reading matters, so let's make public library reader services awesome!


A recent #mynextread conversation including
feedback from a recommended author.
Following my earlier post on form-based readers advisory services and the great two day CODES Conversation which raised the use of social media in readers advisory service, I’m pleased to introduce Mary Barnett and Cathy Royal from Chattanooga Public Library as guest bloggers.

Mary and Cathy run #mynextread on Twitter and Facebook. This is their story.

We decided to launch the #mynextread social media promotion after hearing about Michigan’s Capital Area District Library’s BookSleuth idea.
The idea is fairly simply and really fun. We ask our patrons on Facebook and Twitter to tell us the titles of the last three books they’ve read so the #mynextread librarian can recommend the next book they might enjoy based on those previous selections.
We tweet and post the results back to each patron along with some info about the book or author and a link to the material in our catalog. The patron can then simply log on to their online library account with their library card, place the recommended title on hold and have it delivered to their nearest branch.
It’s alot of fun to read the responses to some of the suggested material. Most everyone is intrigued if not outright excited. Overall they seem really pleased to have a brand new book to look forward to, in most cases something they had not considered before the #mynextread librarian’s suggestion.
The “mynextread” librarian is actually Cathy Royal who works fulltime in tech services at the Chattanooga Public Library as the Popular Material Specialist. She is responsible for purchasing most of the material for the collection.
Prior to joining the library staff in 2001, Cathy worked in bookstores for 10 years and has decades of additional professional experience working in books, video rental and other assorted media. She was also a former contestant on Jeopardy!
Cathy says she loves the challenge of trying to find a title that seems to fit with what the reader has already read. She says she often relies on intuition.
“…and although my connections may look tenuous, I have occasionally minded my personal collection for ideas, I always double check to be sure our library owns what I have in mind.”
So far we have tried the promotion during the lunch hours of 11-1 on Fridays and Thursdays. We’re open to playing with time of day and day of week on this to fit the online habits of our audience. We’ve had anywhere from a dozen or more submissions, which keeps Cathy very busy, to just two or three. You have to be flexible when you try new things so you can adjust to how the public is or isn’t participating.
The best part is having an enthusiastic secret well-informed ‘weapon’ like Cathy Royal as the #mynextread librarian. She is an avid reader and book connoisseur and is totally into public engagement.

“I think #mynextread is like a mental obstacle course, or literary speed-Jeopardy, with something more important that money involved. Although I’m anonymous for now, my reputation and that of the Chattanooga Public Library is involved, and I want as many patrons as possible to enjoy this as much as I do.”

Mary Barnett, CPL Narrative Specialist / Content Marketing
Cathy Royal, CPL Popular Material Specialist


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This entry was posted on October 13, 2013 by in book discovery, collaboration, programs, reader services, readers, reading.
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