May 20, 2022

Oregon: Multnomah County Public Library Begins “Personal Librarian” Book Recommendation Service

From The Oregonian:

Several weeks ago, the library quietly launched My Librarian, an online tool that lets readers connect with a real-life librarian, without actually visiting a library branch. Instead, readers can build a relationship with one of 13 librarians through video chats, blogs and phone calls to discuss their favorite books.

The program, Library Director Vailey Oehlke said, is the first of its kind in the country.


Online visitors can chat live with Nick K., a young-looking, dark-haired theater fan, about his favorite Western novel, or ask outdoorsy football fan Lisa P. for suggestions in the “bloody thrillers” genre.


After choosing a favorite librarian, patrons can follow the librarian’s blog to see what they’ve been reading lately, or check their personalized reading lists for literary inspiration.

Funding for this project comes from the Paul G. Allen Foundation ($190,000), $35,000 (The Library Foundation), $57,0000-worth of in-kind work from the library.

Much More About “My Librarian” in the Complete Article

Brief Comment

Exciting new and kudos to MCPL! I do hope that as this service catches on and moves forward or others begin to provide something similar (personalized librarianship makes sense when and where it can be made available) that book recommendations are not the only personalized service offered. Yes, books are almost always associated with public libraries and that’s great but it’s also time to demonstrate that libraries and librarians are about more than books. We know this but others might not or need reminding. For example, app and other technology recommendations would be a service to consider.

See Also: Pew Internet and American Life Project Report (June 2012) has some statistics about public libraries as a source for book recommendations.

Hat Tip/Thanks! Matt R. Weaver

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.