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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Reading: Try Lists From Other Libraries to Shake Things Up

The other day I was reading the latest issue of Booklist and I saw a review by my former supervisor Kathy.  It was a great review but it made me think of something important to share with all of you.

Her review listed 2 excellent readalike suggestions, but they also made me giggle. Not to go into the details because it is the overall point that matters, but the titles were 2 that we both loved to hand-sell to patrons when we worked together.

This made me think about my own go-to titles that I mention frequently when working with readers.  And then it got me thinking about the larger issue of popular titles to suggest at one library versus another.

Your local library can give AWESOME suggestions. I know Kathy and I did at the BPL, but we all also need to acknowledge that if that same patron went to another library, even if it was only down the street, and especially if it were hundreds of miles away, they could get completely different yet just as AWESOME suggestions.

Just like Kathy or I have our current favorite go-to titles, so too do our colleagues all over the country. But thanks to the web, we can get out of our suggestion ruts and offer our patrons an entirely new perspective on what good book they can read next. These patrons might even discover an entirely new subgenre that they love but never knew about.

This is also a great tactic to use with those patrons who say, “I have already read everything you have.” Of course this is untrue, but what that patron is telling you is that he or she is not longer finding inspiration from your suggestions.

Well, let’s shake things up and offer our patrons reading lists from around the corner or across the country.  That should inspire them to find something new to love.

Here are a few libraries that make it very easy for anyone, anywhere to use their suggested reading lists.

The first is Kathy’s new library, Skokie [IL] Public Library, which puts up easy to access and filter suggested reading lists here.

Lots of libraries do this, but a few go a step further and provide personalized staff reading lists that both promote the expertise of your staff and allow for more personalized reading lists.

A few that I have highlighted in the past are My Librarian from Multnomah County [OR] Library, the Book Squad from Lawrence [KS] Public Library and Bookology from Downers Grove [IL] Public Library.

How different can the recommendations truly be? Well, for example, over at the Book Squad, Kate likes books about farms.  In my urban community I have plenty of patrons who would love books about farms, but honestly none of my employees [myself included] read them.  Kate can provide me with lots of good suggestions I would never have thought of but which would be great to hand out.

Now it’s your turn to share what you know.  Please feel free to share your library’s online book suggestion lists here in the comments, or if you would rather, email me. I will compile them all in a future post.

In the mean time, start looking outside of yourself and your building for book suggestions and open up your patrons to dozens of new books with just a few clicks of the mouse.


FTWinsor said...

If your library has Bibliocommons, it makes lists like these a snap. My library, Johnson County Library, also in Kansas (*waves at Lawrence*) loves it when I make lists as they're great fodder for social network posts. I've recently done lists for novels based in Chicago, magical academies for adults, books set in the 1980s, and even a reading list for Tony Stark.


Becky said...

I am so jealous of libraries with Bibliocommons. I know my system consider it when we made our migration to Sirsi/Dynix last year. I was not involved in the process but I like Bibliocommons so much more for RA. Unfortunately, RA was not a priority in those choosing an ILS.