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New Reader’s Advisory Tools @ RPL

Posted about 9 months ago by Jennifer Deuell

You may have noticed recently that we have a few new reader’s advisory tools on our website. The first, NoveList Select, is located within our online catalog. Now when searching for resources within our catalog, you’ll receive personalized suggestions right within the item’s record. Let’s take a look…

Here, I searched for one of my favorite YA novels, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton. As you can see, when I click on the record, the online catalog displays all the usual information (title, author, ISBN, Abstract, etc.)

However, if you scroll to the bottom of the record, you’ll now notice a new feature called NoveList Content. Within this new content, you’ll first notice a list of all the books in this particular series. Good to know if you’ve accidentally found yourself looking up book #2 when you weren’t aware there was a book #1. Or, perhaps you’ve read and enjoyed book #1 and are looking for what’s next.

But wait, there’s more! Continue scrolling and you’ll find read-alike suggestions for both title, author, and series. Select one of these read-alike suggestions and NoveList will tell you why it was chosen. With nearly three decades of readers’ advisory expertise, NoveList’s book professionals meticulously catalog and tag authors and titles, resulting in highly relevant search results, not loosely tied suggestions.

Next up, story elements. These are the tags given to each book. NoveList uses three different types of story elements — appeal, genre, and theme. All of these are hyperlinked so you can select a story element that appeals to you and receive even more book recommendations. Honestly, you can quickly find yourself traveling down a glorious reader’s rabbit hole with this feature.

Then comes the ratings and reviews section. You can immediately see how many stars Goodreaders gave the book (on average). This is also hyperlinked so you can jump right over to Goodreads and read some of their reviews. Also in this section you can find the Lexile Measure and Accelerated Reader scores. This is especially helpful for our younger readers and their caregivers looking for books appropriate to their reading level. As you can see, you can select one of these measures and search for more books that fall within the same range. Again, this opens the doors for so many more reading suggestions.

Finally, you come to the awards section. This one is pretty self-explanatory but still a really nice feature. As with all the other features, this one is also hyperlinked so if you want to find other books that have been awarded the same accolades, you can dig a little deeper.

Exciting, right?! If you’re like me, and love to grow your TBR list, then NoveList Select is just what you need. 

The second new reader’s advisory tool I’d like to introduce you to is BookChat. BookChat is located within our NoveList Plus database and it’s a chat feature like you’ve never experienced before. BookChat is staffed by those same reader’s advisors who help populate the results for NoveList Select. Only now you can get their recommendations in real time! Simply select the “Start Chat” widget and describe what you’re looking for. Then, a real life expert will provide on-demand suggestions. The best part is, BookChat is staffed Monday through Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET. So, you are able to receive these suggestions even when the library is closed. Happen to catch them on their off hours? No problem. They’ll prompt you to send an email and you’ll get a response usually the next day!


Now, please don’t forget about our original reader’s advisory tools — Bookologist, NoveList Plus, and the OG librarian.

Bookologist is an in-house reader’s advisory tool that offers on demand, hand-crafted, “bespoke” book suggestion lists just for you. The service provides reading recommendations for adults, teens, and kids from our knowledgeable RPL librarians. These reading suggestions usually take 3-5 days and are a great option if you find a librarian with similar reading interests to you or you’d just like to get to know your RPL staff a little better.

The “old faithful” NoveList Plus is available 24/7 through the library’s website. NoveList Plus is a database that’s been in our toolkit for quite some time. It offers all the same great features mentioned above for NoveList Select, with a few additional bonus features.

First, NoveList Plus is available 24/7. So, you’ll be able to search it and get extensive lists of reading suggestions immediately. Also, you don’t have to start with a known book or author. Instead, you can describe a book using keywords, themes, time periods, setting, etc. NoveList Plus also creates book lists based on your reading mood. Examples include “I’m in the mood for…offbeat and witty, world-building and atmospheric, or quiet and moving.” These lists are further divided by reader’s age and are updated regularly. In fact, the curated lists go on and on including niche categories like Canadian fiction, westerns, and books in the media to name a few. Finally, NoveList Plus offers resources for book club and diversity topics to help you get even more out of your reading.

And, of course, this blog post would not be complete without mentioning the original reader’s advisor tool — a librarian! RPL librarians are always thrilled to get reader’s advisory questions. It’s a chance to recommend some of our favorite books or dig in and research some new ones. We also have been known to be a bit stubborn, not quitting until we find your perfect next read. You can access our librarians via phone or stopping by in person during regular library hours. We are ready and waiting for your reading inquiries!

We hope you’ll take advantage of one or more of these great reader’s advisory resources. If you do, please let us know what you think!

Jennifer Deuell

Jenn Deuell is a Librarian with Richmond Public Library. She is a native of Fredericksburg, VA but has lived in Richmond for long enough that she now considers it home. She loves all things YA and can usually be found curled up at home with a good book (rainy day or not). Her other hobbies include traveling and spending time with family, including her husband, daughter Hannah, and two rescued pit bulls. For YA reading recommendations from Jenn, visit Bookologist.

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