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New Hanover County Public Library

New Hanover County Public Library is one of the recipients of the 2017 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant. Serving a rapidly-growing population of roughly 200,000 residents, NHCPL is seeking to increase awareness of the readers’ advisory services offered.


The library completed three separate projects as part of the grant, each tied to a different objective:

  1. Increase average monthly usage of NoveList by 50%.
  2. Promote NoveList and existing readers’ advisory services to outside book groups.
  3. Show staff expertise in readers’ advisory.

What they did

To get started, NHCPL held a Winter Reading Program. Lasting almost three months, the program consisted of a reading BINGO card aimed at encouraging participants to use NoveList to find a book that met various criteria. Separate BINGO cards were created for different age groups. Participants who completed their BINGO cards were given pencils and entered into a grand prize drawing. Staff assisted patrons in helping find books that met the criteria and giving mini demonstrations of NoveList. Aimed at introducing patrons to NoveList in a fun and interactive way, the Winter Reading program had almost 300 people participate. 

Bingo front
Adult BINGO card front

bingo back
Adult BINGO card back

New Hanover County is home to a large number of book groups, and NHCPL wanted to take advantage of the opportunities for promoting NoveList and other RA services to these groups. The library conducted training sessions on using NoveList that were tailored to each group’s preferred reading tastes, and advertised the training on the book club section of the website, on in-house promotional materials, and through their Book Club in a Bag service. Three such sessions were conducted over the course of the grant period. By reaching out to groups who already engage in regular reading, NHCPL hoped to increase their community’s awareness of their RA services and drive more patrons to use NoveList and library staff as resources. 

Promoting the Winter Reading Program

Promoting book club outreach

For a little something fun and to showcase staff expertise, NHCPL held a button making session at their annual Staff Development Day. The buttons displayed staff reading interests as well as promoted NoveList. Wearing the buttons encouraged conversations with readers about books and reading, and led to opportunities to talk about NoveList and the other readers’ advisory services offered by the library.

The outcomes

New Hanover County Public Library saw their monthly NoveList usage increase by 54% during the grant period. The Winter Reading Program was by far their most successful initiative; staff were enthusiastic about promoting it and demonstrating NoveList to participants.

The key to their success ended up being staff buy-in and support. NHCPL plans to continue offering all three programs in some capacity going forward.