Reader Insights from NoveList Select: A Window into The Bookshelves in Your Community

Library Resources | Victoria Caplinger Fredrick| December 02, 2019

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Readers Insight from NoveList provides a window into the literary trends in your community. Find out more from NoveList’s Director of Book Discovery Victoria Caplinger Frederick.

When we think about the many places that people can look for and find information about books — social networking sites, bookstores, podcasts, other media outlets — it serves us well to remember that readers have many choices. What’s the window into books and reading that makes libraries special?

One advantage libraries have is that we don’t need to sell our books, which means we can include less-commercial titles on our shelves. The Haunting of Hill House may be the Shirley Jackson book everyone knows (thanks, Netflix!) so it’s the one on the shelves at a bookstore, but a library can also keep We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Life Among the Savages for the reader interested in a Shirley Jackson deep dive. Depending on the collection development policy, a library may only need those lesser-known books to go out every year to be worth the shelf space.

What information do we need to keep our collections relevant and make sure that we are able to both meet our users’ needs while also enhancing the search and discovery experience?

One of the quandaries librarians face, is our ability to empirically evaluate the success of our collections. This evaluation has sometimes been limited to circulation stats — what’s getting checked out, and what isn’t — which tells part of the story, but it’s not the full story. Collections can support library users in many ways — some things may be consulted while in the library but not checked out. In some cases, especially when our catalogs are enriched with readers’ advisory content, one item can lead a user to the serendipitous discovery of something new. What if we had more information about what users were doing in the catalog? What information do we need to keep our collections relevant and make sure that we are able to both meet our users’ needs while also enhancing the search and discovery experience?

That’s where Reader Insights comes into play. NoveList Select customers can now view the top titles, authors, and series in their library catalog. What books are resonating with your readers? Do you have enough copies of the most-viewed titles? What kinds of trends can you observe from month to month via patron browsing? Being able to answer these questions takes us down a path of greater insight into the ways in which our collections meet the needs of our patrons, and allow us to tell a different — and richer — story about the ways they use the library to find the books that enrich their lives.

What other kinds of information would be interesting to you in terms of understanding your customers better? What additional information would help you measure the success of what you are trying to do in your catalog, and with your library collection? We want to hear from you so that our next enhancement can help you answer the questions that are most important to you.

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Victoria Caplinger Fredrick
Director, Book Discovery, NoveList

Victoria leads the team of librarians at NoveList, who create readers’ advisory content in many forms, from innovative metadata access points to recommendations. She also currently serves as a RUSA Member-at-Large and is Chair of the CODES Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Committee.

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