What is LibraryThing, you say? Only the BEST tool for at-home librarians that I’ve ever come across! Before I discovered this, I hadn’t even really thought of cataloging my books. I’d just assumed I knew what I had and would never have doubles. I mean really, that’s so amateur.
Now that I’ve discovered LibraryThing, I’m feeling much less cocky and much more eager. I need to conquer this cataloging thing! Bring it on! First thing, I created an account, and then I started adding my books. It was super easy! When you type in the name of a book to add to your library, it searches through Amazon.com (books), Overcat, the Library of Congress, the British Library, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com (books, music and movies). It takes just a second to search, and then pictures and details pop up for each copy of each book, so you can choose the correct publication that you have at home on your shelf.
When you add a book, your library list shows icons on the right hand side to tell you how many other members have this one in their collection, and how many have made comments about it. You can view your catalog in a list or as a collection of book covers. You can list them by title, author, publisher, or publication date. You can even add sublists with the same headings, tags, ratings, or comments. In fact, you have space for a library/catalog list, a wishlist, a currently reading list, a to-read list, a read-but-unowned list, and a favorites list. You can even control the number of rows that your lists appear in.
When looking at your library catalog as a long list, you’ll see some icons on the right hand side. One is called “work page” and will take you to a page of stats and details about each individual book. It tells you which members have recently added this item to their libraries, as well as the top 100 similar titles, and many other things. If you click on the “detail page” icon, it brings up a page that looks almost exactly like an index card you’d pull out of the old school card catalog at the library. Oh, the memories.
As a member, you can connect with any other LibraryThing user you like. You can make connections with people who live in your local area or on the other side of the world. If you check the “Recommendations” spot (under the “Home” tab), you’ll find a list of books that other LibraryThing members have recommended for you. So the recommendations are not simply based on algorithms and such, but by actual people who have read what you’ve read. Although algorithms probably help in some cases. I’ve got nothing against algorithms!
One of the tabs on the top of the page leads you to the Groups section. There are dozens of different groups and their themes range from bug collecting, to author interactions, to gardening, to reading challenges. Personally, I was drawn to the group dedicated to playing word games. I love word games!
The “Local” tab at the top is my favorite part. It lists all the bookstores, festival events, comic book stores, and a whole bunch of different libraries, like legislative, law, and university libraries. There are places on here that I had NO idea existed. Even Little Free Libraries! I now know where every single one is in the city! Wait… on a second look, I notice that they’re missing at least one Little Free Library on their list. Good thing I joined, cause who else would inform them of this gross oversight?
And there you have it. I think that covers the main, most amazing features of LibraryThing. Every bibliophile should make use of this service and should pass on the knowledge to others. It’s your duty as a book lover.
Now excuse me while I go play a word game with some users that I met on the site. They’re so cool!
YouTube Channel: Vicky Sandin
Featured image via Julie Duffy