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Darien Library

Darien Library in Darien, CT was one of the recipients of the 2017 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant. A Library Journal Five Star Library and one of the busiest libraries in the state, Darien Library has a dedicated Readers’ Advisory Department and pursued the grant as an opportunity to continue to cement the importance of RA in physical space, in staff knowledge, and in services offered.


At the start of the grant period, Darien Library set an overarching goal of increasing awareness and usage of NoveList by both staff and patrons and making it a top-of-mind go-to resource. To reach this goal, they decided to primarily target four groups:

  1. Avid readers of all ages
  2. Library staff
  3. Book groups
  4. Patrons in the Books By The Fire program

What they did

This project placed heavy emphasis on staff training and support of independent, in-depth exploration of the NoveList website. Training sessions, both group and 1:1, were made available to staff in addition to training presentations to the Books By The Fire program -- a group made up of avid readers at which different staff members drop by to talk books or share insider info about what librarians do all day.

In preparation for launching the grant-related initiatives, the team decided to brand the NoveList search station located on Main Street -- the name of the high-traffic area for browsing and the Welcome Desk at the entrance of the library. Darien decided on “Book Matchmaker” and had a logo developed. The Book Matchmaker name and accompanying logo were used in all related marketing materials communications. In addition to bookmarks, promotional flyers, and signage, branded power banks were provided to Book Matchmaker users and will also serve as prizes for upcoming events.

Book matchmaker
The Book Matchmaker station

Book Matchmaker display

A special page on the library’s website was created for Book Matchmaker, highlighting the ability of NoveList to find titles that match interest and appeal. Additionally, permanent display panels on Main Street showcased Book Matchmaker as a resource for finding your next favorite read. 

Book matchmaker page
Book Matchmaker webpage

Try NoveList
Electronic display panel

Display panel
One of the rotating display panels

Display panel
One of the rotating display panels

The outcomes

Overall, usage of NoveList increased by over 200% in some months during the grant period. A few patrons have become regular independent users of NoveList and commented on its usefulness. Staff have observed patrons using the Book Matchmaker station, and when approached by staff, would comment that they did not need further assistance.

Book displays featuring read-alikes powered by NoveList were very popular with readers, and enjoyed high circulation numbers. A “While you wait for…” electronic panel helped ease the disappointment of patrons on the wait list for popular titles.

The primary benefit of the project was undoubtedly the increased usage of NoveList by staff. NoveList will continue to be utilized as a top-of-mind tool for assisting patrons in daily tasks.