Staff picks

Following on from our last post on connecting our communities with reading, today we feature Chris Orpen, Regional Librarian from Logan North Library, in Queensland.  She attended “Best Sellers” readers advisory training with Paul Brown in November 2010, and then introduced retail principles of customer service and visual merchandising via staff picks into her library.

Chris writes:

Encouraging staff to write regular short reviews for shelf talkers has always been a problem.  All start out enthusiastically but the demands of day to day ‘busyness’ often pushes the reviews to a low or non priority.  We developed a simplified process to overcome this issue.  Each staff member has a colour coded book mark with a 5 star graphic and their name.  They simply choose a book they enjoyed or would recommend, place the bookmark inside with the label showing, and place it on our designated end displays.  Using this method we have loaned over 11,000 ‘staff picks’ in the last 12 months.

We had always planned to expand this concept if the project was successful.  To overcome the lack of written review, each staff member has their photo (with the corresponding colour code) on display near our Readers Advice desk.  Accompanying the photo is a dot point list of reading preferences and hobbies/interests.  This assists borrowers in selecting items of common interest.  The concept has proved very popular with many borrowers ‘following’ particular staff members, and it also adds a personal aspect to our selections.  An unexpected advantage has been that new members get to know the staff much more quickly.


Chris’s paper,  ‘If the shoe fits… the heart and sole of a retail librarian‘ is definitely worth a read!!

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