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Onondaga County Public Library

Onondaga Bulletin

The Onondaga County Public Library in New York was one of the winners of the 2016 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant Program. One of 23 public library systems chartered by the state, the library began their program with three main goals in mind.


  1. Provide personalized readers' advisory to patrons.
  2. Promote the library's services.
  3. Train staff to use NoveList.

What they did

The first step of OCPL's program was to create customized NoveList tutorials to be viewed and shared by staff. All staff members received copies of The Secret Language of Books: A Guide to Appeal. These training videos enabled staff members to to conduct on-the-spot readers's advisory with patrons and pair them up with their next great read. The training videos, along with customized PowerPoints, were also taken to local senior centers to help patrons who aren't able to get out as much learn about how to use NoveList.

The grant program also allowed the library to plan and host a series of four "Blind Date with a Book" programs. Community members were enticed to participate with a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy 4 tablet, with ads inviting readers to find out "What's your style?" At each of the events, staff chatted with patrons about NoveList and appeal terms and how each can help them find their next great read. Tips for searching NoveList were shared with readers and, of course, great conversations about books and reading were had by all.

Blind date with a book
Handouts from the Blind Date with a Book event

Blind date with a book
A patron picks her "blind date"


The outcomes

While attendance at some of the events was lower than hoped for, it allowed staff to really get to know individual attendees and make them feel special -- and everyone went home with a great book to read based solely on what they love. Attendees at the events were "...excited to learn about such a great search tool, available to them free of charge!"

The program also allowed OCPL to begin identifying what the readers in their community really look for in regards to readers' advisory. Appeal terms really ...appealed to readers and the use of the terminology continues to grow within the library system. Not only that, but the average number of searches inside NoveList increased by almost 50% during the time of the program, and the trends show that this number will continue to increase in the future.