As Valentine’s Day approaches, Cherry Hill librarians are showcasing one of the township library’s services with the Valentine’s Day Book Match.
Librarians pair interested readers with personalized book recommendations based on a short survey on the library website. The book match tradition started in 2016 as a way to bring attention to the reader’s advisory services offered year-round.
“(It)’s what librarians do every day when we talk to people and recommend books for them,” explained Candace Worrell, a youth services librarian at the Cherry Hill library. “We just ask what their interests are, what books they’ve read recently, what they enjoyed about it, what they didn’t, and then we find other books for them.”
Amanda Zuccarelli, an adult services librarian at the library, explained that recommendations are based on a variety of sources. She tends to use Novelist – a database for the public on the library website that helps find books similar to a patron’s previous choices – in combination with her personal experience.
For Zuccarelli, that includes being familiar with the library’s fiction collection and knowing which books and authors are similar from the number of reviews she reads when deciding what books to purchase for the library.
“A lot of people just expect me to recommend whatever I’m reading to them,” Zuccarelli noted. “That’s what your friend is going to do; your friend is going to say, ‘I read this book, it was great, you should read it,’ but that might not be your taste, whereas I feel like I can recommend a book to you that is good for you, and it’s one of my favorite parts of my job.”
The feature has become increasingly useful for people unable to get to the library because of COVID. The process is the same as the Valentine’s Day Book Match: Patrons fill out a form with their preferences and then can be emailed three to four book recommendations, or the librarians can place the book on hold for pickup.
The feature is currently available for kids on the library website at https://chplnj.org/kids. While the feature is currently unavailable for adults (aside from the Valentine’s Day Book Match), people can always ask the librarians for book recommendations.
The Novelist database is available at https://chplnj.org/for-book-lovers and book lists with recommendations are at https://chplnj.org/what-should-i-read-next.