Finding that perfect book to get lost in while you’re on vacation or doing your daily commute can be hard, but if you live in Brooklyn, you can take advantage of BookMatch, a program of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Celebrating its fourth anniversary this month, BookMatch is a personalized, algorithm-free book recommendation that is tailor-made for Brooklyn Public Library members by its librarians.
Suggestions are based on the member’s reading preferences — or even movies, TV, games and other interests they enjoy — which they share online at bklynlibrary.org/bookmatch. Readers can also share what format or formats they prefer, choosing between books, e-books, audiobooks or large-print books.
And though the form is online, it goes directly to Brooklyn Public Library staffers who personally find five titles to match with readers — just like librarians used to do in the good old non-digital days.
“We felt we wanted to do an online service to let people know librarians do that work, and it helps people who aren’t comfortable approaching the reference desk,” said Amy Mikel, who oversees BookMatch. “This isn’t a computer program — it’s a librarian doing it in the course of their day.”
Brooklynites took to the program immediately after it launched in 2014, and interest hasn’t lessened over the course of the past four years as librarians still field dozens of requests every month, Mickel said.
BookMatch has also expanded to include a for-teens-by-teens version and BookMatch Live, in which patrons can get in-person recommendations written on a bookmark at select Brooklyn Public Library events.
“It’s really fulfilling for our librarians,” Mikel said of the program. “Reader advisory is not something that we get to do that much anymore, and when you do, it’s really lovely.”