Launched in August 2019, the Books We Read site will continue to serve the virtual Cook Campus in its fifth semester in Spring 2021. In addition to a brief timeline posted on the site, here are some statistics, focusing on the online environment, with data collected with Google Analytics from 3/16/2020 through 12/31/2020.
The homepage was viewed 1,415 times out of the total 10,652 page views for the site as a whole, with the Resources page as most popular (501 page views). Adding the 303 views of the page How to find eBooks at Rutgers and beyond indicates that it was worth showcasing Rutgers resources by rehashing existing content from the RUL page and various LibGuides to our target audience.
The most popular blog, out of a total of 90 so far, was a guest post entitled From Humans to Gods: a Trip Through the History of Humankind written by Susana Echeverri Herrera, a Reference Assistant at Douglass. The next two popular ones are Summer: Time for Audiobooks, and Classics for the Coronavirus. The most popular book reviews on a single title (a.k.a. staff picks) were Staff Pick: One Hundred Years of Solitude and Summer Reads: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The most frequently visited ones featuring collections were Audiobooks for Quarantine, Escapist Reads: Fantasy Edition, and Summer with New Jersey books and authors.
The Books We Read team also supported projects and cohosted virtual events partnering with NBL librarians and staff as well as other Rutgers groups. The six posts related to Banned Books and the six posts on Urban Sketching, promoting and documenting the event for those who were unable to participate, were well received. Guest bloggers included librarians Nancy Kranich and Megan Lotts.
We are looking forward to expanding another popular topic called Science Communication, experimenting with ten posts in Fall 2020, including two by guests Stephanie Bartz and Megan Lotts. Again, a major goal is to drive traffic to existing RUL resources by publicizing them in an easily digestible format, such as finding and citing quotes and handling images properly, both drawing upon respective LibGuides by their authors.
Inspired by a fun Fall workshop the team hosted for the Work/Study Students Professional Development (organized by Rose Barbalace and Chiaki Mills), this series has shown a great potential for offering our students topics they need (in that case how to cite sources), and reaching out to the community at large with topics of common interest, such as predatory publishing, citizen science, and marijuana resources at Rutgers. Another result of this collaboration was our virtual stressbuster series, including a post welcoming DOTUS, aka Presidential Dogs.
[A version of this post was also submitted to New Brunswick Library News.]