One question I regularly faced as the manager of an adult services department at a public library was, “how can my staff and I stay on top of trends in reading and good books to recommend.” There is no shortage of book blogs, reviews, social media feeds, etc. people can read. And it’s fun to deep dive into the online community of a genre. But being an active member of all the online reading communities isn’t possible, so the question for my team was really, “what tools do we have to efficiently and effectively learn about good books to recommend in genres we don’t immerse ourselves in.”

I was in a meeting where a similar question was asked, and I remembered the solution my team came up with, as well as two more I’ve learned since working at NoveList.

1. Sign up for and skim all the NextReads newsletters
When we at NoveList talk about NextReads newsletters, we talk about them as a great (and easy) way for your library to keep your patrons informed about new titles and hidden gems of older titles in their favorite genres. All of that is true for library staff too! If you don’t read Thrillers and Suspense, a NextReads newsletter will give you a regular list of new and backlist books selected by NoveList librarians perfect for recommending to a reader on the fly. 
As an added bonus, the annotations in the newsletters give you the snippets you need to talk up that book and why a reader will love it, whether or not you’ve read it.

2. Create a search alert in NoveList Plus
You already know that the NoveList databases are a wealth of book information — everything from award winners to reviews to genres to themes. You may not know that you can create a search and set up an alert to be notified every time NoveList adds a title related to that search. Does your service population love mysteries? Set up a search alert to be notified when a mystery novel with a starred review gets added to NoveList. Looking to better recommend #Ownvoices titles for kids 9-12? Set up a search to be notified about each #Ownvoices title that is added for that age range. The options for search alerts are infinite, and the best part about them is that you can tailor the alerts you get to the needs of your community. And you can show your readers how to set up their own alerts, so they get regular recommendations of books specific to their tastes. 

3. Create a search alert in Core Collections
I read cookbooks the way people read novels, including while lying in bed before going to sleep. The most recent book on my nightstand was Fresh India by Meera Sodha (I recommend the banana cardamom buns). For readers like me, 641.5 is akin to the middle of the fiction section. We may not ask about cookbooks you can recommend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide some stealth readers advisory. A search alert in Core Collections for “Essential” cookbooks would give you books to recommend on social media for the readers who are spending their pandemic either experimenting with their cooking or imagining what they will have time to cook when schools reopen. 

If you have ways you and your staff use NoveList Plus, LibraryAware, and Core Collections to stay on top of reading suggestions, we’d love to hear them

New to LibraryAware and NextReads? Learn more here

Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing for NoveList. She’s currently rereading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alex Dumas after rereading The Black Count by Tom Reiss.