December 30, 2019
As a public librarian, I’m not sure I could ever know enough about the reading tastes and interests of my community. I remember one desperate moment where I put up a Bastille Day display, hoping books would stay on there longer than 24 hours (I worked in a voracious library), only to overhear someone immediately explain, “Oh! A biography of Robespierre!” and remove the one title I was sure would linger, lonely, on our display table.
Nothing in our library’s circulation data hinted at the possibility that a French Revolution display would be consumed in 6 hours and most (maybe even all) of the people who checked out one of the books on that display hadn’t expected to be interested in the French Revolution when they walked into the library. They happened upon something that caught their eye while browsing.
"Browsing" is such a mundane word for the glory of happenstance when you go looking for one thing and take home just the thing, which you weren’t even looking for at the time. Browsing is a large part of the value of NoveList Select in a library catalog, but until the release of Reader Insights in the Select Analytics Dashboard, we weren’t able to see the browsing in the same way I saw the library patron get excited about a biography. It’s not a surprise that we see NoveList Select-wide most of the top-ten titles, authors, and series are the obvious: Where the Crawdads Sing is the top title, James Patterson is the top author, and Jack Reacher and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are in a heated battle for #1 series position.
But we also see interesting outliers. One library system noticed that Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez (a NoveList #libfaves20 pick) was in their top titles but didn’t have the copies or holds of the other top titles. I’ll leave it to some of the more data-savvy people to brainstorm why that would be the case. If you’re looking for ideas of what to do when nonfiction sneaks into your top-ten titles, I’ve got you covered with five easy next steps:
We’ve only recently released Reader Insights as part of the NoveList Select Analytics Dashboard, and we’re excited to see what other trends come out of that browsing data, as well as how libraries use it. Stay tuned!
Have NoveList Select and looking to see your analytics? You can request access to the Analytics Dashboard by emailing email@example.com.
Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing at NoveList. She is currently listening to Educated by Tara Westover.