In meetings, over lunch, in the work-room, behind the desk, it seems like whenever a conversation sparks between members of the Readers' Services department, it eventually leads to discussion of the last great book we finished. Either that or the thrill of the next book we're preparing to read. With a constant flood of incredible suggestions by the avid readers all around us, it's impossible not to develop a substantial "to-read" list. It's often been remarked around here, that in the time it might take to read one book, you've already set your heart on three others. Some of us approach this challenge by beginning many books simultaneously, and waiting to see which plot, or plots, catch our attention. I, however, have always been a monogamous reader--I've never even tried to divide my attention between more than one book, because I like to share my life with only one fictional universe at a time. I feel that in that way, every time I open the book that the language is something familiar, that I have a closeness with the characters I mightn't otherwise feel, that I have a strong investment in the outcome of the story. Romantic as this reading strategy might be, it's been a strong contributing factor in the accumulation of an essentially endless "to-read" list; one that I'd never be able to manage on my own.
Fortunately for myself and all of my absent-minded cohorts the world over, technology has provided the answer. Opening a Good Reads account will allow you to browse and endless sea of titles, or search for the ones that have already caught your interest. You can add titles to a list of books you've completed, books you're reading, and the all-important list of books you want to read in the future. It's a great website where readers are able to social network with one another, share reviews, and even follow their favorite authors.
As great a resource as Good Reads is, the Des Plaines Library Catalog might actually be better. It offers many of the same networking features, allowing users to develop the same lists, create and read reviews of our materials, browse titles recently read by other users, or lists that they've created. You can even follow users whose taste is similar to your own, to find out what books they're reading. But our catalog has several additional benefits--for one, it includes all of our materials, which include far more than just books. CD's, DVD's, blu-rays, video-games, and magazines are all available here. You'll also be able to see immediately whether or not the item in question is available, and if-so, where you'll find it. If not, you can place a hold on it with a single click, and be notified when it becomes available. When you pull up an item on-screen, you'll also be able to look through lists created by other users which include that item, or search for other materials based on tags, or subject-headings they share with the item you've already searched. These are great strategies to find new materials that interest you, so that you can add even more to your "to-read" or "to-watch" lists. The catalog even links up to NoveList, an incredible database for readers which will give you tons of information about any book, and a lot of great suggestions for similar titles.
If you're anything like me, you could benefit a lot from the organization and guidance offered by the long list of features included in the library's catalog--if you don't get the recommendation you're looking for, or if you need an extra book to add to your list, feel free to drop in, and we at the desk will offer you a personalized suggestion based on the books, movies, or music you like.