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Folsom Public Library

Serving a population of over 74,000 residents in Sacramento County, California, the Folsom Public Library is one of the recipients of the 2017 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant Program. At the time of their grant application, the library was in the process of dividing their collection by genre and recommitting to providing excellent readers’ advisory service to their community. Incorporating NoveList into this project perfectly coincided with these efforts.


  1. Create a link between the library’s genre reorganization, merchandizing, and NoveList as a resource for readers.
  2. Increase usage of NoveList.
  3. Attain staff buy-in and excitement for the project.

What they did

FPL spent several months preparing the public for their project to break out the adult fiction by genre, inviting input on what genres should be included and where they should be located in the library. Each of these interactions with the community also included discussions about NoveList and how it can be used to find books for both broad and narrow genre desires.

Shifting genres resulted in some empty shelving in some places for days or weeks at a time -- FPL took this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Using LibraryAware, they created genre signage to create quick displays to fill the empty space. This got readers excited about the genre shift as well as NoveList. Even when the shift was complete, the library continued to leave some empty spaces at eye-level where they faced out display books and interspersed NoveList-generated displays. 

Genre merchandising
Genre merchandising

An in-aisle display

New books were ordered to expand genre collections, with the library choosing titles with “hilariously specific” NoveList searches like “Zombie, Steampunk, Western.” These new titles were displayed around the reference desk and used for pop-up NoveList demos.

To promote the project outside of the library, FPL advertised NoveList as a resource in the city’s online newsletter (reaching over 20,000 subscribers) and print newsletter, which is delivered to every business and household in the city. Further advertising included signs on library bulletin boards, large displays, and bookmarks placed in holds. 

Bookmarks in holds
Bookmarks in the holds shelf

Try NoveList
Digital ad for NoveList

Staff buy-in was important for this project. In addition to mini training sessions on NoveList at staff meetings, all staff members were given badges proclaiming their favorite genres to prompt conversations with the public about NoveList and reading. Badges were designed playfully to spur questions and engagement. 

Genre merchandising
Genre badges

Staff badges
Staff members wearing their badges

The outcomes

Folsom Public Library saw their NoveList usage more than double over the previous year. Although utilization remains relatively modest, it is now one of the library’s best used databases. Since staff is more familiar with and excited about NoveList, promotion of the service has become a habit and it is now regularly used to provide reference and create displays. There are also more readers’ advisory interactions happening in the library, and FPL reports their promotion efforts to be a success.