By: Gabrielle Ziegler
Shenandoah University’s library staff created the first-ever Love Match with a Book program that lasted Feb. 3-28 to help students, faculty, and staff find books suitable for them.
Participants answered a quick seven questions quiz about their reading preferences, and the book-matching team hunted down the best three books for them. The questions included the participant’s top three favorite book genres and previous favorite books/authors. The questionnaire also asked if they would like book recommendations that reflect communities such as LGBTQ+, Black/African-American, or a specific disability community.
The book-matching team consisted of five individuals: Christine Forbes (Library Circulation Supervisor), Greg Humphrey (Library Resource Acquisition and Management Assistant), Aimee Gee (Reference and Online Learning Librarian), Kathy Evans (Reference and Instruction Librarian), and Virginia Zasadny (Library Assistant).
Once the questionnaire was completed, the book-matching team started their search. There were times when they knew right away the best book for the participant. Sometimes they utilized resources such as Goodreads.com and WhatShouldIReadNext.com. Other times, they explored the library catalog to provide the best options.
Shenandoah University freshman Kayla Bevard matched with the book titled The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. “I finished the book selected for me in three days,” said Bevard. “I can’t wait to read more books by the same author!”
Madison Hieber, a Shenandoah University freshman, said; “I love Nicholas Sparks books and was very excited I was matched with Every Breath. I couldn’t put the book down!”
Forbes, the library circulation supervisor, created Love Match with a Book. She said she ultimately wanted to help people find books they would enjoy reading and show them the benefits of reading.
“Reading is a wonderful way to relax, give yourself some ‘me’ time, and to do something for ourselves,” said Forbes. “Sometimes we get too busy and forget to do something for ourselves.”
There have been at least 40 participants, with the large majority being students.
“Our results have been great,” said Forbes. “Lots of people have been checking out books and seem to be very happy with their matches.”
The Alson H. Smith, Jr. Library staff is always available to offer book recommendations. They are happy to show newcomers around and teach them how to check out a book.
“I will say this is what libraries do,” said Forbes. “Libraries, especially public libraries, recommend books to people all day long.”