The latest Reader’s Advisory initiative at North Vancouver District Public Library takes its cue from bookstores and other retail outlets by putting staff reviews right on the shelves. We wanted to draw our readers’ attention to books they might otherwise overlook. All staff members are encouraged to submit mini (no more than 50 words) reviews of their favorite titles. All the reviews are filed in a spreadsheet, and for each review a card is made up. Each card has the title, author, reviewer’s name, the review and a picture of the book cover. Then they are fitted into snazzy plastic holders called “Shelf Talkers” and slipped under the book. A message on the bottom of the talker offers the reader help in placing a hold if the book is not there. These reviews can be found in all areas of the library.
Three months in to the project, which we call “Staff Picks”, we are finding the patron response very good, judging by the empty spaces on the shelves where the reviews are! So far staff has submitted over 130 reviews, and now we need to get more of the holders so we can pepper our shelves with even more.
Soon more “shelf talkers” will join these reviews: read-a-like lists for popular authors will soon find their way on to the shelves as well, giving patrons more ideas on what to read next.
- Claire Westlake, Librarian, Capilano Branch, North Vancouver District Public Library