Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Use of Library Thing by Small Special Library

Six or eight weeks ago an energentic young intern working for SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Recycling & Composting Education) came up to the reference desk to ask for information on organizing small libraries. We looked at some materials on small libraries and discussed how she could organize the books, including a collection of children's books on environmental topics. She particularly wanted to create a catalog so staff, volunteers, and members of the community could identify their books. We wondered how she could do that inexpensively. I then remembered Library Thing, which several librarians use for their personal collections. I told her how it was easy to start and inexpensive, and I demonstrated how to enter a book with an ISBN number. She seemed impressed.

I found today that the intern took my advice and created the SCARCELibrary, with 414 items so far. The top tags for the collection is "crafts/trash to treasures" and "waste/garbage." There are even 10 items on worms. Here is a view of the library's cloud tag.

Library Thing pulls information about books from Amazon as a default, though the Library of Congress is an optional source. Being a special library, SCARCE has some unusual items that were not found at the online bookstore. Cataloguing for 337 items came from Amazon, 38 items were found at the Library of Congress, and the intern had to hand catalogue 39 items.

The result looks good. I think Library Thing could be used by many small nonprofit and church libraries easily. In fact, I see 18 church libraries signed up. Most have not entered much yet, but the Zion Lutheran Library has nearly 1400 items. Next time some one asks you at the reference desk for small library setup help, offer the Library Thing option.


Anonymous said...

Awesome use of Library Thing! Quoted at:

jmnlman said...

Very cool will have to see how it handles my military history pile (I mean heap) on my desk.