Like many of you, some NoveList employees are going to be getting on a plane the 3rd week of March and going to their first in-person conference since... PLA 2020. And, like many of you, some NoveList employees will be signing on to their computers to enjoy the virtual sessions. We’ve historically done a blog post before a conference with information about staff who are going, what they’re excited to see, new features and products you should ask us about, sessions we’re interested in, and what in the host city they are excited to see. After two years, this blog post feels extra special to write. We’ve developed a new product over the past two years that we can’t wait to show you and get your feedback on, and we’ve made some changes to some of your favorite NoveList products to serve you and your readers better.

Oh, and we’re really excited to see you! I can’t stress that enough; we’re really excited to see you. If you see Amanda, Angela, or Danielle in the booth, in a session with you, or generally around, please introduce yourself and say hi. We’ve missed you. 

What to ask us about? 

Learn with NoveList: In January, we announced an expansion of our professional development offerings. Now, with Learn with NoveList, you can not only hire a NoveList expert to run a live, virtual course on readers’ advisory, library marketing, or advocacy for your staff, but you can also take a self-paced course on your time, at your own pace. Read the product announcement here or tour around the site for yourself. We’re going to be adding more courses over the next year and value your input for what you’d like to learn from a NoveList expert.  

LibraryAware email editor changes: Looking for a faster, easier way to send beautiful, library-focused emails designed by a professional graphic designer? We’ll soon be releasing a live beta of a new email editor with features you’ve been asking for like video thumbnails, modules you can save and reuse in different emails, and image editing (in the email!). Our designers will be making the most of these new features in new templates. Let us show you some of the new designs that will engage your community in your library and save you time.  

Changes to the NoveList databases: Have you seen the new NoveList button in the database yet? It’s so pretty – fresh, modern, and fun. It’s also not the only change we’ve made. Looking for information about genres? Check out our new Genre Guides. Want to explore all the different ways NoveList can help you access book information? Check out our new Explore pages.   

Want to know about coming features? Make sure you’re signed up for NoveList News. We’ve got more exciting updates coming.  

Who’s going to Portland? 

Danielle Borasky, VP of NoveList, Amanda Winseck, Director of Field Sales, and Angela Hursh, Senior Engagement Consultant, will be there live. Please do come say hi! Ask us about anything NoveList.  

Danielle always enjoys the Big Ideas series at PLA for the inspirational themes. These year's Big Ideas speakers are Brittany Barnett (author of A Knock at Midnight) and Amy Schneider (recent Jeopardy! champion). She’s never been to Portland and hopes to sneak over to the Portland Japanese Garden if there is a nice day for it.  

Amanda has attended a number of annual conferences over the years and has never looked forward to attending a conference as much as this one. She has missed coming into your communities, your libraries, missed your staff and the people in libraries. She’s looking forward to the conversations in the booth and the chance to meet people for coffee. She’s partial to the Buckman Neighborhood, having explored there in the past, and will make a point to wander around a bit to rediscover those delightful places. There was a bookstore or two around there somewhere… 

Angela loves in-person conferences and is thrilled to be attending her first PLA. She’s energized by conferences and always comes away with pages of notes and new ideas. See her in a session and want to say hi, but aren’t sure what to talk about? She wants to hear about your daily work, especially library marketing and promotion. You’ll find her in the breakout sessions about data, diversity, and collection promotion as well as the closing session with Kal Penn. She’s a member of the PLA Conference Facebook Group, so you can contact her there or by emailing If she’s not at the conference, well, she’s also a first-timer to Portland. You might find her at the Multnomah County Central Library and Powell’s Books. Also, there’s a tiny and free museum dedicated to vacuum cleaners about a half-mile from the convention center. Hit her up if that’s also your idea of a good time.  

Who’s staying home 

If there’s a silver lining to the past two years it’s that virtual conferences are now a real thing. We’re taking advantage of virtual PLA and hope to see you in those sessions too. Mark Thomas, a new member of our support team, is interested in librarian perspectives of changing digital landscapes and how that affects what y’all need from our products. You’ll find Mark at Digital Books: Where Do We Go From Here?, Digital Equity Leadership: Mapping a Path Forward, and Information Power: Get Your Staff to Love Library Data.  

This virtual PLA will be NoveList Consultant Lauren Campbell’s first PLA and she’s looking forward to sessions on collection development, like After the Collection Diversity Audit. Her fellow NoveList Consultant, Maria Fonseca-Gonzalez, has her eye on Building a Dynamic World Languages Collection for Your Multilingual Community and Rising Circulation in the Time of COVID-19.  

Children’s book expert and readers’ advisory librarian Rebecca Honeycutt will be joining y’all in many of the robust slate of sessions addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion, particularly After the Collection Diversity Audit; Undivided Attention: Getting Real About Uniting DEI within Organizational Framework; and Representation Matters: Readers’ Advisory and Programming Using Diverse Books. 

Naima Rashid, Customer Engagement Specialist and part of the force behind Learn with NoveList, will be in The Future of Libraries: Innovative Spaces for Community Learning. Extending that theme of what else public libraries do, Kathy Lussier, Manager of Engagement and Services, will be attending are This IS Library Work: Outreach for People Experiencing Housing Insecurity and Accessing Health in Rural Libraries: Developing the WISE Telehealth Network. 

And me? One of the things I loved about being a public librarian was hearing stories from my community. I’m looking forward to attending Community-Driven Approaches to Neighborhood History, from Analog to Digital and One a Dime: Pivoting to a New Summer Learning Approach to see some of what my local library, Durham County Library, is doing.  

Will I sound desperate if I say it again? Please say hi and tell us what you’ve been up to for the past two years. What were your struggles? What were your successes? How can we help?  

Jennifer Lohmann is Director of Sales and Marketing for NoveList. She’s currently reading The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry.