A good book is hard to find. If you’re not supposed to judge it by its cover, all that’s left to help you decide whether or not a book is worth your time is a brief summary on the book jacket, and even those can be misleading. Finding a gem amongst the rows and rows of paperbacks, hardbacks, and audio books ranging various genres and subjects, can be a daunting task. But the Westbury Memorial Public Library staff can help take some of the guesswork out of finding your next favorite book.
Since last summer, the library has been offering a service similar to that offered by clothing stores — a personal shopper. In the library’s case they’re not helping you find the perfect dress or accessories, but guiding you toward books that match your preferences.
Adult librarian Camina Raphael heads up the program, which started last summer and is slowly picking up interest as word spreads. Raphael will help patrons find books based on ones they have previously enjoyed.
“We noticed a lot of people when they read something, they want something similar. Or they don’t know what they like to read or if they haven’t read in a while, they don’t know where to start,” Raphael said. “We came up with this concept so all you have to do is fill out a questionnaire on what you’ve read and from that, I pull things I think you would like.”
The simple inquiry includes questions such as what genres the patron enjoys, the most recent books they’ve read and who their favorite authors are. Raphael will then pull anywhere from five to 10 books that match their tastes.
The suggestions come partly from books Raphael has read and enjoyed, as well as reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and other coworkers. Based on a patron’s preferences, her suggestions include any book genre; thrillers, biographies, fiction, romance, etc. She notes that ever since the popularity of the Hunger Games series, there’s been a trend of adults reading young adult books.
“We get a lot of adults coming in asking for young adult books,” she said. “When they become popular and kids want to read them, the parents want to know what their kids are reading and want to know if there’s anything else like it.”
Raphael will call patrons when their books are ready for pick up or they can accompany Raphael as she picks out the books. And there’s no pressure to take the books she picks if you don’t think they would interest you.
She encourages Westbury and Carle Place residents to take advantage of the program, whether they’re regular readers looking for a new title, or someone who wants to read but isn’t sure where to start.
“It’s a great service, especially for people who haven’t read in a while. It’s a great way to get back into reading and experience the love and joy reading brings,” she said.
And the program isn’t just limited to physical books, Raphael can also suggest audio books and movies.
To find out more about the program or to get a personalized book list, call the library at 516-333-0176.