My husband and I are book collectors. Actually, some might call him a book hoarder [à la that TV show]. When we were in our twenties, we moved to Virginia, and the kind gentlemen who helped us carry our boxes into our apartment said my husband had more books than any other man then living in the Commonwealth.
If you think about this, it’s a little crazy. I mean, I’m a librarian. One of the great perks of this profession is that I am surrounded by books all day, every day, and I can pretty much get my hands on any book I want. So why, you might ask, would I ever buy a book when I can get them for free.
It’s a disease. It’s a sickness, but it’s clear to our friends that we are not looking for a cure.
That’s why we were both happy to discover the joys of LibraryThing. You can see it at www.librarything.com. LibraryThing is in fact many things—a catalog, a review source, a social network, a community of book lovers. You can keep track of your reading in LibraryThing, and read what others have said about a book. You can keep a list of books you’d like to read. You can read reviews others have written, or write your own.
But the part that excited my husband most was the ability to catalog all of our books.
I found that rather amusing.
You have to understand that in the library world, catalogers are a breed unto themselves. They love detail, they love rules, and they love to keep everything orderly. Not one of these characteristics describes my husband. So imagine my surprise when I gave him a ten dollar bar code scanner and he was deliriously happy.
So happy that I didn’t see much of him for the next month. Why? He was spending all his time with that CueCat, scanning his entire book collection into LibraryThing.
Here at the library, we happen to think that our catalog is pretty cool, too, and I hope you feel the same way. It’s got book jacket covers and lots of pertinent information. Sometime in the next few months we will add more enhancements. But for those of you who have your own stacks of books at home–or your very own hoard [you know who you are]– take a look at LibraryThing. Do you fit that cataloger profile? You can get the joy of being a librarian, just by putting order into the chaos of those books you own. [Or, as Karen Schneider once pointed out, if your house burns down, you’ll know which books you used to own--your list will be on LibraryThing].
Here’s another thought. If you keep track of what you read in your LibraryThing account, you will always have the answer to the age-old question of voracious readers—“Hey, have I already read this?”
That alone might make it worth the effort.