Saturday, April 07, 2007

For the library nerd in all of us

(Well, maybe not in all of us. In me anyway. I’m sure there’s a quiz out there that can tell you what percentage library nerd you are. The anecdote below should bump up my score considerably.)

I was going to post about stuff actually related to my life, but I want to include a picture and my camera battery is charging. So you'll have to wait a few hours on that one. But, hey, now's as good a time as any for a little virtual spring cleaning, eh?

So when I was maybe 9, my best friend Jenny and I pooled our books to create a lending library – which mostly consisted of Baby Sitter's Club and the like. We made a catalog and little index cards for all the books and whatnot (back in the dark ages before card catalogs starting getting used as scrap paper for computer searches). Of course we didn’t entirely understand the concept that libraries aren’t generally a moneymaking business, and get their funding from taxes and donations and so on. Facing a significant lack of those sources, we turned to gouging our friends in overdue fees. Needless to say, this was not a long and successful endeavor. (Though some of my books still have silly index cards taped to the inside cover. I hope Baby Island still has the special starred review I wrote for it. It was my favorite book, and I had probably already read it 872346 times. Think LOST, but with less monsters and more babies.)

Since some things just don’t change, the 21st century version of me squealed in delight at librarything. I may not have a physical bookcase yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from cataloging my entire collection of books. Which is actually quite puny, since I left most of them back in Oak Park. I really like this site – it’s kind of cute and bootleg, but also fancy enough to search libraries and book sources around the world. And it’s super simple and user friendly. To sign up, all you do is type your name and choice of password in the login box. Then you can enter in titles/ISBNs of your books, and you’ll have a digital catalog of your library. You can play around and organize it any way you want, and get recommendations, write reviews, etc. Just like all those other great archiving/networking site, it’s tag based.

One of my favorite features is that if the cover art isn’t in the system, you can upload a copy or link to an image elsewhere online. (Because, you know, books are pretty.)

Plus, widgets!! Check out mine over there in the sidebar. Right now I have it displaying random books from my library, but if I get any new and exciting books I’ll switch it over to display recent additions. If you click on the book cover, it will take you to amazon. If you click on the title, it will take you to librarything.

Also, check in on the zeitgeist!

And this guy, who made photomosaics of himself using the bookcovers in his librarything catalog. No joke.

Or this project, for you KT.


  1. I READ BABY ISLAND!!! Oh man, is that the randomest book ever??? I borrowed it from a family friend (B: Bob's daughter!) and read it and loved it and then returned it and never saw it again. It holds a disproportionately prominent place in my memory of childhood books. Oh wow. Baby Island. That takes me back...

  2. Yeah, baby island!! So good! Looking it up for the link, I noticed it's by the same author of Caddie Woodlawn. And also is apparently a kind of classic from the 60s.
    The other book I think I wrote a special library review for was Snow Treasure. Sledding, nazis, what's not to love? I'm pretty sure my conception of life in Norway was founded entirely on this book.

  3. mmmmmm i DEFINITELY read baby island. we read caddie woodlawn in school, and all i recall is the log rolling. definitely not on my lengthy list of favorite awesome historical fiction with plucky heroines. (i want to read snow treasure! definitely my two biggest literary obsessions from like, 4th-6th grade were holocaust books about kids as well as books about nuclear war. which is way creepier now looking back on it than i felt at the time.)