A “Novel” Approach to Recreational Reading: Creating a Virtual Collection on a Shoestring

Your Name and Title: Sarah Dahlen, Reference and Instruction Librarian

Library, School, or Organization Name: California State University, Monterey Bay

Co-Presenter Name(s): Steve Watkins

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: California, USA

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Academic Librarians

Short Session Description (one line): A low/no-cost alternative to providing a separate, physical recreational reading collection is to create a virtual collection that allows patrons to browse for titles by genre or book cover, much as they would in a bookstore or library collection.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Reading for recreation has been tied to academic achievement and lifelong learning, but many academic libraries either do not consider it vital to their mission or do not have the funds to pursue its promotion. A low/no-cost option is to create a virtual recreational reading collection that allows patrons to browse for titles by genre or book cover, much as they would in a bookstore or physical collection. The presenters recently implemented this solution at their institution by dynamically compiling records of existing titles belonging to genres that are often of interest to recreational readers. This presentation will address the justification for investing staff time in promoting recreational reading, discuss the technology employed to create and maintain a virtual collection, and share the impacts of this effort on circulation.

After wanting to offer a recreational reading collection for 15 years and constantly coming up against roadblocks and resource constraints, we decided to look at the challenge through a new lens, to create something from nothing, to leverage existing content to create an enticing way of engaging our users with leisure reading. No moving books to special locations. No new spending to acquire additional titles. Just an elegant and creative way of using existing technology to surface hidden treasure from our collection.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Sessionhttp://library2.csumb.edu/voyager/recreading.php

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