When we released Reader Insights in the NoveList Select Analytics Dashboard, we were excited. I mean, what library wouldn't want to dig deeper into what their patrons are interested in — going beyond the titles they are checking out to the ones they are browsing?  

As libraries closed, limited their hours or capacity, and expanded their online and curbside services, information like the books, authors, and series that regularly showed up on tables scattered through the library disappeared. The venues where library staff could have conversations with readers changed, which means the readers in your community that you had an opportunity to chat with changed too. Reader Insights has proved to be a valuable new way to capture information about what your readers are interested in. 

We know listening to your patrons and their needs is important. We know libraries can’t listen enough. When we released the new insights, we didn’t yet know how well the Reader Insights would work to help libraries keep their front-line staff informed, making it easier for them to be the book superheroes patrons see them as.  How do you use the information in Reader Insights to position your front-line staff for success? Like getting access to the Analytics Dashboard, it’s pretty easy. 

  1. Get all your staff signed up for the dashboard. I said getting access to the dashboard was easy, and I meant it! If your library has NoveList Select, email novelistselectsupport@ebsco.com and ask for access. Our awesome support team will set you up.  
  2. Make sure your staff know the top ten titles and top five authors and series. One quick glance once a month is all they need to stay informed about what’s popular among your readers. Whether your staff is answering RA questions on social, smiling at a curbside pickup station, or creating browsable displays on the website, top authors and series is an immediate way to find inspiration.  
  3. Help your staff talk about these titles, authors, and series. Staff aren’t always comfortable talking about books, but NoveList Select makes this easy! Show your staff where to find NoveList read-alikes in their catalog. As they are helping a patron put There There by Tommy Orange on hold, they can say, “While you’re waiting, have you read The Travelers? It also uses a large cast of characters to tell a sweeping story from multiple perspectives. And we have a copy checked in.” (Want to be able to quickly tell if titles in the NoveList databases and NoveList Select are checked in? Learn more about OTS).  
  4. Use the read-alikes in physical and digital displays. The "Search For More” area of NoveList Plus makes it easy to quickly find gobs of titles to fill up that display. Follow a trail of appeal factors, themes, and genre as you build up a pull list for your display, saving everything in a folder for easy reference later. Pick some titles with the most appeal covers and make a quick flyer in LibraryAware. Use the same titles in our new widget sizes, perfect for posting to all your favorite social channels.  
  5. Lean back in your chair and feel good that you and your staff are on top of what’s popular with your patrons. Only don’t lean back if you're working a service point with counter-height stools as I did. I feel like those would be tippy, and I’d hate for you to fall. Maybe give yourself a congratulatory high-five instead.  

Libraries with NoveList Select can use our Analytics Dashboard to see their NoveList Select usage data from any web-enabled device, anywhere, any time. This dashboard provides a window into how your library’s patrons are viewing and interacting with information in the catalog. If you have questions about set up or your organization’s dashboard, email us at novelistselectsupport@ebsco.com

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Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing for NoveList. She’s currently listening to Getting Things Done by David Allen and reading Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh.