October 22, 2019
One of the best parts about my job is that I get to talk with lots of librarians from around the world about the struggles and joys of their jobs — and often a lot about those struggles. Some problems are unique (a moose sleeping on the library’s front steps), some are shared by many libraries (how to select books for a library where the demographics are changing), and some are universal. One of the most common (and universal) problems I hear librarians talk about is:
How do I promote the new books in my collection?
We hear this from librarians around the world, from libraries of all sizes serving all kinds of demographics. We know some books will circulate no matter what we do (James Patterson, J.K. Rowling, J.D. Robb, etc.), but many of the new books libraries buy need a little push. They are wonderful books, perfect, even, in the hands of the right reader, if only that reader knew that book was waiting for them at the library.
So how to get that information out there?
We have lots of ideas!
A new book newsletter is a no-brainer, but it can also seem a bit daunting. How do you know which books to put in the newsletter? How do you find the time to sort through all the new books you’re adding to the collection? If you have a service that automatically puts new books from your catalog in a newsletter, how do you know that it’s putting in the hidden gems you are excited for people to read and not the replacement copy of Bleak House you just bought?
NextReads newsletters are an easy answer to these questions. How do you find the time to sort through the new books for the gems? You don’t have to! NoveList’s expert readers’ advisory librarians have read all the reviews and sorted through everything for you. No poorly reviewed books included. No “new” copies of old classics included. And the bestsellers are on their own list, keeping the focus on books your readers might not otherwise hear about. Bonus: each of the NextReads newsletters includes a theme with older titles, so your new book newsletter is helping circulate those books sitting on your shelves, too.
Your library’s website is prime space to tell readers all the new books being added to your collection. Book carousels (aka book rivers or book widgets) are a bright, visual way to show off the new books in your collection, as well as staff favorites. LibraryAware can turn those NextReads newsletters into book widgets with a couple of clicks and a copy of some code. They even update automatically. Or make your own newsletter and turn that into a widget. Looking for ideas? There are lots of libraries out there with pretty widgets that make you wish for space on your TBR list.
(Kidding – there’s always space on a TBR list.)
Displays may seem like a copout because of course you have a new book display; you’re a library. But if you’re anything like me when I worked at a library, you have a new book display with all the new books crammed in together. We broke our new books into biography, nonfiction, and fiction, but it was still a lot to sort through, especially if you didn’t know the name of any of the authors on the shelves, and your favorites are checked out. When there is too much choice, it’s hard to choose.
What about using LibraryAware to create some targeted new book displays? Some ideas:
You have more book knowledge than most of your patrons and access to some fantastic book resources they might not know about (tell ‘em about NoveList!). Use that knowledge to help them sort through all the new books for the one they need to read.
Social media is the perfect “set it and forget it” book promotion tool. If you’re a LibraryAware customer, when you get that NextReads advance list, go in and schedule Facebook and Twitter posts about the new books coming on those NextReads lists. Think about how good you’ll feel to know that your new book recommendations on social are scheduled two months ahead of time. And you’ll look like the bookiest of book experts when you’re posting about the awesome book your patrons haven’t heard about yet.
Any book sitting on your shelves, especially your new-book shelves, is a book in search of their reader. And any reader walking into your library is a reader in search of a book. You get to play matchmaker, and if that match doesn’t work out, it’s okay. You won’t run into the book and the reader avoiding each other at parties.
So, get out there and get creative promoting those new books! We’d love to hear your ideas.
Learn more about LibraryAware here.
Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing at NoveList. She is currently listening to Peter the Great by Robert Massie.