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Behind the Scenes at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library


People often ask us how we send out our books. Sometimes, it seems as if they magically appear in mailboxes across the city, but there's a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make that magic happen. We here at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library thought we'd give you a peek into the processes of connecting books and patrons of the library. We'll start this series of posts with a look at patron profiles.

Everyone has a profile, based on the application for service we have on file for each of our registered borrowers and all the fine-tuning done over the years, thanks to your feedback about the books you're getting.

Approximately a quarter of our circulations occurs because a Reader Advisor has assigned a book. Our circulation system, KLAS, handles the rest by itself, based on what it knows about you. Reader preferences can include favorite authors, series you like, Library of Congress (LC) subject headings, or about 500 reader-friendly subject headings the staff have devised. See? We invented tagging.

We can make sure we don't send you a book that's too violent. We can make sure we send you books with all the sex you want! We can give weight to certain types of books, so if you really like mysteries, but only kind of like biographies, we'll send you one biography for every three mysteries. And if you decide in six months that you'd really like to read political fiction, we can always build that into your preferences. It's a very flexible system that can pretty much make sure that you always have something good in the house to read.

We can send you just the books you request by author and/or book number, or we can send you books from your favorite subjects or genres when your specific requests are not available. The only limiting factor is when the book you want is so popular that everyone is reading it and you have to wait for it to be returned, or you've read everything we have in a subject or by an author and you'll have to wait for more titles to arrive.

We can't guarantee you'll love every book you read, but we want you to get the books you want to read. So, let us know if you'd like us to make any changes to your reader preferences!

(Co-written with Mark McCluski, Head of the Andrew Heiskell Library, Master Magician, and Keeper of the Statistics)


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

New Blog

What a fantastic idea. I, for one, look forward to your posts and will definitely spread the great news about this informational system.

Thanks, Lynne. We appreciate

Thanks, Lynne. We appreciate your help publicizing the blog.

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