If you've ever worked with readers, you know that you get to experience the full spectrum of book requests, from straightforward read-alikes to finding a book based on three specific details ("I don't know the name, but the cover was purple with a house on it, and I think a cat was involved.") Many libraries are now using BookChat when they are stumped trying to match books to their readers' needs.
What types of questions have BookChat Specialists answered?
#1: Genre-focused recs are a frequent request from BookChat users (we like to call them BookChatters!) and may include genres that even the most experienced readers' advisory librarian can find challenging, like horror and romance.
- "I have a patron looking for ‘dark romance’ and I'm not familiar with that genre. Any authors you can recommend?”
- "Can you recommend some good mystery novels, like Agatha Christie, but newer?"
- "I'm looking for a list of horror fiction books that don't involve ghosts."
#2: We get asked to help readers of all ages. A few standouts include:
- "I'm looking for what I call a teen/YA ‘foodie rom-com’ where food (maybe a restaurant) takes a central role, that takes place during the summer and is available as an audiobook."
- "I have an adult customer who loved Circe by Madeline Miller and wants a read-alike. I recommended Song of Achilles, but they've read it already."
- "I am looking for suggestions for picture books or very beginning easy reader/chapter books for my nephew who is OBSESSED with Spirit Halloween and all things animatronic."
#3: BookChatters have also asked for help finding books with specific elements or even for programming, including:
- "Can you recommend books with asexual characters?"
- "Can you give me a fantasy series with Indian legends and myths?"
- "I'm trying to pick out some books for my library book club for next year."
#4: Requests for help solving a "book mystery" are a universal experience. So, of course, we've gotten our share, too!
- "I'm looking for a non-fiction book that a patron can't remember the title of about eating healthy and the author mentioned standing on one foot while brushing your teeth to improve your balance."
#5: Sometimes, a reader just needs a little help.
- "I'm trying to get back into reading and don't know exactly what I am looking for. I'm interested in fiction or nonfiction and just want a captivating story."
Does your library need help answering questions like these?
BookChat is a live, on-demand book recommendation service. It can be added to your NoveList Plus subscription. BookChat is staffed by BookChat Specialists, who are real people with years of experience helping readers. They give knowledgeable recommendations tailored to what you or your reader wants. BookChat Specialists love finding just-right options that could lead to a reader discovering a new favorite. Staff can turn to BookChat for backup when they need an extra hand with readers' advisory. On a day when the desk is short-staffed, staff can use BookChat as on-call readers’ advisory support.
BookChat has a ninety-five percent satisfaction rating. Readers and staff say they are happy with the quality of the recommendations they receive from our specialists. And satisfied readers will keep coming back to your library for books and boosting your visitation and circulation!
Yaika Sabat is the Manager of Reader Services at NoveList. She is currently reading The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale by Jon Klassen.
Maria Fonseca-Gonzalez is a NoveList Consultant. Her daughter got An Elephant and a Piggie Biggie by Mo Williams for the holidays and Maria is reading that over, and over, and over.