Monday, February 6, 2012

Secret Shopper

For this assignment, I chose the Nora Branch of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library. While this is indeed my local library, it was still safe for me to use since the only times I am in there are to pick up items on hold and checking them out via self-checkout machines, so the librarians do not actually recognize me.

I walked up to the "Information" desk where 2 librarians were assisting other people and a third smiled and asked if she could help me.

"Yes, at least I hope you can. I'm hoping you can help me find a good book to read, I've basically exhausted all of the authors I read so I need something new."

"OK, what are some of the authors that you read?"

"Umm... I read Janet Evanovich. Oh and Catherine Coulter is another."

"So you like funny stories?"

"Well, yes, I suppose that would be right. But the Catherine Coulter novels aren't really funny, I guess I like the mystery stories in those."

"OK, hmm... well do you ever like fantasy or supernatural aspects in your stories?"

"Sure, I could be open to that."

"Well, have you tried Charlaine Harris?"

"No... I've never heard of her."

"She writes the books that the tv show True Blood is based on."

"OK yeah I could be interested in that."

At this point she turned to the computer and started typing. While I never saw what she was looking at, I assumed it was the catalog since she said she didn't have any of the Sookie Stackhouse books in.

"Well, since you like mysteries, have you tried John Grisham? He's very popular."

"Umm.. I've picked them up a few times but never really was interested in them."

She then took me over to the mysteries section and started pointing out authors as she scanned the shelves, such as Patterson and Grafton. She showed me where the Harris books would be, and there was the Shakespeare series so I got a few of those books. She also still handed me a Grisham book and said she really thought I'd like it, so I took that, too, even though I really don't care for him.

Overall, I think it was a rather successful trip, since I have never read Charlaine Harris, mostly because I'm not that into the show True Blood, but I had no idea about this other series of hers that actually looks pretty good to me. However, she really didn't ask me that many personal reading preference type questions and never showed me what she accessed online so that I could find some myself. She just took me to the mysteries section and pointed out some popular authors, not necessarily authors that lined up with what I told her. She was very friendly and helpful, but I think she could have taken the time to ask more questions and utilize more reader's advisory tools.


  1. I like the Charlaine Harris Shakespeare series for a light read. I would consider them cozy mysteries but a bit more serious in tone than most cozies. But I wouldn't think of her if you told me Evanovich and Coulter.

    1. I agree... I was a bit surprised with the suggestions she made as they were completely different than the authors I gave. I mean, I'm open to a lot of different kinds of books so overall I thought it was successful since I found a new book with her help, but I was pretty lenient.