More on Serendipity

I wrote about serendipity and its seeming decline back in the spring. I recently came across a clever catalog tool from the Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana) that enables a moment of pleasant surprise.
Ian, on the blog, describes what the tool recreates for the patron:

…[W]hat happened when you went to look for something at the library was that you saw an intriguing title on your way to what you were looking for, and then you let yourself get a little bit sidetracked, and you looked over some other books nearby, and then you thought of something else you heard about or thought about or read about or saw on television or just realized you were interested in, and you went off to look that up, and maybe you passed the New Book display on the way and found something by your favorite author that you didn’t even know was out yet.

The new tool, a “bookwall,” shows the image of a book cover for each book cataloged at the ACPL the day before. Clicking on a cover image brings up a library card with brief reviews of the book — and, most important, a link to the book’s entry in the ACPL catalog. The order of the books is not obvious, which makes it random. A toddler’s picture book might be next to an adult biography and above a manga.
I’d love to see this pushed out to patrons as an RSS feed. And to implement this for my library, too!