Tag Archives: RA services

Free Webinar: Are Books Your Brand? How Libraries Can Stay Relevant to Readers

Are you looking for something to do on Valentine’s day?  While this might not make the “Top 10 date list ideas” for V-day, this is definitely an event you might want to consider joining during the day (while looking forward to your date night!).

Here’s the information:

EVENT TIME AND DATE: Thursday, February 14, 2013, 2:00-3:00 PM ET/11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PT
Are Books Your Brand? How Libraries Can Stay Relevant to Readers

The core mission of libraries – providing books for readers – is as relevant today as it was years ago. In fact, it’s what people overwhelmingly identify as THE reason for libraries. Formats might change, and library patrons might only visit the library virtually, but the library is still the place where readers go to find books.  Libraries should embrace this role in their communities – and become “Centers for Readers.” But how?
The panel will discuss:
  • Shifts in how people are using the library
  • Examples of successful library programs and services for readers
  • Strategies and tools for engaging communities of readers
Robin Nesbitt – Technical Services Director, Columbus Metropolitan Library 
Duncan Smith – Vice President, NoveList
Barry Trott – Digital Services Director, Williamsburg Regional Library 

Laurel Tarulli – Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University

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Filed under Our Profession

The Catalogue IS an RA Tool: NoveList Complete

I’ve been saying it for a while, talking to skeptics, faced eye-rolling, sighing and excitement too and now, NoveList Complete has accomplished as a vendor, what I’ve been promoting in cataloguing departments and readers’ services teams for the past several years: The Catalogue IS an RA tool!

I’m excited about this product because I was able to assist in its development. As they have in the past, NoveList seeks to work with professionals who are active in the field, so the product works for us (readers and librarians), rather than just looking new and shiny. With a great group of creative, innovative and passionate professionals (and readers!), it isn’t a surprise that NoveList Complete addresses many of the needs that readers have expressed and that cataloguers have recognized – that the library catalogue is an essential element in the reading experience and that’s another place our RA services need to be.

If you haven’t been able to make it to any of NoveList’s presentations on NoveList Complete, they are currently giving free webinars to introduce the features of this new tool. And, if you’re on Twitter, I recommend following them @NoveListRA


Filed under The Library Catalogue

Success Story: In-House RA Reading Lists in the Library Catalogue

In March, I gave a presentation on how to enhance readers’ advisory services by creating opportunities for RA in the library catalogue. by collaborating with frontline staff. On March 22, I wrote a blog post reflecting on the presentation and trying to add some additional examples and ideas on the material that I presented.

One of the suggestions that I proposed included implementation of existing, or new, RA read-alike lists into the catalogue. This makes them linkable within the catalogue, and also offers a degree of discoverability, if a reader happens upon a title on an RA list. Even library catalogues that are considered legacy catalogues (traditional text-based v. next generation or “social” catalogues) can take advantage of linkable RA lists.

In a SirsiDynix Horizon ILS, cataloguers can take advantage of the 449 MARC tag to create these linkable lists. However, a colleague of mine from Ohio, Lynne Welch, indicated her interest in creating linkable RA lists, but found herself hindered by the ILS her library is using (They weren’t able to use the 449 tag as a linkable MARC tag because it wasn’t allowed by the ILS). Lynne and I started talking about how she could make it work for her library and, just this month, I received some great news –Herrick Memorial Library is now able to offer linkable RA lists within their catalogue. Not only did Lynne put a lot of energy into making this happen (great job!!), but the vendor of the library’s ILS was also interested it making it work – which just proves that vendors can and will collaborate with us, if we ask!

This is what Lynne had to say:

We wanted a quick and easy way to offer our readers timely and topical lists within the framework of our current PAC. [Your] March 22, 2010 blog entry on Halifax Public Libraries’ innovative use of the 449 field spurred us to experiment with our own catalog, and with some assistance from our vendor we achieved a very workable process using the 411 field. …without your post we’d still be wishin’ and dreamin’ without a solution.

So far, Lynne’s created two RA lists: If you like Science Fiction Romance, and If you like Twilight. If you do a title search on “like Twilight”, you’ll get a list of titles that, if you go into the bib record, you’ll see are linkable across from the Readers Advisory tag. The screenshot below is an example of this.

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Filed under The Library Catalogue

Remote RA work: Reaching Readers through Social Catalogues

In preparation for my upcoming audio conference, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about RA work.  More specifically, I’ve been examining how RA services can be performed when we take readers away from the face-to-face interview that has traditionally defined the service.  In particular, if and how library catalogues can enhance RA services. (I believe they can!)  I think it’s very important to stress the importance of the face-to-face interview, but to also accept that social software is redefining how our community views personal interaction – and the benefits social software has in enhancing our RA practices.   Our current RA services vary from good to great to exceptional, but there are also assumptions that RA work can only occur within the physical library, or by a select group of individuals.

Anyone who likes to read can share in the RA experience.  This includes all members of our community who enjoy reading.  To that extent, our library catalogues and the social, interactive community environment they are creating need to be explored as an avenue in furthering RA services and bringing reading suggestions to the reader – wherever they are.

