Archive for the ‘libraries’ Category

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

TinyCat’s January Library of the Month: The Pecorella Library

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

The Pecorella Library of the Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies (CAMNES) has been a personal favorite of mine for some time now, and I’m very pleased to feature them as TinyCat’s January Library of the Month.

Co-Director Dr. Guido Guarducci of CAMNES fielded my questions for the library:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The ‘Pecorella Library’ is part of CAMNES, the Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies. We are a study and research center based in Florence (Italy), which coordinates academic programs related to ancient studies as well as international archaeological excavation projects. The main corpus of the library is based on the private collection of Paolo Emilio Pecorella, an Italian archaeologist of the Near East and professor at the University of Florence who unfortunately died in 2005 at the archaeological site of Tell Barri, Syria. Our library is mainly focused on the history, philology and archaeology of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures and is open to the public.

Tell us some interesting ways you support your community.

We offer research and bibliographical support to the Italian and international students who need further insight on archaeological publications, while scholars from Italian research institutions are also fond of our small library due to the presence of recent and rare publications in the field.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We are particularly proud of very old publications of the past century, for example preliminary and final excavation reports and a good section on cylinder seals, which professor Pecorella collected in his home library and that now are available to all. Last but not least, we are also very proud of our own series SANEM (Studies on the Ancient Near East and the Mediterranean, pictured left) that was recently established—you can find them at

What’s a particular challenge you experience, as a small library?

Due to the small dimensions of the library, we are lacking professional personnel, which is certainly a difficult aspect to handle but at the same time rewarding. It is also difficult to communicate to the rest of the world of our existence since we are located within a building and not directly accessible from a street. Fortunately, scholars and students know about us but we would also like the broad public to interact with us due to our ‘public archaeology’ philosophy.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat? Anything you’d love to add?

We love it! It is a very flexible and slick interface that gives you high quality service just as a large library with a dedicated OPAC. The possibility to customize certain parts is top notch! Plus the annual fee is very reasonable, especially for our status.

Want to learn more about The Pecorella Library? Check them out on TinyCat and at

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

TinyCat’s December Library of the Month: The Brain Charity Library

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

The Brain Charity Library has been with TinyCat for nearly two years now, and we’re thrilled to feature them as TinyCat’s December Library of the Month. Gerard Collis, Information Officer and one of two part-time librarians at The Brain Charity, was able to field my questions this month:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Brain Charity offers emotional support, practical help and social activities to anyone with a neurological condition and to their family, friends, and carers. There are hundreds of different neurological conditions, including stroke, brain injury, dementia, brain haemorrhage, and many rarer conditions. We have information on more than a hundred different conditions here in the library. We also have a wide range of more general information and guidance on living with a disability or long-term health condition.

Tell us some interesting ways you support your community.

Our library and information service is the hub of our centre in Liverpool (pictured left), and the first port of call for newly-diagnosed people seeking help and support. We are a national service, and we support people from all over the UK.

The library showcases the range of support and information available to people with a neurological condition. And TinyCat helps us to showcase what we have in the library. We have many books that are difficult to find in other public libraries. We also have a large number of leaflets, booklets and other materials produced by other organisations and other charities.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I really like all the information that we have here which helps children to understand what is happening to them or to their parents. For example, the book My Dad Has Epilepsy (pictured right) is written specially for children aged six to thirteen years old.

What’s a particular challenge you experience, as a small library?

We have a very small staff and rely on our great volunteers to catalogue for us. We have a lot of unique items and ‘grey literature’ which need cataloguing by hand.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat? Anything you’d love to add?

TinyCat always looks bright and friendly, and it’s very easy to use, both for clients and for staff. And you’re always quick to help out if we have any questions or problems—which doesn’t happen very often!

Perhaps the only thing to improve TinyCat, for us, would be some stats to see how people have found our TinyCat page, and what they are searching for in the catalogue there.

Great feedback. You could try adding Google Analytics to your TinyCat, as a start—just paste your GA code into your Custom Javascript field on TinyCat’s Content Settings!

Want to learn more about The Brain Charity? Follow them on Facebook or Twitter, visit their website here, or check out their library on TinyCat.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month: America’s Test Kitchen

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we couldn’t help but feature one of the most appetizing libraries we know of. We’re thrilled to feature America’s Test Kitchen Library as TinyCat’s Library of the Month! Library Intern Kelly Potter was kind enough to take my interview questions this month:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

We’re a rapidly expanding independent media company that has earned the respect of the publishing industry, the culinary world, and most importantly, millions of home cooks (just ask the best cooks you know).

