And it's a knockout! A few years back, again while in my class with Calvin Wang at Arcadia, I learned about a tool called Library Thing and it changed my life. That may be overstating its impact, but sincerely. I've always been a reader and had begun a while back keeping a reading journal, after I started a book club, yes...I am a book geek. And I'm not ashamed of that at all.
Regardless, Library Thing became my fascination with uploading all my books, and indicating books I would like to read. This was really the kicker for me, because in general my "to-read" list has always been a bit unmanageable. Since that time, I've had a baby and tracking my reading has fallen a bit by the wayside, though since "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is listed as one of my last entries into my personal Library Thing, I can tell that I was ever vigilant up until the point that darned baby (just kidding) made her appearance on the scene. So, in class I created my own Library Thing and added a widget to my own personal blog. This was also my first experience with widgets and the beginning of an obsession. I'm sure that apps will be a similarly pre-occupying habit once we get our iPhones this week (p.s. I'm getting an iPhone this week!!!).
So, I had a personal Library Thing. I also created a "faux" school library account under the name...ontheshelf4kids as part of a group project, but I thought of the name and was quite proud of it, so I have no reservations continuing to use it for my own professional blog/twitter/library thing/shelfari (we'll get there in a bit)/delicious/diigo/flickr/image chef, etc. etc. accounts. So, I had planned to utilize the Library Thing account to build my own reviews of children's lit as I read it and utilized it in my school library. Then, I read not once but twice about a limit for a free account of 200 books. Now, I'm not one to pay for something if I don't have to, so this gave me pause. I decided to check out the competitors. Shelfari and Goodreads. Shelfari looked great, but I had trouble signing up for my account and subsequently actually signing in. Hmmm. Goodreads didn't look all that....good...to me. So, I went along my merry way.
Later, I went back to Shelfari and successfully logged in. I was IN LOVE. I thoroughly enjoy gimmicks and the shelving in Shelfari is just, well, cute. The visual appeal is huge and if you're going to judge a book by its cover, you might as well do it on Shelfari. You can create reviews, edition notes, tags, and indicate if you plan to read, are currently reading, or have already read the selected title. There is also a widget to embed, though I haven't gotten around to that step just yet. I've also created a FB page for ontheshelf4kids and wanted to add the visual bookshelf there. I have one on my personal FB page, but haven't been able to add a tab to the ontheshelf4kids page. Worst case scenario is that I link it to Shelfari and that's not a bad case scenario at all as it will prevent me from unnecessarily double uploading to both Shelfari and FB (which is a personal problem with Snapfish and FB, but I digress).
Also, my district recently invested in Follett Destiny upgrade to our circulation system, linking all three buildings in the district. It seems that Destiny has many of these capabilities housed at Shelfari, such as review-writing, rating, and tagging might just be referred to as subject search :). As I learn more about Destiny, Shelfari may become less vital, but for now, I enjoy its capabilities. I can tag books that I'd like to use for lessons so that I can search for them later. And I don't have to pay (ahem Library Thing). And last but not least, the sharing capabilities of a site like Shelfari will, hopefully, offer guidance for other librarians or teachers looking for a "good read" with some information about lessons as well. Shelfari is the winner in my book (pun intended)!