Sunday, 2 October 2011

Materials Matchmaking: Articulating Whole Library Advisory

In my research on Viewers' Advisory, I had looked at how factors of appeal can be transferred from Readers' Advisory.

This article from Tara Bannon Williamson in RUSQ builds on the factors of appeal to use them for all types of materials.

She also provides five 'bundles' which feature a theme and a representative book, CD and DVD. She explains the benefits of the bundles:

It is important to note that customers may not know to request a matchmaking intervention, and as librarians, we need to be bold enough to offer it to them. This can be achieved simply and without library jargon. Customers requesting a popular title may face an extensive wait list as more and more customers take advantage of the library’s offerings. After placing their request and before they walk away, asking if they are looking for a movie for tonight/the weekend/a special occasion can get the ball rolling.

I really like this approach.  It provides patrons with a sensory experience while exploring a theme. As library advisors, we may have not thought of ourselves in that light.  We can promote the wide variety of our collections with this method. 

Ms Bannon Williamson ends her article with the following:

Until a database similar to Novelist for providing recommendations for movies or music is created, or tools such as an algorithm that generates suggestions based on either customer or librarian input, or a recommendation engine is made available to libraries, any librarian can learn the skills needed to smoothly navigate the materials matchmaking request using skills based in readers’ advisory.

We are navigators to our collections.  Let's begin the voyage.

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