The LibraryThing site allows you to catalog your books online and connect with people who share your same interests. I have been catching up on past issues of the GenealogyGuys podcast and George and Drew have been talking a lot about LibraryThing. So today I decided to try it out.
The site is simple to understand and I was able to quickly register and add a few books by just typing in the ISBN. Of the 8 books I entered, “Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian” had been added to LibraryThing by other users the most times. It was added 339 times and has 5 reviews.
One question that I had before going to the site was whether it would allow me to “check out” books to my friends and keep track of it. LibraryThing has the ability to connect to book swapping sites, but that is not what I was looking for. Let’s say I have a book that a friend wants to borrow so I go ahead and loan it to them. Weeks later I am looking on my bookshelf for that very book and cannot find it. So I start looking in all my book stashing spots and cannot find it. Maybe at that time I remember that I let someone borrow it and then I need to remember who that someone was. Now if it was a single book, I could probably remember it as long as too much time hasn’t passed.
My idea is that in LibraryThing, I would be able to check out books to others and it would show up in my list as being checked out and by whom. That way I could consult LibraryThing to jog my memory. I could also set a checkout period so that my friend doesn’t borrow the book indefinately and take it with them when they move. After the checkout period expires, LibraryThing would send an e-mail to both myself and the person who has the book reminding both of us to make the physical transfer of the book back to its owner, me.
Some might ask if this should be a feature of LibraryThing or not. The site is called LibraryThing after all. Doesn’t a library keep a catalog of books and allow people to check them out? I can understand that LibraryThing didn’t want to include book swapping as that is not the function of a library, but checking out books is.
I look forward to my continued use of LibraryThing and one day blogging about its new ability to check out books.