Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Library Thing

Some time ago, Alicia over at Love2Learn suggested I give Library Thing a try. She raved and raved about it, but I just couldn't see the point. Finally, I signed up and now I'm hooked. It is a very cool service.

Here's how it works. You set up an account (the easiest set up on the entire Internet!) and then start cataloging books. The free service allows you to catalog up to 200 books. To catalog any more on one account, you need to buy a membership. It's $10 for one year or $25 for a lifetime membership. You can also set up several free accounts (one for yourself, one for the kids, etc.).

But, why, oh why, would you want to catalog your books? For one thing, it's fun! There are places for comments, ratings, catagorizing, reviews, etc. You can sort your list by title, author, rating, or just about anyway you would like. (I just love lists!)

You can even see which members share your books. For example, I clicked on The Catholic Homeschool Companion and found that Alicia has it in her library.

Note: If you like, you can set up your account to be private so other people can't peek. My Library Thing is public so you can see a sampling in the sidebar of this blog. I also have a Library Thing set up at The Thrifty Homeschool blog and the teenagers have one set up over at Unrecognized Talent. It's too fun to share!

On a practical note, Library Thing is an user-friendly system to keep track of your inventory. I don't know how many times I've purchased a book I already owned. Also, if I loan out a book to a friend, I could make a note to myself on Library Thing in the book's comment section. Additionally, you can search Library Thing on your cell phone, so if you're at the book store you can check to see if a particular title is already in your personal library.

One more example of Library Thing's practical application. Our Science Olympiad team has put together a nice library of science books for team members to borrow. However, keeping track of books and knowing which ones are best for what events was difficult at best. We're in the process right now of getting the Science Olympiad library cataloged on Library Thing. We use the comments section to track the location of the book, the review section to indicate how to use the book in preparing for competition, the tag section to show what event the book is for, and the rating section to show it's usefulness. It's an almost perfect system.

I only have 60 books cataloged to date, so I have a long way to go yet. But I'll get to it eventually.


Maureen said...

NOTE: Blogger is acting totally goofy this morning! It won't recognize any hyperlinks or special formating. It won't even let me edit this post.

Hopefully, it'll be fixed later today. In the meantime, if you'd life to check out Library Thing, the website is

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link Maureen!

I think it is a GREAT IDEA. I can't keep up with my oldest daughter and the thousands of books she has read. Sounds like a wonderful way to keep track of things. I may put her to work on this task ;)

love2learnmom said...

I'm glad you're enjoying it so much! My kids really liked bringing the books to me from all over the house, but I've really only dug in deeper with tagging and such recently (including uploading a whole bunch of book covers for Catholic Heritage Curricula and Bethelehem Books titles and things like that). I'm hoping to use it more for keeping track of who's borrowed what (just started that recently as a matter of fact) and would especially like to track who has finished reading what. Enjoy! :)

Renee said...

You are in trouble Maureen. As a former library employee, I am hooked. Fortunately it took no more than 10 minutes to catalog 47 books..... of course 200 is not going to be enough. I think I"ll have to make accounts for separate subjects....

Maureen said...

It is addictive isn't it!!!

And yet it's so easy and fast!

love2learnmom said...

By the way, thanks for the extra ideas. I just set up individual accounts for the four older kids to track what they've read and it's very motivating - particularly for my really slow reader. They love seeing the book cover pictures all in a row. :)

Anonymous said...

Another idea - you can note where the book is shelved in the comments.