Oak Park resident Renee Powers, a self-described voracious reader, gets ideas on what to read next mostly from friends, as well as from wandering through the library’s bookshelves.

When Powers was looking for suggestions last year on books about personal development, she found another way to get inspired: Read to Order, the library’s free service for adult cardholders in search of customized title suggestions.

After filling out our online form, describing her favorite authors (Brene Brown), books (The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern), and genres (nonfiction and biography), she got a response from Readers’ Advisory Librarian Margita Lidaka, who suggested four titles to try. Powers had already read one, Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes, but said that “right on” suggestion simply let her know Read to Order is not an automated service.

"These are very personalized recommendations,” Powers said. “It wasn't someone just sending me a list of the top personal development books."

Another bonus? "It made Oak Park feel smaller, more connected,” she said. “Knowing someone at the library who could give me a personal book recommendation made me feel more at home."

Try it—you might like it

Get started by filling out this form >