Friday, November 03, 2006

Reader's Club at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County must be library heaven. It does so many things so well, which includes Reader's Club, an online co-operative book review. Started in November of 1998, it now has over 2000 reviews written by librarians, staff, and the public. Here is what I like about the service:

1. The reviewers choose lots of interesting books. I placed three reserves just now based on what the Reader's Club reviewers recommended.

2. There are guidelines for writing the reviews, which keep them short and to the point.

3. The books do not have to be new, though many do seem to be recent. There are lots of great older books that people have forgotten, and Reader's Club reviewers are noting some of them.

4. The categories include many subcategories of nonfiction, which is where I chose a microhistory, a memoir, and a collection of poetry to reserve.

5. There are spotlights profiling some of the frequent contributors. Lydia says she likes fiction and autobiography by Asian and Asian-American women. Hey, I do, too. I could mine the list of Lydia's reviews for a long time.

6. There are many RSS feeds, so you can subscribe to all or just some of the feeds based on your reading interests.

When your library is well organized and inspires many people to contribute, it can do wonderful things.

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