May 17, 2016

Surviving summer

Ahhh…summer. Time for fun road trips, relaxing by the beach, and the sweet sounds of children enjoying their break from school.

Why are you making that face, this doesn’t sound familiar to you? We know it’s not all sunshine and beach reads, and that summer is actually a crazy busy time for libraries. But don’t worry, NoveList can help get you and your staff ready for summer and ready for answering the tons of questions that come along with it. Whether you’re dealing with parents worrying over their child’s summer reading or struggling to come up with audiobook lists appropriate for the whole family, we have solutions for you.

Not-so-secret (field) codes

Let’s talk for a minute about field codes. While not a resource designed *specifically* to help you face the challenges that summertime in a library brings, the field codes in NoveList can be your lifeline when you’re faced with difficult or unwieldy readers’ advisory questions.

For the uninitiated, field codes are two-letter codes that allow you to specify which fields you want NoveList to search for you. They help speed up your searching to allow you to find exactly what you want on the first try. So when would you use a field code instead of just using keywords? Maybe you have a reader looking for a quick beach read, but they don’t want to get bogged down in a series and want a standalone title by their favorite romance author (GN Romance AND SA N AND Nora Roberts). Maybe you have a parent looking for an award-winning series book for their mystery-loving 5th grader (AW Y AND SA Y AND GN mystery AND RL 4). Field codes make these tough searches more accessible.

We know using field codes in your day-to-day work can feel a little intimidating -- who has time to memorize all of them? That’s why we’ve gathered a few helpful resources on one convenient page here in the Idea Center: a full list of our field codes, a search strategy, a cheat sheet, and a video tutorial. With field codes in your summertime toolbox, you’ll be more prepared to answer even the trickiest of questions.

Ready, set, go!

For parents and kids, meeting their school’s summer reading requirements is always going to be a priority over the summer. They go to the library looking for help, and we want to help you make sure those parents get everything they need -- and maybe even check out a book (or three!) of their own.

As you likely already know, this year’s Collaborative Summer Library Program theme is wellness, fitness, and sports. We’ve made it easy for you to promote this theme and all your summer reading programming with a variety of ready-to-go pieces in LibraryAware for every age group. We’ve put in our own fitness and sports-themed graphics for these pieces, but you can swap them out as you like for the CSLP graphics or your own. Use them in a book display, throw up the posters on your bulletin and scatter them throughout the cafes in your town, keep a stack of bookmarks in the children’s section, hand them out to parents as they check out.

Picture books about sports
Picture books about sports bookmark

Picture books about sports
Picture books about sports flyer

If your library doesn’t subscribe to LibraryAware, a selection of these summer reading pieces (and other great summertime-themed items) will still be available as a download. Sign up for emails from the NoveList Book Squad, our own team of super-librarians with the mission of helping you stay on top of all the latest trends in reading. No matter what age group you work with, what genres you have the most experience with, or what you’re looking to learn, there’s a Book Squad interest group for you and a plethora of information, ideas, and inspiration that will help you make it through the summer.

Need more?

Of course you do! Summertime in a library is no joke, so here’s a few more quick tips to keep at your fingertips:

  • Use and search the Lexile and Accelerated Reader levels in NoveList to find the right difficulty level for parents and their young readers.
  • Combine multiple search strategies to help folks limit to certain topics, appeals, or maturity levels.
  • Use the Keeping Up... pages in NoveList to your advantage. From YA Lit to Westerns, there’s a Keeping Up… page designed to help you navigate any genre with ease.

Now, slip on your shades, grab the field codes cheat sheet, and take a deep breath. Summer is coming, and you’re more than ready. 

Cassi Hall is the Communications Specialist at NoveList.

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