Creating Themed Materials for Adults

Rina Hadziev is the Collections & Technical Services Coordinator for the Greater Victoria Public Library. She has participated in book publicity events and is interested in finding new and different ways to bring people and books/movies/music together. She firmly believes that you should never apologize for anything you read, and loves to read frothy fiction, cozy mysteries, and urban fantasy as a vacation from reality. June Smith is a Public Services Librarian with GVPL. She enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction and connecting readers with both new and classic authors..

Library patrons can become stuck in a comfort zone of familiar authors or topics. Some approach staff and ask “what do I read next?” but not all do – so how do you offer reader’s advisory for the many that don’t ever come to the desk? How about a set of books, geared to adults, on a particular theme or topic!   Building on the success of our “Stories To Go” and “Puppets To Go” theme boxes for young children, and our “Books to Go” theme bags for kids, we decided to offer kits on a particular theme or topic for our adult readers, too. As a result, last year we launched GVPL’s “Staff Picks to Go” collection: each bag includes six books (fiction, non-fiction or a mixture of both) along with a related DVD or audiobook CD We also include a list of “further reading” on the same theme, so patrons can continue to explore the topic after they finish the set.

We created our “Staff Picks To Go” with our core users in mind – adults who love to read and who enjoy both the “tried and true” and the trendy. We drew on our reader’s advisory experience on the desk, our knowledge of what kinds of books are perennially popular, and what genres are currently in demand. Some of the kits we launched last year include African Crime Noir, Christian Fiction, Crimes in Cold Climes, and Fun for Foodies. We’re now expanding the collection with new themes, including Get Your Greek On, Not Your Kid’s Graphic Novels, and Inspired By Austen. To allow patrons time to fully explore the set of books they’ve checked out, the kits are loaned out for six weeks. The kits have proved very popular and they don’t linger long on our shelves; we all know the appeal of convenient, pre-selected, curated material! They’re popular with all types of patrons, whether they’re looking for a new favourite author, heading off on vacation, or selecting materials for others (such as shut-ins and seniors). They can even be used by staff who hit a “reader’s advisory wall” and can’t think of anything to suggest. Want to explore some of the other topics available in GVPL’s Staff Picks To Go collection? Visit and search “Staff Picks To Go”.

Staff Picks To Go: African Crime Noir


Staff Picks to Go: Madcap Travel Adventures



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