Tuesday, April 18, 2017

week 15 : promoting your fiction collection

1. Clear and readable signs for Readers' advisory services
When you spend twenty hours a week sitting at the reference or circulation desk, it's easy to forget that these service points aren't always clear and visible to patrons. My experience of working in a newly renovated library with minimal signage has provided a constant reminder that many patrons can't distinguish the reference desk from the circulation desk. And how could they, really? There are absolutely no signs indicating the function of these distinct service desks. Saricks' suggestion for clear signs seems like an excellent starting point for promoting a library's fiction collection. A sign reading "Ask here for reading suggestions" or "Not sure what to read?" provides a clear first step in the process of finding a book to read.

2. Book displays
For patrons who prefer to browse independently, permanent or rotating book displays allow librarians a chance to highlight specific titles. Saricks mentions her library's ongoing book display called "Good Books You May Have Missed", which she describes as one of their most successful book displays to date. The patron may have limited time to choose a book, or perhaps they would rather not discuss their reading preferences with a librarian. No matter the case, a book display can provide a less daunting browsing experience for the patron. It's sort of like sandwiches at a deli -- you can build your own from scratch or choose one of their in-house specials.

3. Annotated book lists
Book lists with annotations require time and energy. However, as Saricks points out, it's near impossible to get a sense of a book from just a title; a shorter book list with annotations provides a much richer resource for the patron. Further, locally created book lists can be beneficial for patrons and staff, alike. As I've learned from this class, the practice of writing annotations strengthens the librarian's ability to assess a book based on its content and appeal factors, and these skills are undoubtedly helpful in readers' advisory service.


  1. Hi Leah,

    You made some great points. Signage is very important. It not only helps with directing patrons to the correct area of the library it also helps with frustration. I get frustrated when I go into a store and have to go down isle and isle to find what I am looking for, because there is not good signage.

    I also get frustrated when I ask for help locating something and the employee tells me that it is on the opposite side of the store near such and such. This does not always help me. Instead, I should be asked "do you need help locating this? I will walk over there with you."

    I learned from my reference class that when a patron needs help locating a book, DVD, etc. it is a good idea to walk with them over to the location. This also allows extra time to talk with the patron to find out if they need any other help and a great way to point out different section of the library.

  2. I really like the points that you made about annotated book lists. I definitely agree that writing annotations helps to strengthen a librarian's ability to determine the different appeal factors of a book. It provides great practice. That in itself is a great reason to provide annotated lists.

  3. I love the first point that you make. As a kid and even as an undergrad, I wasn't really sure what the role of the reference desk was. Signs like you suggest would attract attention and more people may ask for help.

  4. Hi Leah, I really like the suggestion about the annotated book lists too. Who does the annotations for your lists? Without a reference department or any departments at all, just your little, old, all-service circ desk, it seems like an overwhelming task to take on.

  5. Leah, I really like your suggestions, especially number one. The branch where I work just did some renovations and combined the reference desk and the circulation desk. There is no signage that points to who does what and many times since I sit lower and am kind of hid, no one sees me sitting at the reference desk when they first enter the library. Signage could make things more clear to patrons.

  6. Great prompt response with innovative and easy to implement ideas. Full points!

  7. Annotated lists are a great way to promote books! I'm not sure why I did not think of this while I was writing my response :)