Readers are as unique as the books available to them at the Denver Public Library. But often, selecting books for yourself, or your children, can be daunting, especially now, when you cannot visit and browse for yourself. Whether open or closed, Denver Public Library has developed a team of dedicated staff, called Readers’ Advisors, who expertly pair readers with selections from DPL’s collection to take the stress out of making a perfect pick.
The process is simple--submit an online personalized reading list request, and advisors use your preferences to produce an age-appropriate list of titles to match your reading or listening needs. But while the process is simple, the magic is in the thought and preparation that goes into each customer’s personalized list.
Readers’ Advisors utilize a toolkit that includes the NoveList Plus database (available to you with a DPL library card), in-house training, professional reviews and bookseller newsletters to make recommendations. But, advisors also employ detailed considerations based on what customers share in their like and dislike categories- things like what kinds of characters or settings interest them, what genres might be complementary to those they already like, and what formats might work best for the customer (eBooks, audiobooks, etc.). The rest, the real art, comes from readers’ advisors’ cumulative experience reading, listening to, watching and absorbing what is happening in the publishing world and being able to translate that into meaningful and thoughtful recommendations.
Filling out the PRL form may seem more suited to a machine algorithm than a person, which delights many of our customers. “I was so surprised and happy to find a thorough response (written by a human no less!) to my request,” responded an energized reader. Caregivers looking for help finding great books that match their young readers interests and reading level are grateful for the service as well. “This list is amazing! I love all of these book recommendations, with no repeats from anything my daughter is currently reading. Love this service!”
Sometimes suggested titles may nudge customers in new directions, whether that means offering a graphic novel to someone who has always listened to audio, or finding an exciting chapter book for a fourth grader who only likes picture books. Or a response could encourage a reader to get deeper into DPL’s collection, as one requester wrote: “Your staff has recommended titles that I would never have picked up. Books that taught me a lot about remote places and people experiencing life struggles.”
Personalized reading lists help DPL fulfill its mission to welcome customers and help them explore and connect, providing an experience with a librarian in an online environment. This service has grown steadily in popularity, with advisors completing 871 adult requests and 426 childrens and young adult requests in 2019, recommending thousands of titles to requesters in English and Spanish. We're looking to double those numbers in 2020!
During the COVID-19 closure, it is even more important to be able to connect with customers, and to connect customers to engaging materials in DPL’s collection. With a turnaround time of less than a week, and direct links to the library catalog provided, the personalized reading list service is uniquely positioned to serve customers of all ages, at any time. Request a list today and see how readers’ advisors can guide you to reading and listening experiences selected specifically for you.