Archive for the ‘librarything for libraries’ Category

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Meet up in New Orleans / Get in free to ALA exhibits

Photo by chuckyeager, released under
CC-Attribution 2.0 Generic (see on Flickr).

Cafe Du Monde meet up
We’re having a LibraryThing meet up in New Orleans! Tim and I will be around for the ALA Annual Conference, and LT member benitastrnad is coordinating a meet up.*

So, anyone who will be in New Orleans, LA for the ALA Conference, or who live in the area, can meet-up at the Cafe Du Monde on Jackson Square from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 25, 2011. This is a buy your own beignets and coffee event where we can gather to meet and talk about books, reading, and LibraryThing.

The Cafe Du Monde is a short distance from the New Orleans convention center by trolley or a short walk to Jackson Square from most of the main convention hotels. The Cafe Du Monde is a NOLA French Market tradition since 1862, famous for it’s chicory laced coffee and a Cajun pastry called beignets. Come join us!

Free “exhibits-only” pass to ALA
Since we’re exhibiting at ALA this year, we also have some free badges to give out. They’re exhibit-only, so you can’t get into the sessions, but it’ll let you in to walk around the exhibits, snag some free ARCs, and, of course, stop by the LibraryThing booth (booth 827) to meet Tim and Abby.

Just click here and it’ll walk you through the registration process.

*many thanks to her, since not only do I not know the area at all, I’m a little crazy getting prepared for ALA!

Labels: ALA, librarything for libraries, meet up, new orleans

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Welcome Kate!

Welcome Kate McAngus (LT member katemcangus), who’s filling the job we posted a few months ago.

Kate is going to be working primarily on LibraryThing for Libraries—doing customer and technical support, and generally making sure Abby doesn’t go crazy.

Kate’s a librarian, with a Masters of Library and Information Science from Simmons College.* She also has a Masters in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Virginia.

She likes reading, running, yoga, dogs, Russian, breakfast tacos (the only thing Texas has on Massachusetts). Ironically, she’s a vegetarian with the last name McAngus. Kate hails from Austin, Texas and says y’all a lot. Favorite authors include, but are not limited to, Vladimir Nabokov, Eudora Welty, and Tana French.

*Bringing our total number of card-carrying librarians up to… four! (Abby, Chris C, Jeremy, and Kate)

Labels: employees, librarything for libraries

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

LibraryThing at ALA

Tim and Casey tossing a rhinoI’ve posted the details of our attendance at this year’s American Library Association conference in Chicago over on Thingology. We have a booth in the exhibit hall, and we’ll be showing off new features for LibraryThing for Libraries.

Labels: ALA, conference, event, librarything for libraries, LTFL

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

LibraryThing and CIG—the deal!

LibraryThing has just partnered up with Cambridge Information Group, which owns Bowker, AquaBrowser, ProQuest, Serials Solutions and RefWorks.

The deal went down as follows:

  • CIG bought a minority stake in LibraryThing. I still own a majority of the company myself.
  • CIG, through Bowker, is now the exclusive distributor of LibraryThing for Libraries, our cool catalog-enhancement project. LTFL puts tags, recommendations and reviews directly into your library catalog (see the Seattle Public Library for an example).

It is an excellent deal. We got a new minority owner, with a lot of experience in the book world (but with different strengths than our other minority partner, AbeBooks), much-needed growth money and a great opportunity to reach more libraries.

There is no downside whatsoever. Nothing else has changed. Member data stays with us, under the same rules. All our free, public or Creative-Commons data, including covers, stays as it was. Management and majority ownership stay with me. We stay small, quirky and in Maine.

Selling LibraryThing for Libraries. We are overjoyed that Bowker is taking over sales and marketing of LibraryThing for Libraries. LibraryThing for Libraries has been a success, with almost 150 libraries so far.* But we aren’t salespeople—the libraries mostly came to us. Sonya has done a great job as stand-in-salesperson, but neither she or anyone else at LibraryThing has sales experience, let alone to libraries. We’re programmers and librarians!

Partnering with Bowker and its extraordinary sales team gives us the chance to reach out to many more libraries—and lets the LibraryThing team do what we do best—make things.

