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Select RPL branches will open on July 9. Due dates are extended, and fines suspended until further notice. Materials returns and curbside holds pickup are available at select branches. Visit www.reginalibrary.ca/covid-19 for more information.

Kendra from Sunrise June 16, 2020, 2:57 PM

Librarians Creating Personalized Reading Lists

Now that you can pick up holds at the library but still can’t browse the shelves, are you stumped to know what to borrow? Never fear. RPL’s service Books4Me has your back.

Answer a few quick questions about your reading preferences and we’ll send you an email with a personalized booklist. The more you tell us about the books you love, the better we can put together a list that will inspire and entertain you!

How do we do it?

Some reading services use algorithms to choose books based on your responses. Books4Me uses a prized library resource: librarians!

What is it like for an RPL librarian to create a personalized reading list for someone we’ve never met?

It’s a treasure hunt. 

Just like Nancy Drew, we follow the clues and map out what we know for sure. Then we use tools, training, subject experts, and our unshakable love of reading to fill in the blanks. Of course, the mystery of what a customer could enjoy reading is never really solved – it’s a lifelong discovery. Our mission is to present a list full of treasures that fuel the mystery’s fire to keep it burning.   

The tool we use most is: each other! Talk to a room full of librarians (wearing masks along with plenty of glasses, cardigans, and sensible shoes) and you’ll find an enormous range of opinions on what makes a great book and which are worth reading. This diversity is perfect when we’re providing recommendations in a genre we don’t normally read ourselves: we learn from each other about what’s new or exceptional for a particular audience. One of my RPL colleagues, for example, has a huge appetite for children’s literature; she’s my go-to if I need suggestions for kids. Another collaborator has a passion for horror, which is not my cup of tea – I’m grateful for her expertise when I need it! However, I’m your gal for historical or contemporary fiction with a smart, strong female protagonist, or if you’re looking to be inspired by a memoir.

We use online tools as well: databases and services with features like reviews, themed booklists, and author read-alikes. Our favorite is a service that RPL customers can also use: NoveList Plus

Our instinct also plays a part when we choose books for customers. We see which new or classic titles fly off the shelves, and we spend lots of time talking to customers about what they are reading in a normal workday. This gives us a sense of what’s most popular and what we think will be a hit with our Books4Me customers. But we can’t resist finding a few hidden gems as well, to give some lesser-known authors and titles a chance. 

Books4Me is a service for kids, teens and adults. You can access the questionnaires from our website or by calling our hotline at 306.777.6000. All you need is a library card and PIN. If you don’t have a card, get one today

About Author

Kendra from Sunrise

Natural habitat: Recommending the perfect book!

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