From 2000 to 2006, I didn’t read any books. Not one. I had two small children and was working to build a career while working opposite shifts from my husband to save on daycare. I barely slept, much less had time for my beloved books.

But once my youngest was about two years old, I decided to make time to read 20 minutes a day. However, I hadn’t been paying attention to anything book-related for years! I had no idea which book to start with. So, I went to my local library branch and sheepishly approached the front desk. I told the librarian of my predicament. The librarian kindly spent about 20 minutes asking insightful follow up questions. I ended up leaving with A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I loved it! It was the exact right book for my re-entry into reading.

That experience left me with warm feelings for my library. I trusted them to find me a good book to read. That little branch became a haven for me, a place where I could go to ask the experts to find me a book that would be worthy of my precious 20-minute reading block. I also trusted them to find books for my children. We ended up going to the branch about once a week, sometimes spending an hour or more browsing and talking with staff. I had to start bringing a large canvas bag to haul our “loot” home. Years later, when I got a job working for this library system, I had the chance to share my experience with the branch manager. I told him that first, positive encounter was one of the reasons I applied for a job at the library.

Every interaction with a community member is an opportunity to showcase the library and create a lasting connection with that user

A positive patron experience is essential to the success of your library. Every interaction with a community member is an opportunity to showcase the library and create a lasting connection with that user. Companies are cutting costs by eliminating personal customer service in favor of automation. Your library’s unique value proposition is that you always offer personalized service provided by real people.

A positive user experience is a competitive edge for your library. It will lead to increased use of the library. Delighted community members will share positive experiences with friends and family, and on social media, building your library’s positive reputation. These shared experiences and positive word-of-mouth referrals will give you more leverage in budget and funding conversations.

So, how can you start creating that experience? Begin, like my library, with personalized reading recommendations curated by real people. That’s a unique feature of your library. And suggesting books is a core part of your library’s mission. That’s why NoveList products are critical tools for any library looking to provide that positive user experience. The book experts at NoveList put their names on their recommendations and tell you why they make sense, allowing you to provide excellent service to readers by building trust in your recommendations.

My co-workers and I would love to talk with you more about this. On April 3 and 4, we’ll be at the Public Library Association Annual Conference in Booth 2123 with our co-workers at EBSCO. For sure, you’ll want to stop by the exhibit hall on Thursday, April 4, because we’re doing something fun! Look for the banner that says, “The Book Doctor In.” We’ll be happy to talk about your library’s unique needs and “prescribe” solutions to help you create that positive experience for every person who interacts with your library, along with a treat just for you!

Also at PLA, my co-worker Yaika Sabat is participating in a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 3 along with two readers’ advisory experts, Becky Spratford and Robin Bradford, about how to provide inclusive reader services to all patrons.

You can also schedule a time to talk with us during the conference. Just email us at and let us know what you’d like to talk about. We would love to meet you there!