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Pennington Public Library

Pennington Public Library in Pennington, NJ is one of the recipients of the 2017 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant. Serving a population of only 2,500 residents, PPL enjoys a community of intensely loyal patrons and longtime volunteers.


Before the project began, PPL had recently updated their website and logo, adding the tagline READ • LEARN • GROW. To expand on that concept, they named their NoveList awareness grant project LEARN • EXPLORE • DISCOVER and developed their goals:

  1. Build awareness of the new website and NoveList readers’ advisory services in particular.
  2. Provide training to staff and volunteers to empower them to offer meaningful reading suggestions for patrons, as well as assist patrons with learning to use and explore NoveList.
  3.  Create Call-to-Action initiaves encouraging patrons to share what they discover using NoveList on social media.

What they did

Pennington Public Library operated in three phases during the grant period. Phase 1, or the design phase, involved planning, designing, and producing promotional materials for in-library use. Items designed included a direct mail postcard sent to local residents, social media content for #TrueTaleTuesday and #FindFictionFriday, and NoveList scavenger hunts. PPL also planned and held training sessions during this phase. 

IG post
Instagram post

FB post
Facebook post

Phase 2 was the initial NoveList awareness phase. They began by raising patron awareness of NoveList through the items they designed in phase 1, like bookmarks, posters, and flyers. During this time, PPL scheduled informational sessions for patrons on using NoveList, as well as promoted the upcoming scavenger hunt. Multiple book displays were created featuring NoveList recommendations and information.

One of PPL's displays

Another display from PPL

Phase 3 saw the promotional campaign in full swing. The informational sessions on NoveList were held as were the two scavenger hunts. PPL launched a new homepage on their website featuring a clickable NoveList button and refreshed the book displays in the library. They began weekly postings to social media for #TrueTaleTuesday and #FindFictionFriday on Facebook and Instagram. The promotional postcards with the “Come explore at the Pennington Public Library” were mailed out to local residents to officially introduce the new website and NoveList to the community. 

Website banner
PPL's custom NoveList website banner

The outcomes

As newer subscribers to NoveList Complete, PPL did not have data to measure past performance of NoveList against the grant initiatives to increase usage -- though they did note that usage increased during the active phases of the grant period.

The social media campaign was a particular success, with many patrons coming into the library to request titles they saw that were recommended by NoveList through Facebook and Instagram posts. This also presented several opportunities for staff and volunteers to introduce NoveList to patrons. The training sessions held for all library workers proved extremely valuable, as PPL is staffed primarily by volunteers at the circulation desk; volunteers were empowered and confident in recommending books to patrons.

As the library reports, “The key to our success was listening to our patrons and volunteers and hearing what it is they needed.”