Don’t worry. LibraryThing for Libraries pricing isn’t changing. We’re still in charge of tech support. And we’ll still be going to the big library conferences and usually have our own booth—jumping over to Bowker’s for presentations and such. The rhino stays. We just have more people to rhinotoss with.**

Moola. LibraryThing has been profitable for a while, but we didn’t have much of a cushion. It was a nail-biter. We needed servers and new employees, but what if we had a few down months? And did I mention the economy is sick? (Cut to Tim worrying.)

The CIG deal frees us from worry and gives us room to grow. While the rest of the economy downsizes, we’re going to build and hire. We had already bought two new servers and brought on an employee and a temp to replace Abby for a while. More is coming. Did I mention we’re hiring? Oh, we’re also looking for library programmers, wherever.**

Partners. For us the big sell was the Bowker sales team and the opportunity to work with some talented technical people. We look forward to working with Bowker, ProQuest and Serials Solutions. (We did get a sneak-peak at Serials Solution’s new “Summon” product, a sort of Google for your library—and think it’s excellent.) But we’re particularly happy to talk to the people at AquaBrowser, a wonderfully innovative Dutch company acquired by CIG last year. We’ve had a crush on AquaBrowser for some time now. Theirs was the first library catalog software (OPAC) to integrate LibraryThing for Libraries content directly into their software—a deal cemented in ten minutes over sushi and beer. We are going to try hard to think up projects that require face-to-face meetings in Amsterdam.

As a side deal, some LibraryThing data will be appearing in Bowker’s flagship Books in Print service. This was, however, planned before the larger agreement, and is a data sale like any other—only anonymous or aggregate information is provided. You can change who gets your reviews on your account page—anyone, just libraries or nobody at all.

Our shot. I have a simple internal label for this deal: We are going to get our shot. LibraryThing has done very well considering its humble origins and structure. If we had gone the venture capital route we’d have started with a lot more money, but we’d have to “flip it” about now–just when things were getting exciting. Instead, this deal means we get to keep our souls, and get our full shot at making and LibraryThing for Libraries everything we want them to be. That’s a wonderful opportunity.

For members, this is also great news. You’ve waited a long time for some features, and scaling has been a problem. Everything can’t happen right away, but it can happen. With your help and criticism we can continue to build the site you want, and support the community you created.***

*Eighty-five are done by us. The rest get LibraryThing for Libraries data though Aquabrowser MyDiscoveries.
**It wouldn’t be LibraryThing if I didn’t come as clean as I can. I made some money on the deal. I can’t say how much, but it wasn’t very much. It was essential to me that most of the money go to the company, because I’d rather have opportunities to do cool things than money and limits. (Kudos to my wife for seeing it this way too!) As you might imagine, I’ve had offers to sell out, and I’ve refused them. I am having the time of my frickin’ life. My work life was never like that before, and it bleeds over into everything. It is a joy, a pleasure and an honor to be building the scaffolding of site inhabited by so many interesting people doing so many interesting things.
***The averages won’t change, but Bowker may ditch our weird self-created metrics (eg., “circulation, but for books only, not counting ILL or renewals” a number absolutely nobody knows).

My thanks to the team at CIG for their patience, particularly CIG President Andy Synder, who wouldn’t take no for an answer and guided this deal through many shoals. It’s a confident, strategic company that looks ahead like this in a period of financial uncertainty. Thanks as well to Boris, Hannes and Russ at Abebooks and Amazon for sticking with this, to Angela and the team at Bowker who are so clearly going to make this work, and to Jasper and Taco over at AquaBrowser for promising to fly me to Holland—and hey, Curaçao is Dutch, right?—for bi-monthly very important work meetings.

Labels: bowker, CIG, deals, librarything for libraries

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

LibraryThing for Libraries now found in FictionDB

LibraryThing for Libraries, our library catalog enhancer, can now be found bulking up knowledge at the website FictionDB.

FictionDB, which has been around since 1999 (which is about 49 Internet years), started out as a romance fiction database, and has grown to include the suspense, western, and speculative genres.

LibraryThing for Libraries is a set of enhancements that can be added to an existing database to show tag clouds and recommended titles. (FictionDB calls it “Read These Yet?”, which I love.)

Check out how the whole thing mashes up with the novel Dead Until Dark, and read more about our partnership at the FictionDB blog.

