14 Simple Things That Will Increase Circulation

ImageNeed some quick & easy tips to boost circulation at your library?  Try one of these (emphases mine):

  1. We have a permanent NPR display of all the books that have been reviewed on the radio and we've seen a substantial jump in circ.
  2. One of my friends said yesterday that she casually leaves books on tables in the teens area, a sort of anti-display. Every book is checked out every day.
  3. Include staff pick notes on the shelves - guests really love detailed personal recs.
  4. I seed the shelving [recently returned] carts with books I feel sure they'd like if they'd only give them a try. Frequently I choose books with slightly dated or worn covers. Whether the taker is motivated by following a peer's lead or is just too lazy to look any further, it works. Once I start a title moving that way, it often circs for weeks.
  5. Peer recommendations for Tweens. Get them to write a brief review and take a picture of them holding the book. We put them up as screen savers. They love seeing what their friends are reading.
  6. Book Bundles http://saplbookmobile.blogspot.com/2010/05/book-bundles.html
  7. Book displays right next to where I am waiting to check out always get me!
  8. At my library, all staff members wear "Ask me what I'm reading!" buttons. Many patrons ask me, and many times think it sounds like a good book, and ask me to put it on hold for them! There is one member of our circulation staff who is well known for having excellent book suggestions, and patrons seek her out for advice. Open conversations about books helps increase awareness and excitement about reading!
  9. My favorite display I've ever saw took classic books and gave them homemade book jackets. Like on the Dracula book, the put something to the effect of "Dracula, the original Twilight." But that doesn't really do it justice because their sayings were really funny. They even did a Little Women and Sex and the City comparison. It got the teens to read the books and gave the adults a laugh.
  10. Have staff recommend a title to take home when they are placing holds. Make it easy for them to do this by developing quick readalike lists for high hold titles. This way even staff who are not comfortable with RA can help the reader get something to take home right away.
  11. I was able to immediately increase our circ of non-fiction (and fiction) by creating take-me displays at the circ desk and placed adjacent to where our patrons gathered.
  12. If the book was older, looking worn etc. - I cleaned it up and made it look like new - even going so far as swapping out the plastic cover for a new one.
  13. The other key was walking the floor - talking with the patrons about their research needs - and then either walking them to the correct stacks and pulling the books off of the shelves them. Gauging their response let me fine tune their reference needs and fill them.
  14. Key - display books everywhere. Keep it fresh and make it easy for the patrons to find and take your books. We made it fun and easy .... doing whatever it took to make their trip to the library worthwhile.We quickly ramped up and became the highest circulating PL in Connecticut - getting high circ numbers then the entire system of main library/multiple branches in the larger cities in the state - even though we were just a Branch. We led the state for years.

#1 - #10 are from this ALA Think Tank Facebook group post
#11 - #14 are from Thomas Jay Kemp's post at PubLib regarding marketing non-fiction
Image source: the State Library of Victoria via Flickr