" of the past year according to a huge variety of lists (both literary and genre). This display is extremely popular with our patrons; they expect it and look forward to it. Just as that display of the best books according to the critics is wrapping up, we begin the online list of our staff's favorite reads to keep the "best" recommendations flowing.
For the patrons, it is a great way to see what we all loved last year, and since they have to be books we own in our collection, there is a good chance a patron can go home with one of the recommendations that day. But also, these posts implicitly showcase the wide range of personal tastes the staff has AND the breadth of our collection to our patrons. They can easily see how many of us are ready and willing to help them, while also identifying titles they might not have even thought about reading until we mentioned them.
It is a wonderful example of how an entire library can provide useful RA service as a team. Each of us only had to write a few annotations, but taken together we have an impressive amount of personalized "best" selections for our patrons. It took very little time and money and played off of our personal reading. No training or "expertise" was required, yet our service here is exceptional.
I hope you can use this example to energize you to do something similar. Boost your service to leisure readers by pooling resources to show your patrons what you can do for them. Don't wait for them to ask, simply start doing.
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