Library staffers are matchmakers
Is there anything more satisfying than finding a book, movie, or piece of music that speaks to the soul? One you find yourself begging your friends and family to read, watch, or listen to? The Heights Libraries Matchmakers love that feeling, too, and they want to help library customers experience it as often as possible.
Matchmakers is a group of library staffers whose mission is to help customers find materials that reflect their interests, passions and needs, that they just can’t seem to locate on their own.
"A Matchmaker will never judge you on what you like to read," said Matchmaker Andrea Lynn. "Our role is to talk to you about what you find appealing in a book, audiobook or DVD. The Matchmakers are happy to take the time to have a conversation with you about what you like to read, watch or listen to. Our goal is for you to walk away with not just one, but several books you can't wait to get home and start reading.”
Similar to other matching services, such as OkCupid and Match.com for dating, or the Pandora streaming music service, Heights Libraries Matchmakers can build a list of suggestions based on customers’ current likes, dislikes and interests. And while customers can certainly avail themselves of online sources, such as Goodreads for books and Rotten Tomatoes for movies, the Matchmakers offer them something online sources can’t: a one-on-one relationship with a human who cares about their experience.
“We read the awful books and watch the bad movies so you don’t have to,” said Jenny Greene, Matchmaker and librarian, with a laugh. “Everyone’s time is valuable, and there’s nothing worse than wishing you could have the time back that you spent on a movie or book that you didn’t enjoy.”
Customers can e-mail the Matchmakers at firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of likes and dislikes and receive a personalized list of suggestions. Or they can stop in and talk to a staff person who can find a Matchmaker for them to talk to who can customize suggestions to their specific tastes.
"The first question a Matchmaker will probably ask is about a book that you read recently that you really liked," said Lynn. "That's the starting point for a fun and engaging talk about books. We have all kinds of readers on the Matchmakers team. Whether you like dark suspense, science fiction and fantasy, romance or literary fiction, we can point you toward some books we think you'll enjoy. Everyone on the Matchmakers team loves to match up books and readers.”
Matchmakers also provide recommendations though their blogs, which can be found at http://heightslibrary.org/recommend. The blogs are searchable by reader age, genre and topic, with categories including “Beginning readers,” “Historical fiction,” “Sci-Fi” and “Self-Help,” just to name a few.
“We’re the best-kept secret in the system,” said Greene, “but we’re hoping that will change as word gets out about us.”
Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.