We are passionate about cooking—discovering why recipes work and why they don’t—and sharing what we learn to help everyone cook with confidence. We test cookware and supermarket ingredients to find the best quality products for home cooks. We don’t accept advertising.

Tell us some interesting ways you support your community.

Research development starts at the library. I help our test cooks and interns research recipes and culinary history. I have multiple projects occurring simultaneously. We have two magazines, Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country as well as recipe development for the books. It is satisfactory to see how the recipes come out. Some recipes take a few short months to develop, while others have taken years.

That’s impressive! With R&D starting at the library, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We have every book published by America’s Test Kitchen. It is interesting to look at the collection to see how the company has transformed and evolved. Cook’s Illustrated celebrated their 25th Anniversary this year and for the first time started publishing the magazine in full color. We also have Good Housekeeping magazines from the 1940’s and those are very cool to look at.

What’s a particular challenge you experience, as a small library?

I am a graduate student at Simmons University and there have been other interns who maintained and cataloged our collection before me. I have been looking through the collection deleting multiple records of the same item, which has been easy to do with LibraryThing.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat? Anything you’d love to add?

TinyCat is easy to use. I have test cooks who can come into the library when I am not there and be able to locate the books they need. As a student and intern, I am still learning all the different facets and capabilities of TinyCat.

Want to learn more about America’s Test Kitchen? Visit their website here, or check out their library on TinyCat.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Introducing TinyCat’s Library of the Month

All year long, we’ve been picking one TinyCat library each month to feature in our TinyCat Post newsletter. Each library is asked the same set of questions designed to give readers a sense of the libraries using TinyCat, but more importantly what they do for their community and why their work is important. The responses we’ve seen are too good to keep to ourselves, so TinyCat’s Library of the Month will now be shared with our entire community of library and book lovers at LibraryThing.

If you’d like to read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, just browse our TinyCat Post archive here.

TinyCat’s October Library of the Month: The United States Institute of Peace Library

We’re very pleased to feature the United States Institute of Peace Archive as TinyCat’s October Library of the Month! Gretchen Sauvey, Senior Project Specialist and keeper of the archives at USIP, fielded my questions this month:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The United States Institute of Peace is an independent national institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical, and essential for U.S. and global security. USIP pursues this vision on the ground in conflict zones, working with local partners to prevent conflicts from turning to bloodshed and to end it when they do. The Institute provides training, analysis, and other resources to people, organizations, and governments working to build peace.

The USIP Archive is our collection of the books, reports, and multimedia products created or funded by the Institute during the course of its work.

Tell us some interesting ways you support your community.

The archive provides the staff of USIP with access to the history of the Institute’s work. Many of the places where we work have been in conflict for decades, so it’s important to be able to look back and know what has been done before. We also have materials dating back to the creation of the Institute in the 1980’s so we can see the vision that our founders had for our work and refer to it to inspire our future.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love the variety of languages that can be found in our collection. We have items in Arabic, Bosnian, Burmese, Kurdish, Khmer, Nepali, and several others. It truly reflects the global nature of our work.

What’s a particular challenge you experience, as a small library?

One of our challenges is that the items we add to the collection are often not found in other library catalogs—either because they’re newly published by us, or because they’re published in countries that aren’t as tied into the international library systems—so I do a lot of original cataloging by hand.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat? What’s something you’d love to add?

The best thing about TinyCat is how simple it is to use, from both the administrative side and for the end user. The interfaces are clean and well-organized and make it easy to navigate the site and find the information you need. The thing I’d like to see developed is functionality for adding multiple barcodes to a record for times when we have more than one copy of the same item.

Great suggestion. Copies management is a feature high on our list—we’ll be sure to announce any update on that front, if and when it happens.

Want to learn more about the U.S. Institute of Peace Library? Visit their website here, or check out their library on TinyCat.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, TinyCat

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Libraries We Love

In honor of National Library Week in the US, LT staff got to talking about our favorite libraries around the world. Read all about our favorite places below, and come share your own on Talk.

With few exceptions, all of our favorite libraries can also be found on LibraryThing Local—LT’s way of connecting members to the real world of bookstores, libraries, and book events.


My family’s personal library. I grew up thinking a family library in the thousands, with a real intent to cover most topics, was entirely normal.

