Friday, June 26, 2015

Why I Love NoveList, and You Should, Too: Part Two

NoveList, You Have So Much to Offer! 

Two weeks ago, we began our NoveList journey by looking at the menu bar on the top of the page, but we've only scratched the surface of what this amazing database has to offer. There is so much more to see!

Tutorials and Online Help

Before we dive in, I want to mention that NoveList itself has extremely helpful How-To videos and articles, and you can even sign up for NoveList training. The menu (screenshot below) is located at the very bottom of the screen. The videos are a wonderful way to get to know the database. This post is just a quick overview of the database, but I highly recommend checking out these videos for intensive assistance. Also, in the interest of clarity, I have added a multitude of screen-shots to this blog post. I know they are small, but when you double click them, they become much larger.

Keeping Up...

This is such a great feature, because even the best librarian in the world can't keep up with everything. Click on this to read articles about what's new in various genres. Each category (YA, Dystopian, Romance, Fantasy, etc.) will give a brief summary of the topic, suggestions of book lists for fans of the genre, and recent titles for adults and teens. Scroll to the bottom of the page to get help with RA (particularly helpful if you're just not personally a fan of the genre) with articles written about the subject.

There's also a section called "Grab This," which has reading maps and posters that you can print out to hang up in your library. Why do the work when the work has already been done for you? Bonus: they look fantastic.

I grabbed this from the "Grab This" section.

Plot Searches

At the top of the main page, there is a keyword search bar, which will bring you to any book you choose. If you can't remember the title of your book, typing in a few keywords about the plot will search the database for books that match your description. Typing in "Japan 1930s women" brings up several titles, each with a quick plot summary and book cover for easy identification. As a bonus, take a look at the left side of the results page that I've screen-shotted here.

You can refine the results by audience publication date, genre, and other criteria. I've used this many times for those kinds of reference questions where, "I know I read this when I was a kid in the 1960's..." Simply change the publication date and the audience, and you're golden.

Book Summaries and Metadata

 Once you find the book you're looking for, you'll be directed to a page for that specific book. This will include reviews from major reviewing publications (Kirkus, BookList, Publisher's Weekly, etc.); information about the author and links to their websites or interviews; a list of awards won; a list of NoveList articles that mention the book; a list of subject headings that could be used to describe it (all of which are click-able!); a perma-link so that you can always get back to the same page; and icons that let you print, email, save, or add this book to a folder. (Note: if you create a log in and password, you can save your folders - and whichever books, lists, etc. you would like - between uses.)

How is this different from GoodReads? The image on the left is from NoveList, and on the right is from GoodReads; double-click the image to see it larger.

As you can see, they both have the author, description, publication, and all the usual metadata. However, NoveList also includes reviews from many major publications, awards won, Lexile scores, etc. This is not to put down GoodReads! I use it all the time, and I love it, and you can even see that the reviews on NoveList are actually from GoodReads. It's just that NoveList has a lot more to it, which is useful for librarians and other professionals who work with literature and not particularly needed for those who are looking for pleasure reading. (Myself included: I use NoveList for work, and GoodReads for fun. You don't have to choose one and hate the other. I promise, your loyalty will not be tarnished.)


On the NoveList main page, they have a list of books that are currently popular, and read-alikes for that particular title. Personally, I find this helpful not only for RA, but also to know what people are looking up recently, since I am not able to be active in all corners of the library at once.

On the right side of a book's NoveList page, there are links for "Title Read-Alikes."  Clicking these links opens up a printable list of books that may appeal to fans of the original title. Each book is listed with author and a couple sentences about why readers may enjoy it. Each of these suggestions is reader-submitted; if you like, you can click the thumbs-up or thumbs-down buttons, which lets you offer feedback on whether you agree with the recommendation or not. If you are looking at the author's page, you will see a list of author read-alikes, instead.

Recommended Reads Lists

Back on the main page again, you can find lists by genre (and sub-genre!), for all ages. Let's say that I have a patron who wants "a nice cozy mystery." Clicking on "Mysteries" will open a new tab with sub-genres... and look! There's a category called "Getting Cozy."

What makes a mystery "cozy"? When in doubt, clicking on the sub-genre will open a page giving you a description of the category.
That DOES sound cozy!
On the right side of the chosen sub-genre's page, you'll also see "Additional Lists," which may give you similar titles. For example, the "Cooking Up Crime" list will have just those mysteries that feature chefs, bakeries, catering businesses, etc. (As a bonus, cooking mysteries often include recipes in the back of the book, which thankful patrons are welcome to bring to their favorite librarians.)

NoveList vs. NoveList Plus

From the EBSCO website.
We just got the fantastic news that our library system is upgrading from NoveList to Novelist Plus! What's the difference? Novelist Plus includes both nonfiction titles and audiobooks. Fabulous!

