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Washoe County Library System

The Washoe County Library System in Reno, Nevada was one of the recipients of the 2017 Grow Your NoveList Usage Grant Program. When they began the program, the library was in the process of implementing a system-wide initiative to be a key community provider of early literacy skills. As a part of that process, library leaders realized that many staff members did not feel well-equipped in providing readers’ advisory services to children and their families.

Enter: NoveList and LibraryAware. 


  1. Train and empower staff to use NoveList effectively to provide readers’ advisory to their community and connect readers with just the right books.
  2. Implement and market an Early Literacy Newsletter to model to parents and caregivers the importance of pre-reading skill development

What they did

Library staff across the system were trained in using NoveList to answer those difficult questions they are confronted with  particularly focusing on helping children and parents with questions related to Accelerated Reader levels and helping students find books for book reports.

With the newsletter feature in LibraryAware, Washoe County created the Early Literacy newsletter. Storytime staff encouraged parents to sign-up during programs as a way to expand their knowledge of pre-reading skills and to help them find books and materials their children will find engaging. They marketed the newsletter further by creating and distributing collateral materials, bookmarks, and posters to all eleven library locations, local schools, daycares, preschools, and after school programs as well as area businesses that offer goods and services targeting parents and children. 

Blind date with a book
Bookmark WCLS created

Blind date with a book
Newsletter flyer

To further extend the reach of their marketing efforts for the newsletter, Washoe launched a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter encouraging sign-up. Targeted online ads were also placed in the e-version of the Reno Gazette Journal, running for thirty days. 

Blind date with a book
Facebook post example

Blind date with a book
Facebook post promoting the newsletter

The outcomes

The biggest success of the project lay in the increase of staff engagement and usage of the features of NoveList and the promotional capabilities of LibraryAware. Frontline library staff report feeling better prepared to provide readers’ advisory services, promoting NoveList Plus to patrons, and encouraging sign-up to the newsletter.

Based on one-on-one feedback, patrons are excited to learn about and use NoveList to help both themselves and their children find great books to read.

Washoe County Library System will continue with their initiative to support early literacy. As Development Andrea Tavener writes, “Using the content of NoveList and combining it with the marketing tools of LibraryAware will allow us to both better serve existing patrons and to reach out to attract new patrons to our services.“