LibraryThing is an easy, economical service to catalog libraries of all sizes. It also enables your members and others to access your catalog from the internet.
Q. What is LibraryThing?
A. It is an informal database on the Internet in which people can list the books in small libraries. It is free for the first 200 books, and the cost is presently just $15 per year for up to 5000 entries.
Q. Why would a Meeting Librarian want to join this?
A. A number of Monthly Meeting libraries from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting have joined. I have started a group called “Friends (Quaker) Libraries of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting” and hope to set it up so that all MM librarians can see what other meetings have in their libraries.
Q. Are there any other reasons to join?
A. YES. As you enter your titles you can choose catalog records to import from a big list of libraries at the press of a computer key. Once your books are in the system all your meeting members can see what you have in your library from their home computers. You can also print lists and keep track of your collection. And you can discuss the books with other librarians right in the LibraryThing program.
Participating PYM monthly meeting libraries
- pymlibrary (274 books): Rita Varley
- crosswicksquakers (343 books): Monty Caldwell
- exeterfriends (138 books): Ken Cook
- frankfordfriends (100 books): Margaret Szczurek
- friendshaverford (1 book): Ann Upton
- GreenStreetMeeting (340): Tom Hardy
- HarrisburgFriends (61 books): Marci Pickering
- Lancastermmlibrary (513 books): Cynthia Lowing
- Mediameetinglibrary (2 books): Robyn Josephs
- moorestownmm (82 books): Patti Hopton
- newtownfriends (682 books): Mark Ratlif
- NorthBranchFriends (3): Weavre Cooper
- readingmm (2 books): Elizabeth Lambor
- richlandmonthlymtg (135 books): Cindy Paetow & Ann Tucker
- For your first venture: Just sign up for a personal account and add less than 200 books. You can upgrade to a non-profit group account at any time, later. You can ask the other Quaker librarians in LibraryThing questions, or how to solve problems. And you can always drop out if you don’t like it.
- Non-profit and not-for-profit organizations (small libraries, churches, clubs, schools, classrooms). Free to 200 books. $15/year for up to 5,000 books.
- We suggest naming your library with its actual name to make it as easy as possible to find it.
- Usernames and passwords can be changed easily enough after the account has been created if you decide you don’t like the way you started.
- When you set up an account, you can edit all parts of your database at any time including your library profile. You would probably want to choose “public” (not “private”) so that your meeting members can see what you have. Other members of LibraryThing can see what you have in your library, but they can’t edit it without your password.
- Meeting members can view the books in the meeting library and participate in book discussions in the talk areas, and this is a big reason we would want to use LibraryThing—so people can discover the great books and tell each other about them.
- Books are cataloged into your library easily. You type the title or other information, and LibraryThing offers a choice of sources (such as Library of Congress or Amazon) from which to import a record to add to your catalog, and there you have it, presto, cataloged in.
- You can edit book information, and apply “tags.” If your book is not found in the cataloging source libraries, you can enter and edit all the data manually.
- When you catalog books into your library in LibraryThing, you can look at your catalog in “list” or “cover” view.
- You can search or sort your books by author, title, or “tags” (informal subject headings).
- You can print lists from a variety of five editable forms (choosing whether to include tags, publishing information, or other data).
- LibraryThing can analyze your entire catalog and come up with 100 or so books you might want to consider adding.
- Author, Title, and Tag clouds all allow you to link to other libraries/collections with the same titles so you can see how other people with similar libraries are developing their collections.
- LibraryThing is working on a future option for a more sophisticated package offering additional features, such as a distinction between “user” and “administrator” accounts, basic circulation-tracking, etc. LibraryThing may end changing the pricing structure somewhat, but you will be grandfathered-in for the rest of your year.
- After you add a record (from amazon.com, the Library of Congress or any other source on LibraryThing) check it to make sure that the record contains the same edition and publication information as the copy in your library.