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St. Charles Parish Library

SCPL location

The St. Charles Parish Library in Southeast Louisiana was one of the winners of the 2016 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant Program. Serving a population of over 53,000 people across six branches, the library began their program with two main goals in mind.


  1. Increase awareness and useage of NoveList Plus among staff and patrons.
  2. Train staff to use NoveList as their go-to readers' advisory resource.

What they did

Book buttons
Cute buttons snatched up by readers

Permanent signage at the FFL
Science Fiction table at the Book Tasting event


To kick off the program, the SCPL began by developing a technology skills assessment for all library staff. Part of the assessment involved gaining a clear picture of how often staff members used and recommended NoveList to patrons and how comfortable they felt doing so. Only one-third of staff reported themselves regularly using and recommending NoveList at the time of the assessment.

Based on the results of the assessment, the library's Technology and Education librarian developed a "NoveList Training" area on the staff intranet, using the NoveList 101 YouTube channel to help meet the training needs of staff. In addition to the video training, staff completed a hands-on activity where they were asked to provide reading recommendations using NoveList for patrons in three diffferent scenarios. After the training was complete, feedback from staff showed that they felt more confident using and demonstrating NoveList to help patrons find great books to read.

Once all staff were up to speed, the library began its promotion of NoveList to the readers in the community. Wearable NoveList buttons for the whole staff proved to be excellent conversation starters, and not just in the library. One staff member was even asked about NoveList while she was at the bank! Promotion for SCPL's main event, the Book Tasting, also began after the training was completed. Flyers and other handouts were distributed to all branches, and two large book displays were created at the site of the event.

"This promotion got our staff excited about readers' advisory, which got our patrons excited about reading new books and authors, which made talking NoveList even easier."

The Book Tasting itself took place on the last day of National Library Week. As attendees entered the library, they were greeted by a staff member explaining the event, and given a reader's journal branded with the library and NoveList logos and a Book Tasting "menu" listing all the genres represented at the event. Small buttons with funny sayings about readers and reading were also available for attendees to take and wear.

Tables for ten different genres were set up throughout the library, each with a selection of books representative of that genre, as well as lists of recommended titles made in LibraryAware. Each table was manned by a staff member ready to talk with patrons about the genre and the books and armed with an iPad to provide real-time recommendations from NoveList to readers.

The Book Tasting event gave readers a chance to "sample" different types of genres that were outside their comfort zone or otherwise unfamiliar with, and everyone left with suggestions for some great new books to read.

Book buttons
A staff member prepares for the Book Tasting

Display at SCPL
Thriller & Suspense display


The outcomes

The Book Tasting event was very successful, with over 50 people in attendance, and they all left with new books and information about NoveList. Staff that worked the event all felt they were able to provide fabulous recommendations for the readers they spoke with -- and overall felt more comfortable using and demonstrating NoveList.

And what about increases in NoveList usage? Well, SPCL's results were enormous -- with an over 1,000% increase in sessions in both March and April and a 3,000% increase in searches in March. Wow!!

SCPL has already begun brainstorming for next year's Book Tasting event, and the whole project reinvigorated staff with excitement for readers' advisory, which got patrons excited about discovering new books and authors, which made talking NoveList even easier.