Have you ever been frustrated by not being able to come up with the name of a book you’ve read? You can see the cover, you can give a great synopsis, but what *was* it called? And who wrote it? Okay, I admit it, I love to read - as a librarian it could even be called an occupational hazard. But even so, this happens to me all the time, too. It’s even more frustrating for me, because I will usually have a patron in front of me that I want to recommend a perfect book for.
Many times a patron who can’t think of the title of the book they read will come to me and ask to check “our records.” And I tell them that after they turn in a book, our records are very quickly purged. I was surprised myself to find out in library school that there isn’t some musty basement record of all the books I’ve ever checked out. The reason we do this is that we guard your privacy jealously. If we don’t have a good system-function reason to have your information, we don’t keep it. So if government types ask, or hackers attack, we truly can’t give them any information that would connect you and your contact information with a particular book or reading history. What you read is your business, not ours or anybody else’s.
So how can we solve the “tip-of-the-tongue” problem I started off with? There are three very good, similar web sites that can help: LibraryThing, Shelfari, and GoodReads. What can you do with these sites?
- Keep lists of books you've read, want to read, or are reading
- Tag and catalog your books however you want them organized
- See who else has similar reading tastes , and what they’re reading
- Get recommendations from your friends who also use the site