The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 29, 2009

Review: Library upgrades NoveList access

The reader’s advisory database NoveList is a database Joplin Public Library has subscribed to for many years and one that was reviewed in this column last November.

The subscription was recently upgraded to include nonfiction titles and a separate database just for children, tweens, and teens called NoveList K-8 Plus.

NoveList is now NoveList Plus and includes more than 220,000 fiction titles and 60,000 titles of readable or narrative nonfiction books (nonfiction books that read like a story). All the great features it had before for fiction readers, it now has for nonfiction readers.

The opening screen has the same look and you can still do basic searches, limit to age, browse award winners, look at author read-alikes and recommended reads, or view discussion guides and feature articles. Now, however, the award winners include categories such as Biography and Memoir, Current Events and Politics, Literary Nonfiction, and Spirituality and Religion.

Author Read-alikes include some nonfiction authors, and they are easily found as you scroll through the list. At the bottom of the entry, NoveList marks each entry and/or title with designations for Fiction or Nonfiction and age level (adult, teen, etc.). Each Read-alike entry has several paragraphs about the author and some of their works along with a recommendation on what to read first if the author is new to you. Following this information are the Read-alike authors. For instance, if you like Bill Bryson and “A Sunburned Country,” NoveList Plus says to try Tim Cahill, Charles Kuralt or Calvin Trillin.

Recommended Reads has many nonfiction lists, and perhaps if you’ve read all the Historical Fiction recommendations, you might try the History list or for a change of pace you might scroll down and sample some Nature Writing, Sports and Competition or True Crime. You can also see what is recommended for Teens (13-18), the Older Kids (9-12), or the Younger Kids (0-8). I know I could read Dr. Seuss every day!

Now Featuring on the home page highlights titles and authors with a Kid’s Corner for children’s authors and titles. Help is available on every screen and a click on the “Tour NoveList” link takes you to a support site where you can view a video, sign up for a training session or access online help sheets.

You can still create your own account. It is a very simple process and allows you to save lists, save preferences for your use of NoveList Plus, save your search history, share your folder with other people, and create alerts and RSS feeds. With the alerts and RSS feeds, you can be notified when something new is added to the database that meets the criteria you set for a search.

NoveList K-8 Plus is designed for a reader’s advisory for age 18 and below. It has many of the same features and information as NoveList Plus without the adult titles. If you work with children or have children of your own, this is a great place to find new titles and authors.

You can still access Recommended Reads and Award Winners. Also check out the Book Talks and Book Discussion Guides. If you teach, these are great resources to use. The Working With Kids section also has a lot of helpful resources.

The Curricular Connections link gives you a great way to tie fiction titles into the different subject areas. Books from the 50 States lets you look by state and get titles and descriptions of books that you can use in conjunction with study of that state. Picture Book Extenders is a great tool for you to use to make picture books a learning experience. If you want a quick list of books by subject, try the Grab and Go Lists.

There is so much information in NoveList Plus and NoveList K-8 Plus that you need to get online and explore for yourself. Also remember that any title you find that Joplin Public Library does not have in its collection, we can try to borrow for you from another library through interlibrary loan. Just check with the staff at the Reference Desk.

Patty Crane is the reference librarian at Joplin Public Library.