Friday, April 21, 2017

Week 15 Prompt Response

What do you think are the best ways to market your library's fiction collection? Name and describe three ways you do or would like to market your library or your future library's fiction. These can be tools, programs, services, displays - anything that you see as getting the word out.

Each library has its own unique physical set-up and patron community it serves, but there can be some similar ways to market the fiction collection in most libraries.  One way would be to have the librarian's desk close to the fiction section and inform patrons that the librarians are there to assist them with any and all of their fiction needs.  There could be posters or information flyers on the librarian's desk pointing patrons towards them.  For example a flyer saying, "Looking for your next read?  I can help!," on the librarian's desk would help patrons understand that the librarian has the fiction knowledge and tools to help them find a good read, or at least point them in the right direction.  Also, within the stacks, there could be signs informing patrons of the librarian's assistance in finding what they want.  For example, a sign could say, "Don't see what you are looking for?  Stop by the librarian's desk to find it and more great reads!"

One important aspect of successful reader's advisory in the library is training.  Even if a librarian is placed in the best location possible near their fiction section, they are not going to be effective in marketing and promoting the library's fiction section if they do not know how to give good RA interviews.  It would be a good idea for libraries to regularly remind their librarians on how quality RA interviews are conducted through training seminars and required continuing education themed RA articles in library journals.  If librarian new hires have not had much or any training on reader's advisory, RA training should be part of their introductory learning steps for their new position.  In this way, the librarians covering these desks will have the skills and knowledge needed to get patrons excited and interested in the library's fiction collection.

I read about this next idea in an article from one of my other MLS courses.  In collaboration with my library's Friends of the Library group and local car repair shops, the library can place some books in the waiting areas of these local car repair shops.  These can be adult fiction books from some of the donations the Friends of the Library receives and are to be available for people to read while waiting on their cars to be fixed.  The bookshelves or cases the books are in would have the library's logo and general information about the library on it, along with an advertisement for the library's adult fiction section and information on how to get a library card.  To prevent the books from walking away, library and car shop information would be listed in each book so they look a bit more official and could be returned to their appropriate car shop if they end up finding their way to the library.

Finally, librarians could market their fiction section though combined displays.  While most displays usually are only one type of material, such as fiction, nonfiction, or audiovisual, these displays could have items from different areas of the library.  In a display about a specific historical era, there could be nonfiction books about the era alongside historical fiction books and audiovisual materials centered on this time period, such as DVDs and CDs.  This would help patrons see that even if they like one type of area in the library, such as nonfiction or movies, they are likely to find items in the fiction collection they would enjoy as well.


  1. Hi Julie,

    Great points all around! I agree well placed signage would definitely aid and be a great idea for assisting patrons. I also can’t help but give my two cents that roving reference/RA (if/when staff are able) would also be a helpful addition to such signage. Perhaps some patrons get intimidated by approaching the reference or circulation desk and roving reference is a way to put their minds at ease and assist them. Just a friendly librarian who just happens to be walking by to provide RA or other assistance, if needed and/or wanted.

    I also like your point and strongly agree that staff training has so much to do with successful overall RA. This point is perhaps the most powerful, as it is cumulative in the way that, what good does innovative signage, displays, (and even in some ways) a great fiction collection mean if you can’t assist a patron in finding their next good book?

    1. Jonathan, I think you have a very good point that some people may not feel comfortable approaching the desk, even with inviting signs. The roving librarian is a super solution. I visited one library about a year and half ago, where the librarian is required to rove with an ipad for 15 minutes every hour. The ipad is loaded with links for the most common reference and RA questions.

  2. I love the idea of putting books around the community. Its a great way to introduce people to reading in general and also to show them the library and information about the library.

  3. Great prompt response! Full points! I too like the idea about placing books around the community! Innovative!

  4. Have you ever seen those little library boxes in neighborhoods and coffee shops? It would be neat to have the library help people with Little Libraries because it would be away to promote and market the public library.