Ottawa Public Library "Good Reads" Shelf-talkers: Guidelines for Project coordinators - community branches

Ottawa (Ontario - Canada) Public Library has 33 branches. The following guidelines, generously provided by Alexandra Yarrow, describes how they implemented shelf-talkers in their libraries. - Chris Rippel]
  1. Designate a project coordinator for your branch or cluster. This person should be the contact person for comments, and the person keeping track of statistics.

  2. Print up some shelf-talkers on cardstock paper (we used the same colour for French and English; could also use different colours to differentiate).

  3. Make them available to all branch staff. Put some at the Circulation and Information Desks, in the staff room, and anywhere else you think people might pick them up!

  4. Communicate with all staff about the project, either in person or via e-mail. Please emphasize that everyone can and should participate in the project: pages, circulation staff, Info staff, coordinators, and managers! Also, be sure to tell them:

    • What the project is about: why we are doing it, what you expect, how long this will last, specific cluster or branch goals, whether your branch will include mini-displays.

    • General characteristics of the shelf-talkers: short and sweet, personalized, highlighting new and old titles in your branch’s collection.

    • Where to find extra shelf-talkers to fill out.

    • To leave you, the project coordinator, each finished shelf-talker to put up. This allows you to proofread each shelf-talker and record information about the title for statistics.

    • To pass along to you any comments received from patrons.

  5. Use the ones with call # space in top right corner for non-fiction books.

    • Put shelf talkers in AEF, AEM, AFF, JENF/JFNF, JEF, AENF/AFNF. Please see guidelines for staff (separate document).

  6. Order in extra copies of some titles to highlight with a mini-display in the stacks (face-out).

  7. Statistics: we suggest you keep track of the following information about each shelf-talker:

    • Title, author, and collection code

    • The summary text

    • The date it was put up

    • Total circ of branch’s owning copy, taken on the day when the shelf-talker was put up.

    • Total circ of branch’s owning copy, taken 2 months after the shelf-talker was put up.

    • Average circ of shelf-talkers, by collection code if desired, after 2 months.

    • Total circ of branch’s owning copy, taken 4 months after the shelf-talker was put up.

    • Average circ of shelf-talkers, by collection code if desired, after 4 months.

  8. Guidelines for keeping statistics:

    • Keep a note of whether you order additional copies of a title. This will affect your circulation statistics.

    • Since mysteries are shared, it can be hard to track circulation.

    • See our attached template for an example of how to keep statistics. Feel free to do it differently!

  9. Publicity ideas:

    • Put a sample shelf-talker on your library bulletin board and/or in a display case and write a note telling patrons to look for shelf-talkers throughout the library

    • Invite your local community paper to run an article about shelf-talkers.

  10. We recommend that you replace your shelf-talkers with new ones every 2-3 months. Our pilot project lasted 4 months so we could see how circulation dropped off after initial popularity.

  11. Take down the old ones when you make up new ones. File them away for quick reference in case a patron inquires about an older shelf-talker that has since been removed. You can either keep the actual paper copy or keep a running Word doc or Excel doc with the information in it. As above, you will see that we kept the summary info directly in the Excel sheet where we recorded statistics.