Douglas County Libraries RA Group discussion

DPL Introduces Personalized Reading Lists

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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy | 47 comments Mod
I was on the DPL Website the other day and noticed an announcement that they are offering Personalized Reading Lists Service. I gave it a go,to see what recommendations they would give me, what the form was like, and how long it would take them to get back to me.

The form was pretty simple. It asked about books I loved and why, authors I hated and why, and authors I loved and why.

That was about two or three days ago, and no response yet (but this is the holiday season).

Interestingly, they did not ask for my library card number, just my name and email address.

Anyone else game for giving DPL's service a try and we can see how they do?

message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy | 47 comments Mod
I just got a message from my friend Bobby, who works at DPL. He says they have been slammed with requests due to a CPR Piece on their new service. So, though we are encouraged to try it, we are also being asked to wait a bit.

By the Bye, here is a link to the CPR Piece

message 3: by Lainie (new)

Lainie | 21 comments I submitted a form too...we'll see how long it takes them to get caught up:)
Williamsburg Regional Library has been providing a similar service since 2004. I'd forgotten about it more recently, but I've used the service a couple of times and thought it was cool.

message 4: by Dedra (new)

Dedra | 13 comments A number of libraries are now offering this service, including High Plains here in CO, Provo Utah, St Charlies, IL and Topeka, KS.

message 5: by Amy (new)

Amy | 47 comments Mod
I received a list of 5 annotated recommendations at 11:19 a.m. I would say, of these, the person made me rethink reading possibly 2 books, one I have read, and one I know the author but haven't thought much about the title recommended.

The authors I gave them as favorites: Colson Whitehead, Nicole Krauss, and Kazuo Ishiguro (no books, I was having trouble thinking of specific titles). Authors I dislike were: Patterson, Meyers, and Rand (yes, as in Ayn).

They gave me: Age of Iron (Coetzee), True Grit (Portis), Sarah's Key (Rosnay), Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky), and House of Spirits by Allende.


message 6: by Lainie (new)

Lainie | 21 comments That's funny - I gave The Fountainhead as one of my least favorite books...

Did they give reasons that you might enjoy the titles? I don't know all the authors well enough to cast any judgements on the recommendations.

I got my reply on Saturday, and I think the thing I like best is the tone of the email. I felt like I got a sense of the person on the other end, and that she had taken the time to really think through what I had written. The reply had a cheery summary of what she took away from my likes/dislikes, followed up with a couple sets of recommendations that included brief notes on how they might match up with my other likes.

I will probably only follow up on the non-fiction recommendations (about 1/3 of what she sent), but it was definitely a nice interaction from my perspective.

message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy | 47 comments Mod
The person from DPL was very kind and made it sound as though my taste in books rocks. And she did a good job of tying her recommendations back to how she perceives why I like what I like. She even conceded when she thought she might be reaching, but sold the book nonetheless. It was well done on such short turnaround.

I checked JCPL, and they still offer the service too. They have simplified their form a bit, but still ask for 2 weeks, and do ask for a Library Card number. Here is a link to their form: Personal Recommendations form

I didn't do the same authors, and am kicking myself, but I felt as though they fell down on the job when I asked about chick lit last time, and am curious about how they will do with straight out romance. The form went in on Monday. I will let you know what I get.

message 8: by Amy (new)

Amy | 47 comments Mod
Over the weekend I received my list from Jefferson County. It was less personal than the one from Denver, though in a fancier format. They didn't talk at all about the impression they got from the books I mentioned, just sent me a list of 5 titles. Instead of talking about how this book would work for me, it looked as though they copied and pasted the book's synopsis into the note.

I gave them Sherry Thomas, Tessa Dare, and Lynsay Sands (the last was a stretch . . . I was running out of "favorite" authors). I got: Jude Deveraux (an old one . . . "Knight in Shining Armor"), Karen Moning (which puzzled me until I realized that Sands also writes paranormal romances), Lisa Kleypas, and Stephanie Laurens. So, pretty typical stuff. But nothing they did gave me any reason to read any of it, sadly enough.

message 9: by Dedra (new)

Dedra | 13 comments Interesting. You gave her a tough challenge, I think Sherry Thomas is about the best historical romance author currently. And Knight in Shining Armor seems an odd choice, not only really but a time travel. I would probably have suggested Mary Balogh or some older Mary Jo Putney like One Perfect Rose. Sands books have sort of silly humor in them, not like Sherry Thomas at all.

Have you seen where you can can book recommendations based on your Twitter feed?

message 10: by Jill (new)

Jill | 2 comments Even though our Personal Book Shopper service was not heavily used, a few years ago I submitted the idea of a web-based service to the managers group. Based on the experience of some other library systems like JCPL and Williamsburg, it seemed like a web-based service could be popular. Obviously my suggestion was not adopted, and in a way it seemed like it was just as well, since I wasn't sure how we would staff it.

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