Boston Athenæum. Growing up, one of my best friends was the son of the director, so I spent a lot of time there, and he could take anything out. I particularly remember the day we spent finding all the very oldest and coolest books on magic and witchcraft they had.

Library of Congress. I went to Georgetown, but apart from the Woodstock Theological Library in the basement, it was only so-so and needed more. The LC—arguably the greatest library in the world—was my library and, really, my university too.

Boston Public Library. The BPL is, with the NYPL, one of only a few publics that try to maintain a serious research collection. I did a lot of work there in High School (I was a weird kid okay?). The main reading room is my idea of Heaven.

Beinecke Library. Architecturally, the most gorgeous library I know. I took my son to Yale just to see the library, and it was closed! But I recently made a replica for him in Minecraft. Check out Beinecke on video!


University of Chicago Joseph Regenstein Library. My alma mater’s flagship library, and how I got my official start in my career in libraries—shoutout to the Bookstacks Department! “The Reg,” as it’s known on campus, has a foreboding, Brutalist exterior, but inside, seemed to have everything I could ever want. This includes UofC’s Special Collections.

Six Mile Regional Library District Branch. My very first public library as a child. I was hypnotized by the rotating shelves, and I have vivid memories of asking the librarian for more books on sharks, please.

The Choral Library at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. This one isn’t open to the public, and it’s in more or less a closet behind the King’s balcony. It was stuffy, crowded, and I loved it. It had a rolling ladder, just like the movies! My fellow choral office assistant and I mostly had it all to ourselves.

Seattle Public Library. Visually striking both inside and out, and always busy. What’s not to love about “the mothership” (as some of us are fond of calling it)? SPL is really on top of events programming, too: from helping folks with their taxes to speaker series.

Tuscaloosa Public Library. My grandparents’ local library, which has been a great resource for them for years. Possibly my favorite part is that, rather than a perennial book sale, the Friends of the Tuscaloosa Library Bookstore is open almost year-round, and is partly to blame for my home library’s shelves overflowing.


Mount Holyoke College Library. The building itself makes all sorts of “most beautiful library” lists, but this is where I spent much of my undergrad days, reading, sitting in the stacks in front of the HQ range grabbing books for my thesis, and occasionally napping in my carrel, when I wasn’t downstairs working at the Archives and Special Collections.

Boston Public Library. In the early days of LibraryThing, I would occasionally set up camp and spend the day working from the BPL. The McKim Building is beautiful, the collection itself is vast.

Mattapoisett Free Public Library. This was the library of my childhood, a tiny lovely place, complete with an old Civil War canon outside for climbing on.

New York Public Library. I have written many books—at least in my head, if not yet on paper—that take place in the NYPL.

Cambridge Public Library. My new everyday library.


University of Tasmania Morris Miller Library. Many an hour I spent studying in the upper levels of this library, browsing the science collections and using the free internet to research my next weekend trip. It was one of the places I really felt welcome when travelling alone and overseas for a semester.

Newport Public Library. Sadly, this library closed while I was in college (don’t worry, a new cultural center took its place). The library used to be in a pretty little brick building on Main Street in my hometown. I was an avid patron there from 5 years old, and remember cleaning up the grounds with my Girl Scout Troop as a kid.

Beinecke Library. I’ve never been, but I would love to go! Rare books plus beautiful architecture, sourced with marble panels from Vermont? Count me in, please.

Trinity College Library. Another library I’d love to visit. The Long Room makes me think of grand fantasy tales, getting lost in the shelves in a world like Harry Potter’s or Redwall’s, and please say there are track ladders I could maybe ride without getting in trouble?

Tie between America’s Test Kitchen and American Cheese Society. I’m quite partial to libraries centered around food, and I often find myself browsing these libraries’ catalogs and drooling over their books.


Skidompha Library. This is a sentimental decision, as my mother is the director and I basically grew up in its shelves. They have won several state and national awards for programming, facility, and general awesomeness, but my favorite feature was the heated flooring in the children’s story circle.

Trinity College Library. Can you have an aspiration to just become a library? Because I could do that, here. Book of Kells was definitely bucket list material.

Biblioteca delle Oblate.
I work from my laptop around the world. When I was in Italy a few years ago, this branch of the Florence public libraries, overlooking the Duomo, provided me a sunny view, killer macchiatos (and, uh, wine), and steady/free wifi. Simply gorgeous.

Smith College Josten Performing Arts Library. Worked in this architectural ode to the 1960s in college, shelving music scores among squashy armchairs, becoming conversant in the Cutter Classification system.

