My Digital Book Shelves

Image of books covers from Librarything's site tourBook lovers have several options for tracking what they’ve read and their reactions to books. Perhaps the best known is Goodreads. But for the past several years, I have been using LibraryThing. LibraryThing goes beyond just talking about and rating books. It also allows you catalog your personal library.

I first started using LibraryThing because it was required for one of my core MLIS classes. We explored the idea of folksonomies for classifying books by using tags. I cataloged many of my personal books on the site. I began assigning stars and commenting on books. I began reviewing and linked to my book review blog, Writing ‘Bout Reading. When I began doing reading challenges, I created collections where I could track what I had read. I often referred to my LibraryThing collection when doing Readers Advisory.

Central Rappahannock Regional Library logoRecently, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, where I work, rolled out a new online public access catalog powered by Bibliocommons. As a Bibliocommons user, I am part of an online social network consisting of the users of every library that also uses Bibliocommons. There are Completed, In Progress and For Later Shelves to track my reading. I can rate books and leave comments, basically mini-reviews. I also create annotated book lists.

Bibliocommons does not have discussion boards like LibraryThing. LibraryThing is definitely a more social platform. But Bibliocommons does allow users to follow other users and send messages. I’ve adapted well to using the Bibliocommons format to the point that I have a staff account now. That means I currently am tracking books in three different places – LibraryThing, my personal library account, and my staff library account. Not all things are appropriate for all of those places. Some are obviously staff-related, like Early Literacy Practices book lists. I feel comfortable putting personal top 10 lists on my staff account since they relate to the ratings and comments on books. What’s not so clear is what is the best place to track reading challenge progress.

I tracked my YALSA Best of the Best challenge progress on Librarything last spring. But I never created a collection or list to track my current Nonfiction and Morris short list challenge reading. I am also setting myself a personal challenge to read as many titles as possible from the ALSC 2013 Notable Books for Children discussion list. That list is so long, I really want to be able to track my progress. I don’t think this sort of reading list belongs on my staff account. But I wonder if I should use LibraryThing or my personal Bibliocommons account. Or both. If I’m using it for personal reference at work, I’m more likely to have the library’s own online catalog open. So it makes sense for me to put it there. But I hate to abandon LibraryThing. Decisions, decisions.

If you’re interested in seeing how this all works out, or are just crazy enough to want to see what I’m reading, my personal Bibliocommons user name is acritics, and my staff user name is CRRL_AngelaCritics. I’m always open to reading suggestions or discussion!


About booksnquilts

I'm the Children's Services Coordinator for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Central Virginia.
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