I’ve found a handful of articles I thought I’d share with you that discuss the challenging and changing nature of RA services.  These are the articles that I have found extremely helpful in shaping my presentation.  I believe many of you who are trying to explore new ideas for enhancing RA services will also find these interesting as well as those who want an introduction into RA services outside of the traditional model we are currently using.

If any of you have other articles that discuss this topic, please share!

Improving the model for interactive readers’ advisory services by Neil Hollands. Reference & User Services Quarterly. 3/22/2006

LJ Series “Redefining RA”: 2.0 for Readers by Neal Wyatt. Library Journal 11/1/2007

LJ Series “Redefining RA”: Take the RA Talk Online by Neal Wyatt. Library Journal 2/15/2008

Stalking the wild appeal factor: readers’ advisory and social networking sites by Kaite Mediatore Stover. Reference & User Services Quarterly. 3/22/2009

LJ Series “Redefining RA”: The Ideal Tool by Neal Wyatt. Library Jounral 10/15/2009

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Filed under Social catalogue

New Reader’s blog highlights the catalogue as an RA tool

I’m always looking for ways to further the relationship between the library catalogue and Readers’ Advisory services. I believe the catalogue is an important RA tool and cataloguers are key Readers’ Advisors.

This month, our library launched an RA blog called The Reader. It’s a public blog, created for patrons and staff. As a member of the core team at our library, I’m one of the contributors. Although The Reader isn’t a forum to push the importance of the catalogue as an RA tool to other Readers’ Advisors, it is an acknowledgement by our library and the rest of our team that my knowledge, and the catalogue, play an important role in RA services.

When I am writing posts for The Reader, I try to put myself in the place of a frustrated reader, just looking for something interesting to read. So, I promote existing lists in the catalogue and search strategies. I’m also trying to provide, in an interesting and fun way, subject headings and genre lists for fiction and non-fiction.

One of my recent drafts (which has not yet been posted) targets mystery readers. What if you’re a mystery reader just back from vacation and looking for something interesting to read? In this post, I provide a list of our mystery genre headings and ideas for searching. Then I provide examples as to how to combine a genre with a place or profession (or both). These examples link directly into our catalogue.

I’ve also drafted a post on narrative non-fiction. Here’s the short post:

What does “Salt: a world history” have to do with “The secret life of lobsters”? What about “Olives: the life and lore of a noble fruit” and “Chocolate: a bittersweet saga of dark and light”?

There are many books out there that explore the everyday life of “things”. The history of chocolate, salt, lobsters and olives are only a small example of ordinary “things” that are explored through anectodal stories and humorous accounts of controversy, hardship and the mundane in a genre we call “microhistory”. These histories are presented in a story format, for an easy read and full of interesting information.

If you enjoy reading about the ordinary in a far from ordinary way, you’ll enjoy our collection of books that fall under the microhistory genre in our library catalogue.

While our MARC records do not yet provide description for appeals such as the language of a book (fast-pasted, descriptive, etc.), I’m hopeful that this information is forthcoming, especially in RA created lists that exist in the catalogue.

It’s an interesting way of pushing the catalogue forward and working directly with patrons in a new way. I also feel that it’s pushing my limits and testing my knowledge of the catalogue and its potential.

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Filed under future of cataloguing, Social catalogue, The Cataloguer, The Library Catalogue

Readers’ Advisory Services: In the Backroom

As a member of our Readers’ Advisory Team at HPL, I’ve become interested in what the catalogue can do to assist and promote RA services while at the same time, maintaining the integrity of the catalogue.  While I don’t mind creating local headings if they provide long-term benefits to access, I don’t feel comfortable adding RA “buzz” words that are “here today, gone tomorrow”.  So, how can we balance our cataloguing rules while meeting the needs of RAs?  This is something I’ve only recently been exploring.  Our first step here at HPL has involved creating genre headings that fall under the “Narrative Nonfiction”. 

This week, we’ve begun a project to create genres that fall into the narrative nonfiction category and add them to our bib records, where appropriate. The birth of this project began with the idea of a narrative nonfiction tutorial.  The first steps in our own project began through frequent discussions with frontline librarians and by looking at RA websites.  Also, I’ve been working with an adult services librarian in our system to come up with definitions of these genres for our scope notes. While cataloguers are used to compartamentalizing and organizing books into clear categories (at least, in theory this is how we work), I decided to pick the brains of those RAs who are actually doing the searching on the frontlines.  As a result, I asked an adult services librarian to create definitions of how RAs would define the different genres and what they feel would fall into those categories.  Not only has this created a working partnership with frontline staff, which makes us visible and relevant, it also provided us with scope notes for our authorities.

I’ve recently proposed holding a session on this topic at CLA Montreal.  Although I haven’t heard anything yet, I do believe this is an area of cataloguing that should be explored. My splash for the session is below:

With the growing popularity of RA services, what role does the library catalogue play?  Why is the library catalogue being passed over for databases such as Novelist? This workshop takes a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of the library catalogue in RA services.  We will discuss the option of implementing RA “buzz words” as subject and genre headings, ideas for collaboration with RAs and the catalogue for enhancing Readers Advisory Services and what cataloguing departments need to do to get out of the backroom and onto the RA playing field

I’m looking for feedback on this idea.  Should we be exploring our role in RA services?  Do any of you have suggestions or comments about this?


Filed under Access Issues, In the Cataloguing Department, The Library Catalogue