Thursday, April 20, 2017

Week 15 Prompt

What do you think are the best ways to market your library's fiction collection? 

Highlighting and promoting their fiction collection is a major focus for public libraries. While many patrons prefer to read nonfiction, the focus for the majority of patrons who read for pleasure, is the fiction collection. This is the area where Readers' Advisory tools are especially useful for encouraging patrons to check out a read-a-like, discover a new author, or maybe even take a reading challenge. The increase in circulation generated by these efforts is the bonus for "finding a book for every reader and every reader their book." 

All libraries face budget, space, and staff limitations. So, we have to get creative and use our resources to the best of our abilities. The three best ways we have to market our fiction collection are:

Just Off the New Shelf
Our PoeTree

Today's Hot Topics
Readbox: Books into Movies

I must be honest here, these were all taken at the main library. They have more staff time and creative talent available in the Reference Department, not to mention, space.

Readers' Advisory Tools
Passive ways to promote check-outs are always useful, especially for the patrons who prefer to keep their reading choices private or who do not think that their questions are important enough to "bother" the clerk. We routinely create new readers' advisory tools such as:  
  • author and series lists
  • read-a-likes bookmarks for popular authors and best sellers
  • what to read next lists for those authors who take their time (at least to the patrons) writing the next book in the series or for those who can't imagine ever wanting to read another book because the series they just finished was so wonderful
  • books into movies to read before the movie comes out
  • alternate available - like the audio-book, large print copies, Overdrive, Hoopla, or our pre-loaded nooks for check-out -  when the holds queue is soooooo long
  • shelf-talkers
I discovered this in an article on the NoveList Blog:

"When I think about my mom getting book recommendations, I think about how awesome it would be if that self-check receipt (email or print) suggested she read The Alienist after she’s finished with The Gods of Gotham and mentioned that the next book in the Timothy Wilde series is Seven for a Secret. Even better if the self-check screen gave her a chance to put those recommendations on hold."

For those of you lucky enough to have self-check at your libraries, this is an awesome suggestion! I would love to hear from those of you who get a chance to implement this suggestion.

Self-check Your Way to Great Recommendations


  1. I love your library's Poe Tree! :D

    That self check out receipt is such a cool and helpful idea! I would love to have something like that where I work! I think the patrons would really appreciate that!

  2. Wow, what a neat idea for the checkout receipts! I would love to see libraries start to do this. I'm really interested now in finding out how to implement this. Great suggestions!

    1. Hi Jenna, Here is the link to the info.

  3. Hi Suzanne,

    Those are some awesome points backed up with some great photos! I personally really love the receipt idea. More than likely the patron is going to have a receipt printed regardless, unless they are using self-checkout and they have an option not to print it; so why not have the receipt be even more beneficial (other than just telling them the due date of their materials?). This is definitely one of the more creative ideas I’ve read about and I think it’s great! It’s like having read-alikes attached to checking out of materials and you didn’t even have to do anything; other than checkout.

  4. The receipt idea is really original! It's tailored to the individual making it very personal. I can see a few difficulties: one would be families that all check out on the same card making it too many books with too many types - the recommendations would make the receipt far too long. A similar problem occurs with patrons who check out a lot of items at one time. Would the recommendations be 1 per item? Or perhaps limited to 2 per receipt? Not sure, but I definitely want to look into it more. I love this idea - Thanks for sharing!

  5. I am also loving the receipt suggestion idea! I also liked how you set up lists and tools at the reference section for patrons who might be reluctant to ask for help. It is really nice to see that you are reaching out to patrons in ways that make them feel like they aren't 'bothering' anyone.

  6. Add me to the list of people that love the receipt idea! I had never heard of this being done. I'm curious what kind of system would be needed to implement this idea.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I know you need self-check-out and to subscribe to NoveList for this but nothing else. Here is the link to the article:

  7. Great prompt response with innovative and easy to implement ideas. Full points!

  8. Is that your library with the pictures of the different displays you presented? If so, I love them. Also the receipts are awesome idea! Great points with creative ideas.

    1. Hi Lisa, Thank you for your thoughts. The photos were taken at the main library of our two library township system. I would love to show you around if you ever get to the northwest Indiana - Chicagoland area.

  9. I enjoyed seeing the Redbox/Readbox. Patrons are familiar with Redbox so it would draw their attention towards it. At one point my library looked at getting one of the machines that vended books but in the end we did not. I am glad that we didn't. I think that human contact is something we all need and by checking out materials from a person that contact happens.