Labels: FictionDB, librarything for libraries, LTFL

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Escaped Rhinos!

I just mis-posted here about our minimalist booth at the Public Library Association National Conference in Minneapolis. And, of course, as soon as I post it goes out to Google and all the RSS aggregators. So, my apologies for cluttering up your reader with rhinos.

I’ve posted it over on our ideas-and-libraries blog, Thingology instead.

Labels: librarything for libraries, PLA2008

Friday, March 21st, 2008

All Things Considered does the LibraryThing

NPR‘s All Thing Considered did a story on LibraryThing and bookish social networking yesterday. It was a great story, and, I suspect, a perfect audience. Check it out.

Right now the story is number three on NPR’s most-emailed list. (This is no doubt why traffic hasn’t let up!) Abby promises she’ll make me a (quinoa?)* cake if we beat out Obama’s speech. So, send the story to all your friends! UPDATE: We’re number one! Help me, I’m giddy.

They covered some other sites, but I think LibraryThing came off best. Besides talking to me–45 minutes of conversation reduced to ten seconds of tape!–they also interviewed Sean Flannagan of the blog Deeplinking. His blog post include “The Big List of Things I Like About LibraryThing” so I think the reporter got it from all sides.

*As Dan Pashman proved on the Bryant Park Project, we need a quinoa angle to really take off on the most-emailed list. How about the quinoa tag, or the book Quinoa, the supergrain? And neti pots? We got your neti pots right here, guys. Flush out your nose with LibraryThing!

Labels: librarything for libraries, press, press hits

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Hello Sonya and Chris

We’re growing again…

Sonya. First a big welcome to Sonya Green (sonyagreen), who is going to be working on LibraryThing for Libraries, our effort to get LibraryThing goodness into library catalogs.

Sonya is taking the job we advertised a month ago; she is, as required, smart, personable, hard-working, organized, techy, a fast learner and libraryish.(1) Her job includes customer wrangling and hand-holding, but also a fair amout of CSS. I’m happy to say she passed our MySQL test, going from zero knowledge to the “if you like X, you’ll like Y” statement in only a few hours. (I’ve interviewed programmers who couldn’t get there at all.)

Sonya has a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of lllinois and worked at the Millicent Library in Fairhaven, MA. She volunteers at the Papercut Zine Library in Boston, and will therefore be leading any future LT efforts with zines. She knits, bikes, pet kittens, and tries not to tip over her bucket of sunshine.(2)

Sonya is mostly going to do LTFL, but that didn’t stop her from telling us she hates our colors immediately after arrival in Portland, so Abby, Sonya and I spent half the day playing with alternate color schemes. I think she’s right, damn her.(3)

UPDATE: Sonya is excited to take part in boosting the Zinesters who LibraryThing group.

Chris. Christopher Holland (conceptdawg) is finally becoming a full-time, bona fide, honest-to-God, non-contract LibraryThing employee.

Chris, who does programming, has been with us from the start—he pointed out that he was hired the day before Abby(4)—but has always been a contractor. Once he even went away for six months, but he came back.

Chris has been the moving force behind Common Knowledge, the new work pages, the new library searching code(5), non-member throttling(6), and the forthcoming “LibraryThing local.” He is a former graphic designer, a LibraryThing author and lives in Mobile, Alabama. His other projects have included DigMaster (article), an database of field and museum archaeological collections—like LibraryThing, but for old, dead things. (Chris has worked on archaeological digs in Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Mississippi.) He was a founder of the software company ConceptHouse.

Chris is “so LibraryThing” he keeps his own public what-I-did-today, even though the rest of us got fatigued and stopped updating ours.

1. She’s also “super,” but the “inspired” in the photo refers to the burritos of Boloco.
2. Can you tell the last sentence is not in my prose style? I wish I had a bucket of sunshine!
3. Unfortunately, then I installed the new Mac OS, and Photoshop stopped working, so the results of the redesign won’t be evident for a little while.
4. However, Abby had already been working for the pre-LibraryThing company, me, nights and weekends while I was on paternity leave. So, Abby loses battle, wins war.
5. Which, for all the glitches along the way, is now one righteous piece of code. It’s fast too.
6. Small feature; excellent name.

Labels: christopher holland, employees, librarything for libraries, sonya green