By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
It’s been almost a year since patrons were able to walk through the doors of the Dover Town Library. In that time, everyone, from those who frequent the library to casual visitors, has missed the chance to browse through the shelves and to leave with a book or movie they never expected to borrow. Recently, the staff at the Dover Town Library has found a way to bring a piece of that joy back for patrons with their new Picked4You program.
Though I’m not a Dover resident, I frequent my own library often, so Picked4You intrigued me enough to give it a try. During my lunch break from work, I visited the Dover Town Library website and filled out the Picked4You survey geared towards adults (there’s one geared for each age group). I answered questions about types of items I wanted to pick out (movies and books) and genres that I was interested in, as well as listing some of my favorite shows, movies, and books, must-have qualities about the story, and additional information that might help staff pick out the best book. Seeing the survey was particularly reassuring; it was a sure sign the DTL staff was taking great care in pairing patrons with the perfect picks.
Picked4You gives patrons the surprise they would get while browsing and asking for suggestions without even entering the library. After filling out the questionnaire, library staff picks four of each requested media that fit the taste of the patron. “The library has always provided reader's advisory services to our patrons, and has continued to do so throughout the pandemic. However, when the new year began, the library staff thought it would be a good time to remind everyone - with a fun slogan - that we are still here for them, even if community safety requires us to keep our distance instead of being face-to-face. We hope the best part of the Picked4You program is getting our patrons titles to enjoy, and maybe introducing them to something new while they are unable to browse themselves!” said DTL Head of Technical Services Joan Campbell, inventor of the program.
Less than 24 hours after filling in my survey, I had an email in my inbox from Campbell with a selection picked for me based on the questionnaire. All I had to do was click on a link to schedule my pickup and provide information about what my vehicle looked like. Just days later, I headed to the DTL to pick up my order. Between calling the front desk to let them know I had arrived and received a bag of books, the process took about five minutes.
Library staff have always served as the sommeliers of the book world, but the Picked4You program is giving them the chance the stretch their skills even further. “While the staff does miss patrons coming in to browse and helping guide them to titles and authors they may be unfamiliar with, we feel the program gives us the opportunity to do some customized browsing for our patrons while the building is closed to the public. General reader's advisory and Picked4You is available for all ages and is honestly a lot of fun for the library staff. We get so excited when someone asks us for this service! So please, don't hesitate to call us directly or submit our online form so we can find you your next great read!”
Though it is unclear when the DTL will be open for patrons and when it will be okay to resume browsing activities, staff will continue to bring the DTL experience to them. Anyone interested in the Picked4You programs can fill out the age-appropriate questionnaire on the Dover Town Library website.