In today’s world of automated phone systems and computer-generated responses—with little chance of connecting with a human being—Jacksonville Public Library offers something quite surprising: real people who provide customers with personalized booklists.
They call themselves the JPL Bookfinders.
Amber Holley, youth services senior librarian, works at the Main Library. She is one of five JPL Bookfinders. Holley recently received a customer request for a list of good beach reads. The customer had listed a favorite author, two genres she enjoys and three favorite TV shows. Holley used the information to create a personalized booklist for the customer.
Interested in your own personalized booklist? Here’s what to do:
- Visit the JPL website and select Resources for Readers.
- Click on Get Your Personalized Booklist.
- Answer a few questions and submit the form.
- One of the librarians will review the requests and create a list of 6-8 books.
- They will send a letter by email within three to five days.
Last year more than 100 customers received personalized lists from Holley and the other JPL Bookfinders: Ann Fridl, senior librarian at the Highlands Branch; Eva Newton, library associate Special Collections, Main Library; Mark Hohnadel, senior librarian Southeast Regional Branch; and Tamera Branam, senior librarian Beaches Branch.
Not interested in a personal approach? Here are three additional ways to find booklists:
- NoveList Plus is a free service available to all library card holders who can access a computer at home or at the library. Click on E-Research, click on Novelist Plus and you will find lists of fiction and nonfiction titles, categorized by age: adult, teen, ages 9 – 12, and ages 0 – 8. You can also find read-alikes and listen-alikes of favorite titles, authors and series.
- NextReads, also free to card holders, sends book lists in monthly e-newsletters. Customers select genres, enter an email address and then receive monthly lists direct to their inbox.
- Use the library catalog. Enter a title you have enjoyed, click on the book, and at the bottom of the page click on “Read-alikes and Reviews” to get titles of books you might also like.
Here’s Holley’s list:
Ten Great Reads for the Beach
- The Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank
- Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery
- Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook
- Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax
- Silver Girl: a novel by Elin Hilderbrand
- Summer by the Sea by Susan Wiggs
- The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares
- Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
- Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
- Summer Houseby Nancy Thayer