By Nina Wright, Reference Librarian
Have you ever read a book review so exciting that you immediately call the library to request the title, only to discover you’ll be added to a long waiting list? While guaranteeing your place in line for a popular item is a great service we provide to all Rhode Island library card holders, you still need a good read to tide you over until your requested item arrives at the library.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could plug your favorite author names or book titles into a program that would guide you to other books you might enjoy while you wait for your favorite to become available? I am happy to report that we can help you with that wish! The Westerly Public Library is pleased to offer access to NoveList, a fiction database that does exactly that - and much more!
NoveList provides book reviews, author bibliographies, and read-alike lists for over 125,000 fiction titles. Love Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, but you’re tired of the long waiting lists for each new one? The author read-alike feature can guide you to some other authors you’d enjoy. If you’re in a book group, you might find the book discussion guides useful. You can use your library card to log in from home. Select the “How Do I – Do Research from Home” link from www.westerlylibrary.org to access our databases with a library card.
I also use the website Goodreads (www.goodreads.com). Once you’ve got your personal account (it’s free, just create a username and password) you can keep track of all of the books you read, and even create a list of books you want to read in the future. I see many library patrons with long lists of what they’ve read. Goodreads eliminates the need for those lists (when I had a handwritten list I was always nervous of losing it). It’s been a great resource for me to keep track of my reading, and especially of books I see in the library that I can’t take home right then—I just add them to my “To Read” list. Another great feature is that Goodreads will email you when a new book comes out by an author you have read in the past. This is often how I find out about a new book I am excited to read.
Another free website with great features for the booklover is LibraryThing (www.librarything.com). This site will allow you to catalog a collection of less than 250 books. For a larger library, you need to pay a small fee (about $20 for a lifetime membership). I used this database once to create a searchable catalog for a small library I was organizing. If you have a large personal book collection and want to organize it this site is a great help.
Fantastic Fiction (www.fantasticfiction.com) is a very useful website I found a couple of years ago. For those authors that have written many books, and have more than one series of books, this site is very helpful. Just enter the author’s name and you’ll get a complete list of all of their work, in the order of publication. Different series will all be listed separately so it is very simple to see which book should come next on your reading list.
Stop by the library and check out some of our great reads! We have a large selection of new books, both novels and non-fiction. If you have to be placed on a waiting list for the new release of a popular author, take advantage of all of the above resources to discover a new favorite.