December 28, 2018

Readers’ advisory resolutions for the new year

It’s the start of a new year and you’re probably either making resolutions or telling everyone who asks that you *don’t* make resolutions. I fall somewhere in between, setting intentions—which are really resolutions that feel less resolute. I like to think it gives me a little more flexibility, since life has been known to toss lemons without also tossing the necessary sugar to make lemonade.

I’ll save you from my personal intentions and instead focus on the ones that relate to my work, and probably also to yours. Every year, since the beginning of my library career, I’ve set an intention to be a better readers’ advisor and come up with a couple of strategies to do that. Also since the beginning of my library career, NoveList has helped me with those strategies.

Now that I work at NoveList, I have a bit more insight into all of the things we have available. If you’ve also set resolutions to become a better readers’ advisor in 2019 and are looking for strategies, let me take you on a tour of the resources NoveList has to help you. 

Resolve to do more promotion of your collection

If one of your goals for 2019 is to help your patrons find the hidden gems on your shelves, here are some resources to help you with your promotions.

  • Promote your collection to increase circulation and engage readers: NoveList offers several webinars a year on readers’ advisory and library topics. This webinar was by far our single most popular and for good reason. PJ Bentley, Sarah Hart Coatsworth, Heidi Wyma, and Sara Leady discuss their different strategies for promoting their library collections. The webinar recording and PowerPoint slides are available on our website. Bonus: Keep an eye out for more blog posts throughout the year on promoting your collection from the speakers. They had too many good ideas to fit in the hour!
  • Join the Book Squad: If you haven’t signed up for our Book Squad newsletters, 2019 is the year to start! NoveList librarians send out regular newsletters with tips for keeping up with the latest trends in reading. If that wasn’t awesome enough, Book Squad newsletters also include free printables to help you promote your collection, including flyers promoting cringeworthy personal essays, Australian mystery series, nonfiction suggestions for Sherlock Holmes fans, and more. As a bonus, LibraryAware customers can customize these flyers.

Resolve to read outside your comfort zone

This is a perennial intention of mine, though it’s manifested in many different ways over the course of the past ten years—everything from reading at least one book in every genre a year to looking over the diversity of books (and authors) I’m reading and setting a plan to do better.

  • Up your genre game: NoveList is partnering with LibraryReads to offer a series of genre education webinars throughout 2019. Together, we’re covering the basics of Science Fiction; Crime, Mystery, and Thrillers; Fantasy; Romance; and Horror. Of course, there are many other resources in NoveList for learning about genre, including genre articles, Recommended Reads lists, awards lists, and more. If you’re not sure where to find genre information in NoveList, selecting Genre from the Browse By menu will get you started. 

Screenshot of NoveList database with browse by menu

Resolve to get more training

Ah, training. So many things to learn and so little time. If your goals are to learn how to use NoveList better, we’ve got tools for you.

  • Train with NoveList: If cool NoveList features like author characteristics are new to you, you’re not alone. NoveList’s resources are so extensive that even those of us who work on the inside forget about all of them. Our Train with NoveList newsletter is specifically designed to highlight tips and tricks of using NoveList, for both new users and for people like me who have used NoveList for years. Signup and let training come to you.
  • Watch a YouTube tutorial: Got a couple minutes for some training? We’ve got YouTube videos for you. The videos are short (usually under two minutes), closed-captioned (so you can watch them on a slow desk shift), and targeted to specific needs (like searching for genres). If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got some playlists made up with our best NoveList 101 videos and NoveList Power User videos (and everything in between). 

Resolve to make NoveList work better for you

Sometimes the best way to be better at readers’ advisory is to use the tools you have…better. If NoveList is one of those tools, our resources will help you find the perfect book for your patrons just a little faster.

  • Folders! Alerts!: When I first came to NoveList, I learned a host of tips and tricks that would have been so helpful when I was still working a reference desk. Like, did you know that you can set up personal folders in NoveList? Or setup alerts to be notified of new content? We’ve got some blog posts to help you learn more about these features that make NoveList work better for you.  
  • NoveList Select: This one is specific to those libraries who get NoveList recommendations in their catalog. (Didn’t know this was possible? Learn more about NoveList Select for Catalog.) Getting curated read-alikes in your catalog is cool enough, but there’s more you can do to make that NoveList Select subscription work best for your library and your patrons. First off, have you upgraded yet? Our newest version of NoveList Select features a cool mix-and-match section where patrons can pick the story elements that matter to them and see books only in your collection that meet their needs. And we’ve added Accelerated Reader. When you’re upgrading, be sure to ask the support team about On The Shelf and setting up local holdings. We’ve got a great launch guide with more information on making the most out of your NoveList Select subscription.

Resolve to find more ways to talk with patrons about books

Sometimes the best way to up your RA game is to have better conversations with your readers.

  • Talking themes: 2018 was the year NoveList introduced themes to our metadata and boy! Have they made an impact! Themes are those recurring plot elements found in fiction and knowing a book’s theme can help you figure out if a book will be a reader’s catnip or cat *ahem*. Knowing if your reader loves (or hates) Secret baby romances will help you figure out if Lord of the Privateers is a good recommendation. We’ve got suggestions for ways to use themes with your patrons and a webinar to give you even more tools for your RA belt.
  • Talking pop culture: Based on the recommendations of NoveList’s Book Discovery team, I gave my husband All The Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of the Wire by Jonathan Abrams for Christmas. Hearing my (not a big reader) stepson pipe up with, “The Wire is a cool show. I think I want to read that next,” was a good reminder that pop culture can be a stealthy way to connect readers to books. We’ve collected all our resources about finding books based on popular culture in one place, just to make it easier for you.

No matter your readers’ advisory resolutions for 2019, hopefully these resources give you some places to start. If you’ve got other tips and tricks you’d like to learn about or if there are ways we can up our RA game and better help you, let us know!


Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing for NoveList.


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