Biblioburro. This library travels on braying hoof through a region of Colombia, bringing books to children who don’t have libraries of their own or other access to books. Such an elegant solution, even if the fuel costs are measured in hay and not heating oil.


Bridgton Public Library. I was this library’s Matilda many, many years ago.

North Bridgton Public Library. I lived next door to this library during my freshman year, and spent many hours poring over earth science books for my “Whitney Reports.” Locals will know what I’m talking about. Whitney himself lived just a few blocks away.

Lake Region Middle School Library. Moving to Maine from Puerto Rico in the middle of a school year then skipping a grade didn’t make for the most wonderful 7th grade experience. Thankfully, this library and its wonderful librarian were there. I wish I could remember her name, but mostly I remember her storytelling. She made The Polar Express for me.

San Francisco Public Library. I went to the library two days before I moved cross-country back to Maine to renew my library card. I still can’t bear to part with the physical card, though my e-borrowing privileges expired in 2015.

Tim’s family’s personal library. I’m pretty sure that the book stacks I make every time I housesit are primarily made up of Lisa’s books, maybe some of Liam’s. Tim’s are certainly fascinating to browse the titles, if a bit scholarly for my non-required-reading tastes.


New York Public Library. As a book-loving kid living in Texas, I dreamed of visiting this library, living in this library. I first made it to NYC in 2010 and was thrilled to meet Patience and Fortitude, and to wander around this marvel for hours. It did not disappoint, y’all.

Boston Public Library. After moving to Boston for library school, I spent many days getting to know the BPL: the collections, the artwork, the history. It still feels like home despite having left Boston four years ago.

Baylor University Armstrong Browning Library. This absolutely beautiful research library maintains the largest collection of the works of and works pertaining to Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the world. In Waco, Texas! I would many times attempt to study in the library only to be distracted by the stories it held.

St. Louis Public Library. This lovely piece of history underwent a complete restoration recently, the results unveiled on the library’s centennial in 2012. I love so much about this space: the stunning Grand Hall, the Graham Greene and Joseph Heller quotes on the ceiling of the stacks, the revamped children’s space. But most of all, I love that my husband and I got engaged here.

Trinity College Library. One day I’ll get there, y’all.

Your Favorite Libraries

Have a great National Library Week, and come share your favorites in the discussion on Talk!

Labels: libraries, library of congress, national library week

Friday, February 20th, 2015

New Feature: Lending (a.k.a. “Circulation”)

circulation-lendingboxWe’ve just released a major new feature: lending tracking, or, as libraries call it, “circulation.”

Why are we doing this?

Regular members have long called for a simple way to track lending. But the strongest calls have come from the many small libraries that use LibraryThing–community centers, classrooms, museums, churches, synagogues, ashrams, health centers, masonic temples, etc. We’ve got a list of some our favorites.

Simple but Strong

Although simple to use, “Lending” was designed to be powerful enough for small libraries. Rather than just a field for a name, it’s a full system, with:

  • Who checked something out and when
  • Due dates and “overdue” status
  • “On hold,” “missing” an custom statuses
  • Summary information by transaction, status and patron
  • Control over what status information visitors see

Here’s a video I made explaining it:

If you don’t want to watch the video, or want more information, here it is in text.

Come talk to us about it here on Talk.

Where can I find it?

Members who haven’t changed their catalog display styles will find the “Lending” column on style “B.” To add it to a style, go to “Settings.” (This used to be just a “cog” graphic next to the styles.)


You can find Lending summary information as a mode, together with tags, authors, etc.


Here’s how it looks in the catalog. Double-click to add or change a book’s lending status. Although there are a lot of fields, everything is optional. If you just want to track in/out, with no names or dates or due-dates, that’s fine:

Here’s what lending looks like on book pages–a little “book-pocket” icon () to edit lending status, and, if the book has a status, an area for showing it.

Here’s what it looks to add a status:

Selecting the “Lending” menu within the catalog () shows you summary and transaction information.

There are a lot of options here:

There’s also a “Lending Summary” section for your home page, available under Home > Books:

Thanks. Come talk to us about it here on Talk.

PS: This was a joint effort between myself and Ammar, who did great work, with some help from Chris Holland and others.

Labels: libraries, new feature, new features, small libraries

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Occupy Libraries!

It’s been fascinating to watch the rise of libraries at the various Occupy sites around the world, particularly the impressively-large collection at Occupy Wall Street known as the People’s Library. We reached out and suggested a LibraryThing account for the collection, and the volunteer librarians in Zucotti Park responded enthusiastically.

