March 31, 2020

From Australia-bound to homebound

What seems like forever ago (or yesterday), I’d pored over an Australia travel guide, gotten my visa, bought a recommended travel blanket, downloaded books (because, librarian) then…COVID-19. How quickly things change.  Disappointing to miss seeing Sydney and  The Royal Botanic Garden, near the hotel I’d chosen; however, I do feel fortunate that I was still able to present virtually for the NSW seminar (link ICYMI).  

I’d planned to meet several librarians, including Kylie Peckham, who works with Monash Public Libraries and as an EBSCO trainer. (NoveList customers: check out her Recommended Reads list of beloved books, found under Staff Faves!).   

Also on the trip agenda: sharing NoveList tips with library staff at Tamworth and Queanbeyan Libraries, but as I’m sure is true for many of you whose travel plans and daily life have been dramatically altered, there’s some comfort in knowing that we’re all figuring this out together. 

I feel certain you’re also pivoting and thinking about ways to continue to do the good work you do best, helping patrons. To help facilitate those efforts, here are some NoveList tips that I’d planned to share while in Australia. I hope you’ll find these useful as you help readers in a socially distant kind of way. 

Book Clubs: Want to host chats and discussions online? My colleague, Jessica Lin, is part of a book club that did just that; read her tips here. My book club met virtually this week, and members were talking about needing to read books that are more uplifting. NoveList can help you identify books with that tone. Download The Secret Language of Books to see all of the terms along with a definition of each.  

It’s easy to do so right from the home page: 


Pair ‘hopeful’ with another term as desired (choose ‘character’ from the drop-down, select relatable) to add other components of interest. 

Click on the RSS feed to create an alert. You’ll receive an email (as frequently as you’d like!) from NoveList when books with these characteristics are added to NoveList. You can edit or remove these alerts as needed. 

Check our listing of Australia-focused materials for book clubs

Storytimes: Use this same technique as you consider hosting online storytimes, or posting lists of books for parents that will ensure fun at-home read-alouds.   

Tone terms to consider: silly, funny. Also, terms for writing style, such as participatory, will get you books that are fun to share. Our two-letter field codes will help you identify these quickly, and using folders as you work in NoveList will help you have a place to stash the good books you find. Use the appeal mixer from the home page or construct a specific search. Limit further using choices found on the left panel. 

Let us know the kinds of content you’d find helpful. For example, we have media mentions for US and Canadian librarians/library staff; what are shows that would help *you* when you get questions from patrons about a book they heard about on a TV show? Ideas? Email us

We’re also hoping to find more NoveList advisors. Interested? Learn more here

Stay well. 

Kathy Stewart is a NoveList Consultant. While she is waiting for Trent Dalton to write another book, she’s reading The Astonishing Life of August March by Aaron Jackson. 


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