CORVALLIS, Ore. – For book lovers, there’s no greater pleasure than happening upon a book they’ve never heard of before, or discovering a new author, and opening themselves to a new world between the pages. Browsing bookstores and perusing on-line book reviews is one place to start, but surprisingly, wandering the aisles of Valley Library isn’t the best place to browse for new titles.
That’s because many fiction books in the library are bound with special coverings chosen for their durability, but lack the colorful artwork, book summaries, and author biographies that can help patrons choose a book while browsing. So unless a patron knows the author or title they are looking for, they are not going to have much luck finding fiction reading that meet their interests in a leisurely stroll through the stacks.
But now Valley Library is offering patrons a new way to discover new books that meet their unique interests. Called “Book Genie,” the new web site gives patrons a chance to randomly select recommendations from the library’s collection based on subjects of interest. These categories range from banned books to award-winning books, to OSU Press books.
The Book Genie (http://genie.library.oregonstate.edu) gives patrons the chance to select a subject area of interest, and receive a randomly selected title that falls under that category. Patrons can then read a summary of the book and decide if they’re interested, or click again and get another random selection.
When they find a title they’re interested in, they can choose one of several options. They can text or email the title and location of the book in Valley Library to their email or mobile device, or they can create a list of interesting titles on the Book Genie and then send the entire list to their mobile device.
Faye Chadwell, OSU’s interim university librarian and press director, said the Book Genie was created to help guide users to the lighter fare or recreational reading offered on their shelves. “Book Genie is an innovative method for delivering content that users want in a mobile context,” she noted.
The Book Genie was developed for mobile devices, such as the iPhone and Android phones, but also includes an iPad and desktop version as well.
“Statistics from our websites show that people are accessing our content with a wide range of devices, said Kim Griggs, the developer of Book Genie. “Based on that, we decided to make the Book Genie a Web app(lication), providing an optimized experience for all our patrons regardless of their device preferences.”