The OWSLibrary catalog now includes more than 3,300 titles, and it’s quite a rich and varied collection (check out the tag mirror). We’ve got a Talk thread where members are posting the books they share with the library; as of this morning, I share 100 titles with them, everything from E.O. Wilson to Annie Dillard to Strunk & White. If you’re signed into LibraryThing, you can see what you share with the OWS Library here.

The OWSLibrary folks also have an active blog, Twitter, and Flickr presence (they’ve even got library stamps!). Many authors have visited to speak, lend support, and sign books, and there’s now even an Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology.

More than 1,300 writers have signed the Occupy Writers petition in support of the Occupy movement, including Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Junot Díaz and more.

You can read some good coverage of the Occupy library movement in American Libraries, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Wall Street Journal.

On Friday, local librarian JustinTheLibrarian, Tim and I went downtown on our lunch break and cataloged the Occupy Maine library, a small collection housed at Portland’s Spartan Grill restaurant (which also serves a very tasty gyro).

Occupy Sacramento’s library is also up on LibraryThing, and we’ve been in touch with various other Occupy libraries; if your city’s library joins up, we’d love to know about it!

While you may agree or disagree with the Occupy movement as a whole, we think what they’re doing with books and libraries is simply awesome. And we’re very happy to be a part of it.

Labels: cataloging, flash mob, flash-mob cataloging, libraries

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Help libraries damaged by Hurricane Irene

Author Kate Messner posted yesterday about serious damage suffered by the Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, NY from Hurricane Irene’s floodwaters. Almost their entire childrens’ book collection was soaked beyond salvage, and they could use donations of money or books to replace the lost titles.

We’re sure there are other libraries out there in the same situation, so we want to help however we can. I’ve set up a wiki page to track needs and how to help, and I’ve contacted librarians at various libraries in the Bahamas and the U.S. reported to have suffered damage from Irene. I’ll be updating the wiki page as I get new information, but others should feel free to add to it, or to email me ( with updates.

I’ll be sending copies of some of my favorite childrens’ books, as well.

Come discuss on Talk.

Labels: altruism, libraries, love

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

LibraryThing in embassy libraries

Did you know that the U.S. State Department helps organize and maintain libraries around the world? They are set up as Information Resource Centers at embassies and consulates, and as American Corners (partnerships between embassy Public Affairs sections and local host institutions). In Afghanistan, they’re known as Lincoln Learning Centers.

LibraryThing offers free lifetime status for these accounts, and so far more than a hundred diplomatic libraries have begun to catalog their resources using LT. Just a few of those include:

Other American Corner libraries getting their LT catalogs underway recently include a whole bunch in places like Khazakhstan, Serbia, and Fiji.

Just one of the many different uses being made of LibraryThing around the world!

Labels: cultural library, libraries

Monday, December 17th, 2007

¿Qué hay en tu estantería? (Spanish books)

Cataloging your Spanish-language books just got a lot easier. We already have user-translated Spanish language site,, our fourth-most popular site. But we didn’t have good Spanish sources.

So today I’ve added 20 Spanish sources, including a bookstore and nineteen libraries.

The bookstore,, is an excellent source for recent books, popular paperbacks and cover images, mostly from Spain. Deastore is critical insofar as Amazon, our most-used source, has no Spanish or Latin American site, and few Spanish books. The libraries provide depth, including older books and–although all but one are from Spain itself–books from elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world.

You can add sources to your options here. Here’s the complete list:

  • Biblioteca Central de La Rioja
  • Biblioteca de Castilla y Leon
  • Biblioteca Foral de Bizkaia
  • Biblioteca Pública de Avila
  • Biblioteca Pública de Burgos
  • Biblioteca Pública de Palencia
  • Biblioteca Pública de Salamanca
  • Biblioteca Pública de Segovia
  • Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes
  • Congreso de los Diputados
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Universidad de Alcalá de Henares
  • Universidad de Alicante
  • Universidad de Burgos
  • Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
  • Universidad Pública de Navarra

Did you make it this far? The first 25 people to write to from a Spanish-language email address (.es, .mx, .ar, etc) will get a free membership. (If you don’t have one, write to us in Spanish.) And for the next few days, if you run a Spanish-language blog, we’ll send you five memberships—to blog or just to give to friends.

Labels: libraries, new libraries, spanish, spanish books