Today, I finally maxxed out my 200 free books in LibraryThing and paid the unassuming $25 for a lifetime membership. If you click on the LibraryThing category in the right column of this blog, you’ll know that I’ve admired LibraryThing for a long time.
My familiarity with LibraryThing began when I wrote about it for SLMAM at Deb Levitov’s request a few years ago- available via EBSCO or ProQuest databases; Worldcat entry here.
But it wasn’t until I told our children’s lit class last fall that I would hold myself to reading 50 books over the term just as we expected them to that I became a consistent LibraryThing user.
I am surprised at how it’s been helpful:
- When I can’t remember the name of something I’ve read recently, so I can recommend it to someone else, I look it up. Being able to tag with my own language helps.
- By giving me aplace to document what I’ve been reading, I get a reality check on how much I’ve been reading (it’s often more than I think) or what I’ve been reading (for example, how much YA to keep up with things for the children’s lit class vs. how much elementary material for my school library or where my own reading biases are).
- Having each entry date-stamped helps me set mini-goals for reading. My summer goal is 60 items. (Lucky for me, I work in an elementary school, so keeping up with picture books and short non-fiction makes this possible.)
- I’ve used it to get man-on-the-street reviews to supplement the review publications for books that I’m unsure about buying for my elementary readers.
There are other features I don’t use (I don’t apply for advance reading copies via LibraryThing, for example. I just don’t think it’s fair when I don’t even make it through the ARCs I get at ALA twice a year.) Paying $25 was a small price to pay when I reflected on how much it had impacted my practice as a university adjunct and as a practitioner.