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 acpl.info blog, describes what the tool recreates for the patron:
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!