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Creative Ideas for Promoting Reader Services

We collect great ideas for promoting readers services in libraries. Here are just a few of our favorites! Have one to add? Feel free to send it along.


  1. Give each staff member their own stock of small cards to hand out to patrons when they're doing in-person RA. Have one side of the card blank for writing down the call numbers of books, and on the other side have the card filled out with the librarian's name, branch, and maybe even their photo.
  2. Instead of displaying booklists on a rack, try putting them inside books that patrons are already checking out -- they'll get a great idea of what to read next!
  3. Create a display out of the titles your book clubs are reading. Not only will it increase your circulation, but it will promote the book clubs too!
  4. Put up chalkboard signs next to a book display and ask readers to write their own comments on some of the books, make recommendations, and share their reading experience.
  5. Go beyond themed displays and set out a "Best Bets" cart in a location with lots of foot traffic. Put out titles with a wide appeal for patrons on the run.
  6. Create bookmarks for popular authors and titles and stock them on book displays. TIP: If your library subscribes to LibraryAware, it's quick and easy to create bookmarks of any variety, like this What to Read Next for fans of the Jack Reacher novels. 
  7. Make book bundles! Find a quirky way to link a few different titles together under a unifying theme and bundle them together with ribbon or string for patrons to check out.
  8. Create an "It's your lucky day!" shelf stocked with extra copies of the hottest titles (keep a few out of the normal holds process to allow for serendipitous discovery).
  9. Use something as ubiquitous as book returns to create something awesome AND improve your RA services, like this librarian who started Bookstagramming returns.


  1. This article explains ideas for making books part of every program you do.
  2. Take advantage of the ever-popular books-to-movies by hosting "Read It Watch It" events. Have your staff promote a particular book and host a public screening of its film adaptation. Don't forget the popcorn! TIP: Find lists of Books to Movies (and TV shows) in NoveList.
  3. Host a Book Bites reading group. Patrons bring in what they've been reading, give a brief synopsis, and tell whether or not they'd recommend it. Bonus: Have a staff member take note of the titles patrons bring in, and turn that list into a Book Bites Newsletter other patrons can subscribe to. It's a great way to increase your circulation AND bring in more participants. (TIP: this newsletter would be really easy to do in LibraryAware!)
  4. Set up a "What Should I Read?" table in your lobby and staff it with readers' advisors ready to offer patrons suggestions as they walk in the door. Bonus idea; have a laptop open with NoveList ready to use!


  1. Start a series of Staff Picks posts on your blog; it helps readers connect with your staff!
  2. Start a Facebook book discussion group for patrons. 
  3. Use book widgets (or rivers, or whatever you call them) on your website to provide an ever-changing online book display. TIP: It's easy to do this with NextReads newsletter widgets.)


  1. Partner with book clubs in your community by offering to host "Booked for Dessert" nights in your library. Provide sweet refreshments, coffee, and a cozy place to talk books!
  2. Write a monthly readers' advisory column in the local newspaper.  
  3. Have a booth at your local farmer's market. Bring along books about cooking, gardening, and eating local -- and don't forget the kids' books!

Want to submit other ideas for consideration? Send them along