Friday, October 25, 2013

Personal Shopping from The Library@HHS

School libraries are a hub of activity, offering an endless variety of services.  At The Library@HHS we like to refer to the library as the “One Stop Shop”.  If we can’t meet your needs we can always connect you with someone who can.

One service that gives us a great deal of joy is Personal Shopping for students.  Personal shoppers help others shop by giving advice and making suggestions to customers usually found in department stores or specialty boutiques. We have taken the Personal Shopper concept and revamped it for the school library.  Typically when we take on the role of a personal shopper it is at the request of a teacher for the students in their classes.  The students are asked to write down the following:
  • Last book read
  • Favorite book(s)
  • Favorite TV Show
  • Favorite movie
  • Hobbies
  • Anything else you think will help us match you to your perfect book

Occasionally the teacher will write the student’s lexile level on the back of the Personal Shopping Card and ask us to find book matches within the indicated reading level.  Matching students to their perfect book is a meticulous process.  On average, for a class of 25 students, it can take 2 to 3 days to find at least three book matches for each student.  

Here is a basic breakdown of the Personal Shopping process.  The teacher collects the personal shopping detail cards from their students and gives them to the librarians.   We take one card at a time, review the information provided and then begin searching our Destiny library management system and our OverDrive account for books that best match each student's interests. This is just the beginning of the Personal Shopping process.  Because we want to provide students with quality books, we spend a great deal of time reading book reviews, checking book award lists, and checking sites like Goodreads and Shelfari for ratings. Students at Hoover High School  have a voracious appetite for books which throws a kink in our personal shopping process as it is often a challenge to actually find the books we have chosen on the shelves available for check out, virtually or physically.  This is a good yet challenging “problem” when serving as a personal shopper.

Once all students have been matched to at least three book choices we schedule the class to come to the library for the big “unveiling” of the books.  

We briefly explain the Personal Shopping process to the students as well as letting the students know that if we haven’t made a successful match we will work with them individually to find the perfect book.  Students are given their book match stack and advised to find a comfortable place to review each of their books.  If they like a book or books in their stack they can check those books out and begin reading.  Any books students did not choose to take with them are put in a central location for others to peruse.  

It is always fun watching students get excited about the books we have chosen for them.  One girl exclaimed, “All of these books are perfect for me!”  

There are always one or two students in each class who we strike out with.  We work with these students one on one and delve deeper into their particular interests.  We are proud to say we have a 100% success rate matching books to readers.  Students often come back just a few days after a personal shopping experience to tell us how much they loved the book and asking us to match them up with another great book.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I've been doing that one on one for years but never thought about doing it all at once for a whole class. What a great idea!