April 28, 2017
Readers’ advisory is a major focus for the County of Lennox and Addington Libraries in Napanee, Ontario. The busy and popular library system makes it a priority to help patrons find the perfect book. Heading up that effort is Catherine Coles, a well-regarded readers’ advisory expert. As the Manager of Library Services, it’s important to Catherine that the readers’ advisory materials her library offers are effective, eye-catching, and professionally designed. For several years now, Catherine has successfully used LibraryAware to create social media graphics, flyers, monthly e-newsletters, and customized NextReads newsletters. These fun pieces do more than create a great reader experience; LibraryAware has helped County of Lennox and Addington Libraries get more books out the door.
“RA is a big part of our overall marketing strategy and LibraryAware has played an important role,” explained Catherine. “The promotion of recreational reading is an important part of what we do. While there is no question that libraries are ‘more than just books,’ collections are still our bread and butter. We want to get books out the door for stats but more than that, we want it to be a good experience for the reader so they will be repeat customers.”
County of Lennox and Addington Libraries have effectively used emails to reach their patrons. Catherine likes to create several custom reading list newsletters using the LibraryAware templates -- and her patrons clearly appreciate it. Her newsletters are incredibly popular with patrons, consistently earning an enviable 35% average open rate.
And that popularity translates to visits at the circulation desk. “After a title is included in a newsletter or promoted on social media, I usually expect to see an uptick in holds. This is true even for older titles that wouldn’t otherwise have any buzz.”
One key to their successful open rate is that they have been able to build their subscriber lists. “We include the NextReads newsletter subscription list on the library card registration form. Most people will sign up for at least one newsletter in the process.”
Building on their email success, County of Lennox and Addington Libraries have used LibraryAware to expand their email reach to include a monthly news and events e-newsletter with an equally impressive open rate. Both newsletters feature a colorful and whimsical header which reflects their library and their community.
Email is only part of their strategy. Catherine makes sure the materials are getting to her patrons wherever they’ll most likely see them. Sometimes that means a printed item for patrons to pick up; other times that means an electronic piece for social media.
“With LibraryAware, I can put together a flyer quickly. Having the templates there saves me time, which is valuable in itself,” she said.
Catherine especially loves how easy it is to use our templates as a base to create additional content. “One tip I would pass along is that one doesn’t need to limit themselves to the read-alike graphics in the templates. I normally log in to NoveList and pull read-alike suggestions and ‘here’s why’ content from there -- then switch up the books and the fonts and color swatches in LibraryAware. I’m sure that most users are aware that the templates are customizable, but they might not know how easily this can be accomplished using both tools together.”
The entire staff at County of Lennox & Addington are avid readers who love helping patrons find the right book for them. LibraryAware makes their readers' advisory efforts easy and effective. “I’m a fan!” says Catherine.
Catherine Coles is the Manager of Library Services for County of Lennox & Addington Libraries. She loves books and her dog, Poochie. You can follow Poochie’s book reviews on Instagram.