LibraryThing for Libraries

I blogged about LibraryThing a couple of years ago as a great tool for readers. But it’s also a great tool for libraries.

One of the very popular programs presented at the library where I work is a series called Brown Bag Book Reviews. Staff members review some of their latest finds while the audience snacks on cookies or eats their lunch. It’s a great way for patrons to pick up some new titles and authors, and they love to hear the reviews.

In our last web incarnation, I had put the lists of the books reviewed on our site – basically, a separate list for each date we did the reviews. Books were listed alphabetically by author – not an easy way to find something you’re looking for, but better than nothing as I worked on building a searchable database. The idea was to come up with a way for patrons who, for example, loved everything reviewed by Carol, to easily find all Carol’s titles. Or if they missed last January’s review program, they could sort the data to find everything reviewed that date.

It occurred to me recently that everything I was trying to put into the database (title, author, reviewer’s name, review date) was able to be done easily on LibraryThing, with no need for me to try to become a master at MySQL or PHP. I had one of those “D’oh!” moments.

I brought this up at a meeting and one of our new librarians enthusiastically jumped at the chance to create our Brown Bag LibraryThing catalog, and tagged the items for easy sorting.

Take a look at our catalog and see what we’ve all been reading. If your library maintains lists of titles for various things, this is a great way to put it out there for the public.