February 12, 2016

Pop Culture: Your Secret Weapon for Suggesting New Reads

Working in a library is about building connections -- with colleagues, with readers, with the community at large. It’s not always an easy task, since every library and community has different needs and different ways of meeting those needs. But one surefire way to build lasting connections is by matching readers with books they want to read. Satisfied readers are repeat library visitors and outspoken library advocates. But matching readers with books isn’t always as simple as it sounds -- pleasing everyone from picky readers to readers who don’t know what they’re looking for can make it a struggle to find the perfect read. Sometimes looking for inspiration in unlikely areas gives the best results, so next time you’re helping a patron find something good to read, why not pull from pop culture?

Just for the Fans

Everyone is a fan of something, and leveraging that something leads to appealing results in the readers’ advisory world. We may only have appeal terms attached to books and audiobooks in NoveList, but appeals aren’t limited to literature. Appeal terms are also a great way to think about the “hook” of different media forms and why they catch on with fans. Think about a popular TV show like Downton Abbey -- fans love the compelling characters, the strong sense of time and place, and of course, the high-class intrigue. Compelling historical fiction with a strong sense of place and a hint (ok, maybe more than just a hint) of intrigue -- now that we can work with!

NoveList’s For Fans Of… and If You Like… lists are the place to start when you’ve got a reader on your hands who can’t get enough of a certain TV series, musician, or film. These readers have read all the books, watched all the movies, follow fan accounts on Tumblr, and speculate endlessly with other fans. Simply put, they know their stuff. That can be intimidating, and as one NoveLista said, “My biggest fear as a librarian was: I’m a nerd. I’m not tuned into what’s hip.” But that can be used to your advantage; these readers already know what they like and why it is they like it. The For Fans Of… lists have been carefully curated to reflect the appeals of the media they represent, so superfans are sure to find something they’ll enjoy.

FFO lists make display-building a cinch, and the Readers’ Advisory kits available in LibraryAware cut your work in half by providing attractive and eye-catching print pieces for your displays. From Divergent to Downton Abbey, there’s a little something for every fan and we’re adding more pieces all the time. Creating custom pieces for your displays is easier than ever in LibraryAware, and our regular Tuesday Tune-up live sessions will both train and inspire you to create visually pleasing and effective pieces for use in your library. (Psst: they're archived, too)

Ra packets

Keeping Up and Staying Up

The cycle of what’s hot and what’s not moves at an exponential pace, and with so many resources and places to go for information, it can be hard sifting through everything and finding exactly what you need to make a connection with your readers. The NextReads Popular Culture newsletter (check out the January 2016 issue!) does some of that work for you. If variety is the spice of life, this bi-monthly newsletter is the spice rack. It covers music, film, sports, clothing, and a bunch of other interesting topics.

If you want to get caught up with a specific genre that’s getting a lot of buzz, the Keeping Up… pages in NoveList are your go-to stop. You can find recent titles, readers’ advisory how-to’s, book display tips, and print items you can use in your library. The Keeping Up… pages are your way to “bone up” if your conversation with a reader takes you in a direction you’re not comfortable with. And while you’re in NoveList, don’t forget to browse and don’t forget to encourage your readers and superfans to browse -- help them help themselves and they’ll be on their way to finding exactly what they’re looking for.

The Books to Movies lists are another great way to stay on top of what’s hot and what’s getting buzz. Movie buffs abound these days so stay on top of what’s getting adapted for the big screen. From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to Captain America: Civil War (May 6 can’t come fast enough for this Marvel superfan!!) to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2016 is a huge year for books-to-movies and you don’t want to be behind or miss opportunities for displays and programming. NoveList now catalogs Books to Movies as a genre, so you can find all the books adapted for the big screen by typing GX books to movies in the search bar.

Search bar

Lastly, don’t forget to stay tuned in. See what’s trending on Facebook and Twitter. Listen to what the pop culture aficionados are saying. Share your own knowledge and fandom with your colleagues and visitors to the library. That’s the kind of excitement that builds connections and keeps them strong.

What are you excited about this year? What kind of buzz are you hearing around your library and your community? Share it in the comments!

Cassi Hall is the Communications Specialist at NoveList.

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Fandom, Fanfiction, and Readers' Advisory
October 22, 2015

Just for the Fans
February 15, 2016

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