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Fayetteville Free Library

The Fayetteville Free Library in Fayetteville, New York was one of the recipients of the 2016 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant Program. Chartered to serve a population of more than 10,000 across the Central New York area, they are the 3rd highest circulating library in their system of 32 libraries. When accepted, their goal was to increase their NoveList Plus searches by 100% over the duration of the program through a variety of methods inside and outside the library.


The Fayetteville Free Library had three main goals when they began the program.

  1. Provide additional training opportunities for their staff to grow in their RA skills and using NoveList.
  2. Increase awareness among patrons and train them to use NoveList independently.
  3. Expand the promotion of their existing RA services to reach more readers.

What they did

At the start of the program, all 8 librarians were fully trained to offer readers’ advisory services, but all felt there were certain areas they could improve upon. For example, some librarians weren’t as comfortable recommending books for children, or answering questions about the latest releases. Staff training sessions included a refresher on the features of NoveList and using its resources, tips, and tricks to assist in offering readers’ advisory to patrons.

To increase awareness of NoveList to patrons, the library began an outreach initiative to community organizations and book clubs. Meeting with six different groups for sessions of 30-45 minutes, the training included the basics of how to access NoveList from the library and at home, tips for searching, navigating read-alikes, and understanding and utilizing appeal terms. The library also created wearable buttons with “I recommend _______” or “I’m reading ______” to serve as conversation starters for staff and patrons alike.

Not underestimating the value of signage, the Fayetteville Free Library created new brochures and other print materials promoting their existing RA services, and invested in new permanent signage for the library.

A FFL librarian wearing an
A FFL staff member wears his "I'm reading___" button

Permanent signage at the FFL
New permanent signage at the Fayetteville Free Library

The outcomes

The community outreach initiative was so successful that the FFL now plans to offer this training for every book club and organization that uses the library. Attendees were enthusiastic about the information provided in the training, many being unaware they could use NoveList outside the library, and 100% stated they planned on using NoveList in the future.

Librarians embraced the wearable buttons and love how they have become a conversation piece for patrons – patrons are always curious about what staff are reading, so the buttons serve as an organic entry point for a readers’ advisory dialogue.

The new permanent signage in the library turned out to be a great investment; every patron that comes into the FFL sees the sign at the entrance, and librarians have observed patrons commenting on and asking about NoveList.

After implementing their strategies and programs from January-March, the FFL met their goal of a 100% increase in searches for April and May compared to the same months in 2015. Speaking about the program’s success, Sarah Lawler, Director of Partnerships and Outreach for the Fayetteville Free Library said “The key…was staff buy-in and participation. This project has allowed us to develop fantastic promotional and outreach plans, and we are excited to utilize them again in the future.”