January 2, 2019

Steal this idea: Best of lists

The NoveList team recently hosted a webinar about promoting your library’s collection to engage readers. Each panelist shared examples of the creative ways they are increasing interest in their collections. We are continuing the conversation with examples from two libraries that use “best of” lists to keep their collections relevant and seen by their patrons. 

Everyone loves lists. Just look at any magazine cover, Pinterest feed or popular blog post. They all snag readers with “Top 10 Solutions for…” and “7 Easy Ways to…” lists. And in just a few weeks, you’ll start seeing “Best Books of 2018” for every genre all over the internet. So why not create lists like this customized for your library, featuring the books your patrons checked out the most this year? Or how about the books highest in demand, determined by your holds lists? You can even shine a spotlight on those often-overlooked gems in your collection with “10 Books You May Have Missed.” There are so many possibilities. Your library’s integrated library system (ILS) and circulation data offer great resources for creating lists your patrons will love. 

I chatted recently with two libraries that are creating book lists and book displays based on lists like this. It’s easier than you think! Here is how these two libraries got started.

Sarah Wegley, Marketing and Programming Coordinator, Crete Public Library District, Crete, Illinois:

Inspired by a LibraryAware presentation on library merchandising tips, I was curious to know for myself what the most popular fiction books of 2017 were among my library's patrons. To find the answer, I enlisted the help of Patron Services for retrieving circulation statistics. She contacted our consortium's support staff and they created a custom report that allowed us to set date parameters (January 1 - December 31) for the data we wanted. I was surprised that no one had requested a report like this before, but pleased at this development because it meant other libraries in our system would now be able to create their own reports --if they wished to duplicate our marketing efforts.

Once we had obtained the top 100 book titles and authors, I put together a display titled “Crete’s Hottest Books of 2017: Enjoy them s’more!” using a campfire theme to convey the hot concept. Taking this one step further, I created a small label for each book that had a thermometer and the ranking of where the book was on our hot list. Please note this was a gimmick on my part and not intended to indicate that book #1 was mathematically a certain percentage more popular than books lower on the listing. We weren’t that scientific! If several books had been checked out for the same number of times, I used their alphabetical order to place them in the ranking.

A picture of the library's book display featuring the hottest books of 2017

I used Library Aware to create a flyer listing the top 50 books and included copies for people to take home. Our patrons loved this display! The books were checked out regularly, requiring me to keep additional titles on the list close at hand to keep it filled.

The following month I tried promoting our top 100 nonfiction books the same way, but this display generated much less interest. I’m planning to use this display concept again next summer for the most popular fiction titles of 2018 but using a different theme for the hook.

Caleigh Haworth, Training and Communications Coordinator, Marigold Library System, Alberta, Canada

“Why don’t you have the new John Grisham?”

Our libraries get questions like this all the time! Bestsellers and items featured in the media are usually so popular that they may be out filling holds for months before they can get a chance to be on display in the library.

Two years ago, one library staff person told me that she had patrons who loved audiobooks but often didn’t realize what was new and available to place a hold on because they were always out. It hit me that this must also be true for books and DVDs. So, I asked myself, how could we better let patrons know about the popular new and notable items?

With help from LibraryAware’s fabulous templates, the Top Ten Most Requested flyers were born. Each month I use our ILS to run a report of the books, audiobooks, and DVDs with the most holds. Each library gets print copies of these flyers to post and a digital copy for social media.      

Three images of the library's flyer featuring the top 10 most requested books, audiobooks, and DVD's.

These flyers allow patrons to see that yes, their library does have copies of the latest and greatest materials and gives them a chance to get on the holds lists.

The new year is the perfect time to create your own “Best Books of 2018” lists and we’ve made it easy for LibraryAware customers to get a professional look quickly. Just go to Flyers-Books in the Print: Drag and Drop editor and search “best of.” Your patrons will thank you for it!

Templates made in LibraryAware customers can use to highlight the best books of 2018.

Love the templates, but don’t have LibraryAware? Ask for a demo today.


Kathy Lussier is the Customer Engagement Coordinator for LibraryAware.





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