In Conclusion

I think I've hit on most of the awesome things that NoveList can do, but I wouldn't be surprised if I missed a few; there are just so many great corners of this database. Did I miss your favorite part? Tell me in the comments!

Want to Read More About NoveList?

Why I Love NoveList, and You Should, Too: Part One (Overview)
Why I Love NoveList, and You Should, Too: Part Three (New July Features!)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ready to Go Book Display: Letters

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month, we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group (Adults, Teens and Children) that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. 

Recommendations for Adults:
 Collects over one hundred letters providing a glimpse into famous events and people in history, penned by such authors as Ray Bradbury, Katharine Hepburn, Galileo, and Flannery O'Connor.
 A memoir of love and faith from Hannah Brencher who has dedicated her life to showing total strangers that they are not alone in the world.
An ode to the dwindling art of letter writing explores its potential salvation in the digital age, chronicling the history of letter writing as reflected by love letters, chain mail, and business correspondence, while surveying the role that letters have played as literary devices.
Collects celebrity letters of love, whimsy, and gratitude to their feline companions, including contributions by Dr. Oz, Mariel Hemingway, and Jackson Galaxy. Also check out A Letter to My Dog.

 A voyeurist look at modern romance brings together an assortment of actual love letters, written by a diverse cross section of people, that appear exactly as they were originally written, offering candid insights into how people think about love. Also check out Other People's Rejection Letters.
Provides a humorous collection of letters from cats providing excuses and suggestions for their human companions. Also see Sorry I Pooped in Your Shoe.

Recommendations for Teens:
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (April 2014)
When Laural starts writing letters to dead people for a school assignment, she begins to spill about her sister's mysterious death, her mother's departure from her family, her new friends, and her first love.

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka (April 2015)
Chronicles the friendship between an American girl and her pen pal from Zimbabwe, discussing how a class assignment was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two loves.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (April 2014)
Lara Jean writes love letters to all the boys she has loved and then hides them in a hatbox until one day those letters are accidentally sent. 

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves by Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristin Anderson (Oct 2012)
 A collection of advice and reflections by young adult authors who reveal personal experiences from their teen years shares recommendations on topics ranging from abuse and relationships to bullying and body issues.

 Recommendations for Children:
A Letter for Leo by Sergio Ruzzier (Nov 2014)
When Leo, a weasel mailman, rescues a young bird that was separated from his flock, the two become friends and Leo's dream of one day receiving a letter of his own may finally come true.
Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague (Sept 2003)
Gertrude LaRue receives typewritten and paw-written letters from her dog Ike, entreating her to let him leave the Igor Brotweiler Canine Academy and come back home.

Ten Thank-You Letters by Daniel Kirk (Oct 2014)
While Pig is trying to finish a thank-you note to his grandmother, his best friend Rabbit repeatedly interrupts to borrow supplies for a series of his own notes, thanking all of the special people in their lives.

The Jolly Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg (Sept 2001)
A Jolly Postman delivers letters to several famous fairy-tale characters such as the Big Bad Wolf, Cinderella, and the Three Bears.

Herman's Letter by Tom Percival (Nov 2014)
After Henry the raccoon moves away from his best friend, Herman the bear, their promise to be pen pals becomes difficult.

Dear Princess by Disney (Sept 2014)
Stories featuring princesses are told through correspondence received by each princess, including a letter from an evil stepmother, a positive review from a restaurant critic, and a message in a bottle from a mysterious undersea writer.

Recommendations for All Ages:

P.S. I Hate It Here!: Kids' Letters from Camp by Diane Falanga (May 2010)
The experience of being away from home for the first time creates hilarious and lasting memories. Here are more than 150 delightful and heartwarming real-life letters, covering all the imaginable scenarios of sleep-away camp. Also check out the sequel P.S. I Still Hate It Here!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Why I Love NoveList, And You Should, Too: Part One

Librarians are expected to know everything, and that can be a little intimidating. Luckily, I find that you don't have to know everything... you just have to know where to find it. This can be particularly tricky when doing readers' advisory, because no matter how many books you read, shelve, and hear about, there are always more that are just out of reach: there are just too many books in the world for any one person to know them all. As such, please allow me to introduce you my personal favorite RA database.

What is NoveList, and why do I care?

In short, NoveList is a reader's advisory database. You care because it will make your librarian life easier by orders of magnitude, and if you geek out about stuff like this (like I do), you can have a lot of fun with it, too.  There's a lot to it, but no need to be intimidated; we've split it into two parts to make it more manageable. (Don't have NoveList where you work? Check the library in the town where you live; it might surprise you!)

Here's what NoveList has to offer you:

The Toolbar

For this article, we're just going to focus on the toolbar at the top of the page. I think we can get through this without too much worry, right?

 Lists & Articles