For enquiries please call 01977 602188

Ask for a Book

The reading suggestions website Ask for a Book has been developed, piloted and tested with a group of library services and with the support of Arts Council England and LibraryOn


Ask for a Book

Who do you go to when you are stuck for a good read? Whose recommendation do you trust? A creative reading suggestion or a chance find of a book can change your direction and your thinking altogether.

Library staff have traditionally offered readers unbiased reading suggestions supported by a wide collection.  Readers are free to explore, adopt or reject their suggestions because the books are free to borrow.

However, only a few people could experience that aspect of the service.  There are not enough staff and not enough time to deliver a suggestions service to all those who want it, or indeed to those who would like it, but would never ask.

The chance to discover something new, to open up your reading experiences, to find the best read ever, is a core value of the library offer.  It is the origin of libraries’ existence and brings enormous value to our culture.  So it stands to reason that we wanted to make something that offers that personal service to anyone who would enjoy it.

Reading recommendation services exist online, but tend to offer you something you’ve read already, something in the same genre or the chance to buy a selection of new books unseen.  They rarely offer creative, personalised, enthusiastic and knowledgeable reading suggestions based on what you currently enjoy.  As this is the core expertise of the library service, we believe that it should be available online to anybody.

So we have created an online reading recommendation service for readers which brings together the quality and range of library collections; the personal enthusiasm and book knowledge of Opening the Book; library staff as intermediaries; and readers who want to receive reading suggestions based on their preferences. 

The service is backed by carefully curated collections and aims to deliver intuitive choices that the reader will enjoy as well as something new to them that delivers on their interests.  Book suggestions are accompanied by personally written recommendations that aim to swerve around the sales talk to describe the real attractions of the book and why you, dear reader, might want to give this one a try.

Readers can choose to pick up their books from their local library.

The website has been developed, piloted and tested with a group of library services and with the support of Arts Council England and LibraryOn.

In its current form, it can only be used by readers who use libraries in the pilot services, but plans are afoot to develop the service so that it can be used by any readers and any libraries in the country.