Do your patrons like surprises? Are they adventurous enough to check out a bag of books sight unseen? If you answer YES, then their books are ready!
At Fraser Valley Regional Library, we recently launched our “Grab & Go” service. Available for children, teens and adults, these bags are offered in many different genres like action/adventure, Canadiana, popular fiction, romance, science fiction and more. Branches can customize the genres to their particular communities. Inside each paper bag are 6-10 books pre-selected by library staff to save the customer time. We generate a list of barcodes of the books inside, staple it to the outside, and then use that for a fast check-out (very low tech!). Savvy customers have even mastered it on the self check-out machines. They are especially popular with busy parents, and we always have a good supply of picture book bags available after storytimes, etc. Others tell us they like them because they’ve read out their favourite authors and the variety helps them find someone new.
One of the side-effects (besides boosting Circ stats), is that we often have people requesting special bags to be made up just for them. Even though we’ve always provided RA service like this, for some reason the existence of the Grab & Go bags has twigged people to the fact that we are book experts and we can find new things for them to read. It’s certainly keeping us busy!