Providing expert-level readers’ advisory to your community is what librarians strive to do, but being knowledgeable in all genres and keeping up with new trends can be difficult. NoveList Plus is the ace in your pocket to help you deliver great readers’ advisory every time you are faced with a patron request outside your wheelhouse (no poker face needed!).   

I still remember my first day at the Youth Service’s reference desk. Let me set the scene: It was a Monday morning. A storytime morning and a daycare had been invited. I was left at the desk to check out kids, parents, and caregivers, when I was hit with my first readers’ advisory question; a parent looking for more books like Henry, the Dog with No Tail by Kate Feiffer. Having worked with adults and teens for the last year, I was out of my element, and it was very obvious that this request had me sweatin’ in my librarian boots.  

I rustled through papers looking for what I hoped was a list of new books by genre or topic to help, but all I found were binders with required reading and summer reading lists. I decided to let the parent know I was new to the department and offered to show her the newly added books until my coworker could assist her after storytime. As a new librarian, I felt sad I couldn’t help her but this led me to my introduction to NoveList.  

I called my last supervisor and told her about my “ordeal,” and she came down from the adult services desk to show me how to use NoveList to find reading recommendations. That day was one of the highlights in my new career because she showed me a tool that allowed me to feel comfortable with not knowing all the genres, authors, or series that I may come across. NoveList became my go-to for readers' advisory for all ages and it quickly helped me learn more about picture books and easy readers. Let me tell you a bit more about how NoveList can help you improve your readers' advisory skills.  

Recommendations at your fingertips  

Over time, I enjoyed it when kids would run up to the reference desk and go on and on about how much they loved a book and wanted another one just like it. This gave me a chance to learn more about that author, series, or genre. Using NoveList, I would search for their book and use the read-alikes to point me in the direction of books to pull. So, the next time a small patron comes to you with The Day the Crayons Quit, you will have quick access to similar books, and you won’t look terrified (like I did when I was still new to youth material).  

Learn to speak their book language  

Kids and teens used the most creative ways to describe the books and characters they love, while most adults (at least in my experience) would require me to do a bit more digging to get the gist of why they liked a book. Usually, as the conversations begin to flow, you start to gather character qualities, themes, pacing, and more that has captured the reader's attention. NoveList calls these details story elements and you can learn more about them in The Secret Language of Books.  

Setting up alerts  

If you have a patron that frequently asks for specific books like action and adventure comics where there is a complex protagonist and a storyline that is action-packed, you can conduct a search and set search alerts that will notify you when a new book fitting this search criteria is added (easy way to make patrons of all ages feel like you are always looking out for them!).  

Become a NoveList book finding pro 

There are different tools you can use to help you find titles and explore NoveList faster. If you need audiobook recommendations with character accents or want to explore books by culture, search strategies can help you tackle these hurdles and provide more searching tips. We also have live monthly training sessions available for sign-up, giving you a chance to ask questions and go through an overview of NoveList, navigate the home page, conduct searches, and more. Lastly, don’t forget to keep your community informed and utilize our promotional kit to get the word out! 

NoveList Plus Overview

NoveList Plus helps you connect readers with the books they’ll love. Join us for this 1-hour overview of the key features and resources, such as story elements, recommended lists, and genre guides, and learn basic and advanced search strategies to help you become a readers’ advisory superstar.

Maria Fonseca-Gonzalez is a NoveList Consultant. She is currently reading The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon.