Monday, January 21, 2008

Week 8, #19

After much anticipation, and forcing myself to carry out all the previous activities in order, I now have a LibraryThing account! What fun! Long before personal computers were invented, I went to a session on booktalking given by Joni Bodart at a California school library conference. One of the pointers she gave was to keep a written file of all the books you've read, with either your booktalk itself or enough detail to enable you to give an enticing booktalk to students. She told us that no matter how much you love a book, time and more books in your brain will be obstacles to your memory. Over the more than 25 years since I got that advice, I have filled old catalog drawers with the summaries of the books I've read, written on the backs of discarded catalog cards. I include call number, author, title, which library has the book, the month and date I read it and enough of a summary to help me give an effective book talk. Of course, since this file is pre-computer, there are no tags to help me find mysteries, "boy" books or any other category. Also, since my librarian brain decided to file by author, sometimes I have to search in the catalog to find the author of a book for which I can recall only the title. LibraryThing complements my file perfectly, but the best part is it connects me to others who have read the books I've read!
To start my file, I put in books I've already read, beginning with the book I just finished and loved, Honey, baby, sweetheart, by Deb Caletti. While I was reading it I drove everyone around me (usually my husband) crazy by laughing out loud often. Although there is some serious subject matter, the author's descriptions and tossed-off lines are little jewels. I also put in several other books that stick in my memory, since I'm writing from home and my "books read" file is at work. While some of my books are on other LibraryThing folks' lists, two nonfiction titles I included, The Hot zone and A Shining season, are not on anyone else's lists. Hmm, wonder what that means? My LibraryThing account name is elliege.
I also have an excel spreadsheet on my computer at work with books I want to read. In addition to author, title and call number, I have categories like World Lit, Easy reading, etc. I have a column to enter the month and date after I've read the book, so I can see what progress I'm making in reading it all. I can see importing this into my Zoho Writer account, created in a previous activity, so I can access it from any computer. I can also add these titles to my LibraryThing account with a "to read" tag, and find other readers who have already read them. When I took the LibraryThing tour, I learned that the limit for a free account is 200 books. That will force a decision as to whether I delete titles, or just go for broke by continuing to add and become a paid subscriber. I'd be interesting in hearing from others about what they decided to do when they got to the limit.....


Library Slim said...

You are so disciplined! That it great that you are finding LibraryThing to be such a resource. I love it and I'm not one twentieth as organized as you are.

I had the same dilemma in figuring out whether or not to pay for PBwiki (I ended up paying the $10/month).

Good luck with your decision!

Becca said...

I've heard tell that some folks reach Library Thing and abandon all notions of completing 2.0! I had great intentions of "Library Thinging" just 5 titles, for example, say "new books" or if an author were coming to visit, just their books, or whatever, and then have one of those fading in and out book covers widget constantly promoting those books, that week.... but I couldn't figure out how to make the widget work, and have regretfully never gone back to figure it out. Maybe next summer.