My Social Reading
I personally first stumbled upon social readings just because it was a practical way of recording what I read without having to track down pesky details like the publication date, because someone else had already done it for me. I started off using the now defunct Living Social Books app via Facebook, moved to Shelfari after deciding its format better suited my needs, then most recently to Goodreads (just over a year ago) after becoming unhappy with changes Amazon were making to Shelfari. My Goodreads profile now holds over three years of dated data as to what exactly I've read and a further two years of undated data (plus all the books that I could remember I'd read before my records began in 2008). Don't worry, I back up my records regularly.
I also write 2 blogs, my book blog here and my craft blog here. Part of writing blogs is reading others and I follow about 150 about books, craft, cooking, library stuff and few other random bits and pieces. I was a Google Reader user, but have made the transition to Feedly fairly easily for my RSS needs. Only downside so far (some of you may remember me lamenting this on Twitter about History Pin) is that my smartphone is not smart enough for its app.
What I Love About My Social Reading
- It's great for reader's advisory. Keeping a record of what I've read makes my brain retain it so much better, so I'm hotter off the mark with recommendations. From that respect it's a great tool for library staff - I even seen library staff use Goodreads shelves to put titles into categories for recommendations. Goodreads also has a great inbuilt recommendations system, good enough that I've recommended it to patrons (the type that are looking for a new author every time they step into the building, but have very particular tastes).
- It's practical. There's no way I could keep track of 150+ blogs I follow without a decent social reader. Feedly allows me to immediately pick out posts that are relevant to me, without wading through masses of texts.
- I can use my library skills outside of the library context. I'm an active librarian on Goodreads and find being able to contribute to its encyclopedic public record of published titles surprisingly rewarding. Adding data to social reading sites can help spread awareness of issues close to library staff heart's - for example, I'm currently in the process of adding award data for the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, so Goodreads users can more readily find kiwi award winners.
- It connects me to other readers - its easy to find readers with similar tastes to you (I love Goodreads 'compare books' feature) and just as easy to reach out to them.
Social Reading and Libraries
My libraries aren't currently involved in social reading sites. But social reading sites have potential for libraries. Administering physical groups on an online platform that is book-centric is one possibility that immediately comes to mind. For example, my library has an 'extreme readers' group that meets once a month for teens that read far above their age level. They've been looking for a platform that the teens could use to connect online, but Facebook doesn't really suit the group's needs - Goodreads has a great group feature and is reading centric.