Create a List

Show what you know, tips, share your expertise, publicize your event

How to Engage with Patrons using BiblioCommons

In addition to your profile, you will use BiblioCommons to engage your patrons in two important ways:  Lists and Comments..


  • Have 25 or fewer items grouped together around a theme of your choosing.
  • Have annotations. 
    • You should write a short paragraph explaining how you hope the list will be used.
    • You should also write a sentence or two about each item to tell the patron why you selected it and what makes the item worth including in your list. 
  • Can support other library offerings, like programs or databases.  Lists may also include links to external websites.
  • Should generally be capped at 25 items because at that point they will spill over onto a second page – but in certain cases this can be ignored.
  • Note that full time IndyPL staff (PSLs & PSAs) will make at least one List per quarter. Shared System members are not required to make any lists, but we hope you do!


  • Are brief (4-5 sentences) bits of context on an individual item.
  • Are not usually plot summaries, since this info can be found elsewhere in the item record.
  • Tell patrons why they might like to give an item a try.
  • Do NOT contain spoilers.
  • Note that full time IndyPL staff (PSLs & PSAs) will make at least one Comment per month.  Some will make more.  Shared System members are not required to make any comments, but we hope you do!
  • Note that all your List annotations will appear as Comments for the items on your list

Best Practices

Best practices are guidelines for getting the most out of the RA tools that BiblioCommons makes available.

DO follow these guiding principles:

  • Be clear and concise. Online interactions have the potential to lose context and meaning. The impersonality of the Internet means we have to take extra care to demonstrate our positive intentions.
  • Write what you know.  If you consider yourself an expert on steampunk vampire teen romance novels, don’t be afraid to show off!  Your knowledge and passion are contagious.
  • Make your profile interesting and engaging!  If you want patrons to ask you questions about Westerns, don’t forget to list that as an interest on your profile.
  • Remember that you’re writing on behalf of your location when you use your professional account.  The Library or your administrators might ask you to change, delete, or add to a professional post if needed.
  • Think before you post.  If you find yourself asking whether you should post something, ask a colleague or a supervisor to give it a look.
  • BiblioCommons lets you link to other media in the item record, so feel free to get creative!  For example, you can post links to book trailers and other videos. Linked content must follow all IndyPL policies, as well as your location’s policies, regarding acceptable use, web content and materials selection

do the following:

  • Post copyrighted material without permission.
  • Create award lists. These exist already!  BiblioCommons creates them.  If you know of an award that BiblioCommons doesn’t cover, let us know.
  • Spoil the plot!  You may have seen that movie when it came out 23 years ago, but someone is probably reading your review because it’s new to them.
  • Say anything in the catalog that you wouldn’t say out loud in your library. Remember your comments are public and become part of the permanent record.
  • Post personal attacks, harassment or threatening language.
  • Post racist or obscene or potentially libelous statements.
  • Reveal patron information.
  • Engage in commercial promotions or spam.
  • Campaign politically or post religious activity, endorsements or proselytize.
  • Post confidential workplace information.
  • Duplicate personal lists. This clogs up the search results.

Create a List

Remember to review and follow IndyPL BiblioCommons Guidelines for Shared System Members .  Know the protocol on representing both the public library and your location library to catalog users.

Show What You Know

As a library staff member in the Shared System, people see you as the expert.  They might see you as an expert at different things – finding just the right book for just the right student, for example, or tracking down the perfect resource for a teacher, or remembering that tall green book for a museum curator or volunteer.

Turn your expertise into lists.  If the second grade teacher always does a unit on apples culminating in a trip to the apple orchard, by all means find your best apple books and put them in a K-12 Study Guide List. If you know your middle school bleeding hearts love “dead girl novels” – the kind where the heroine always dies tragically in the end, concoct a genre list and call it dead girl novels. 

Please add #SharedSystem to the lists you create.  This allows your list to show up in the Kids Catalog as Staff Picks under the Explore menu item.

When you create a list, you’re given two options – the If You Like… option is just that – recommendations for readers (or viewers) who liked a particular book, movie, song or author.  The other option, Guides and Recommendations, provides a few subcategories that will be helpful to the user:  Genre, Topic, K-12 Study Guide, or Top Picks). 

If you use the If You Like… list, be sure to explain briefly something about the anchor title.  Then, in the list of titles you think readers might also enjoy, be sure to explain how the recommended title is similar to the anchor title.  Remember that these annotations will also appear as comments so they should be able to stand alone as well as serve the purpose of your list.

Genre guides can be niche genres (like the dead girl novels above) or more general but targeting your particular audience. 

Topic guides are wide open!  You might build one off a current trend you’re hearing people talk about.  You could use your school’s theme or values and gather related books in a list.  Think about the calendar for the year.  Would 8th graders appreciate books that talk about high school jitters? 

Lists that fall under the K-12 Study Guide should be fairly obvious.  They’ll support a unit of study, a curriculum standard, or a common research topic.

You can add URLs to any kind of list.  Bibliocommons may automatically add an annotation and image.  You can edit the annotation, but not the image.  Think about including links to videos available in Kanopy, or to articles in one of the online databases – or to the online database itself.


  • Link to the bib record that is IndyPL’s edition with the highest number of requestable copies and also part of the grouped record. This ensures the most successful request experience and also offers a convenient look at the format choices. 
  • You could also create a new list, or add to an existing list from the catalog.  To do that, look up the title/author/subject, then navigate to the right column where the Lists are and click on Add.  You’ll be prompted whether to add it to a new or existing list.  If you already have the list started, you’ll see the list of your lists and you can select your list from there.
  • As you create your List, it saves automatically as a draft.  You can get a great idea, add two titles, get distracted, and your list will still be there waiting for you to finish it when you come back.
  • When you’re creating Lists, “publish” means that the list exists. THEN you choose whether the list is seen by “everyone,” “anyone with the link,” or “only me.”
  • When your list is done, publish it and then click on all the links to make sure you have chosen the best record.
  • You have the option to publish a List to “only me.”  The “only me” option is a great place to store your ideas. You do have to have 4 items in a list to be able to publish it.