Hey, fellow library folks! Can you believe it's been three decades since NoveList first debuted? Time flies when you're having fun. And let me tell you, being a part of this incredible journey as a member of the NoveList team is a ride I wouldn't trade for the world.

Before working at NoveList, I was already a super fan in my role as a public librarian. So going from using and loving it to being paid to talk about it with other library staffers is a dream come true! 

What does a product manager like me do? Picture us as the string connecting our awesome customers on one side, and our genius developers on the other. You share your experiences with our products, and our team distills all that information so we can spot patterns and trends. Our designers and developers gain inspiration for new products and services that meet your needs.

You may be wondering: How do we find people to talk to? There are lots of ways: Surveys, face-to-face meetups at conferences, or hopping on virtual calls. Sometimes we reach out to you when you purchase or renew a new product or mention in a survey that you’d love to talk with us more. Other times we connect when we see you sharing your love of NoveList with other friends and colleagues out there in Library World. (That’s our favorite!) 

What topics are on the table during these talks? To start with, I might ask about your typical workday in the library, the goals that led you to use our products, and how NoveList is a part of your daily work routine. But mostly, I listen to what you have to say and offer whatever help I can provide. And of course, I throw in the most important questions of all: "What can we do better?"

I am always dazzled by the ideas libraries offer on ways to improve. It’s not just current products and services you help us with though. Your insight is the “secret sauce” that fuels ideas and innovations that make working with readers easier. You’re practically our co-designers!   

From our more than 50 conversations so far this year, here are the library trends we’re noticing for library staff working with readers. See if any of these sound familiar to you. 

Trend #1: Always hustling!

The obvious one is how hard you all work! We hear you loud and clear about the high staff turnover, tight schedules, and shoestring budgets. Many of you are part-timers and front-line staff who have education or experience not related to libraries. You wear many hats, and you're craving training that fits into your jam-packed schedules.

That’s where Learn with NoveList can help. These courses are taught by experts, and they’ll help you boost your readers' advisory skills to attract more library visitors. Our new staff subscription option, launched in January, offers more than forty hours of content. It was born out of your need for asynchronous training. 

Trend #2: Getting people back into the library... the struggle is real. 

In-person library visits aren't back to pre-pandemic levels, and that's totally okay. We get it — remote library programs and app checkouts are a game-changer. And let’s be honest, we’re all relearning how to be social again, aren’t we? But you're eager to bring people back into the library fold with dazzling programs, eye-catching displays, and that special one-on-one experience.

We're thrilled you love our Recommended Reads lists and story elements in NoveList Plus, and easy-to-edit LibraryAware templates. They're your secret weapons for creating awesome displays, promoting in-person programs, and making library magic happen. 

Trend #3: Diversity matters. 

You've made it clear in both user surveys and one-on-one conversations: Collection diversity is a priority. You want works that reflect various lived experiences, acting as both windows and mirrors.

Core Collections was created to help, offering expertly vetted tools for building diverse collections. Core Collection en Español, which launched in 2023, helps serve the reading needs of Spanish-speaking patrons. Libraries tell us it’s particularly useful for collection development staff who may not speak Spanish themselves.

We’ve also focused on improving NoveList Plus's ability to search for titles by authors’ and characters’ cultural or gender identity. Your feedback inspires us to continually update our language and taxonomy, ensuring inclusivity is always at the forefront. 

Trend #4: It’s all about the human factor.

In a time dominated by AI and algorithms, you've shown us that the human touch matters. NoveList Plus adds a human touch to our recommendations, handcrafted by real people.

We heard you say that it's important to have human book experts staffing our BookChat service. BookChat Specialists have years of readers’ advisory and library experience, across a wide range of genres and ages. They excel in using NoveList Plus to provide suggestions for a wide variety of patron needs.

Plus, our LibraryAware customers know they'll be connected to real people when they need tech support. We've heard that some of you have started fan clubs for them!  

Trend #5: The constant need to prove your library’s worth.

Funding battles are never-ending. So we've worked to arm you with resources for all the accidental library marketers and advocates out there. LibraryAware social media widgets and templates make it possible to showcase your library's triumphs and promote essential campaigns such as Library Card Sign-Up Month.

And let’s hear it for the magic of metrics! With NoveList Select analytics, you've got the power to make data-driven decisions. We know you needed a way to understand the titles and genres that are stealing the spotlight in your catalog, allowing you to make the best use of collection budgets. So go ahead and toot your own horn. You’ve earned it! 

Your insights shape us, and we can't thank you enough for sharing your stories. If you want to be part of this process, you can make an appointment to speak to a member of our product team.

Here’s to thirty years of making libraries amazing together and more adventures to come! 

Savannah Dorsett is Product Manager for NoveList. She is currently reading Land of Milk and Honey by C. Pam Zheng.