Thursday, October 17th, 2013

One LibraryThing, One Book

In the grand tradition of The Big Read and One City, One Book projects everywhere, LibraryThing is beginning its first ever, LibraryThing-wide read. It’s a bit of an experiment, and there has been much discussion on Talk about how to make it work.

For our first One LibraryThing, One Book selection, we’ll be reading Dave Eggers‘s The Circle. This one is a bit of an ironic pick by Tim—a dystopia about social networking, ha ha. If it doesn’t strike your fancy, don’t worry—in the future, we’ll expand the selection process to allow for member voting, in some fashion.

Get involved

Discussion starts November 18
In the interest of keeping discussion lively and spoiler-free, we’re setting the start date for discussion of The Circle as Monday, November 18th, at 9pm Eastern. Prior to that time, please use the “Introduce Yourself” or “First Impressions” threads to talk about your thoughts on the book as you’re reading.

Ten free copies up for grabs!
Thanks to the nice folks at Knopf, we’ve got 10 free copies of The Circle up for grabs, as a special extra batch in Early Reviewers. Go here to request one!

Questions? Comments?
You can check out and contribute to the discussion that spawned this project on Talk.

Labels: One LibraryThing One Book

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

AllHallowsThing Contest!

To celebrate Halloween, LibraryThing is introducing a brand new competition, “All HallowsThing.” It could help you decorate for the big night, or even inspire that costume you are worrying about!

How to enter

  1. Choose one of the two competition categories, or submit to both.
    • Literary Costume: Dress as a character or object from your favorite book.
    • Pumpkin Creations: Make a literary pumpkin!
  2. Take photos of your costume/pumpkins.
  3. Upload your photos to your gallery.
  4. Be sure to tag your photos. Tag them AllHallowsThing2013.
  5. Go ahead and add a title, description or whatever, detailing how you made your costume/creation.
  6. Deadline: The deadline is by 6 pm, Eastern on November 8th to be considered for our fabulous prizes!

Winners get

The staff at LibraryThing will choose the winners of each category.

Grand Prize: One per category

Runners Up: Two per category

  • Your choice of a LibraryThing t-shirt, stamp, or CueCat
  • That secret, undisclosed LibraryThing gift we haven’t announced yet
  • A lifetime gift membership

Fine Print: You can enter as many times as you like, but you can only win one prize. By entering the contest you certify that your creation is your own. All decisions as to winners will be made by LibraryThing staff, and our decisions are final, damn it. LibraryThing staff and family can enter, but can only be honored as prize-less honorable mentions. We reserve the right to use your photo, but the copyright remains yours. You can release them under a copyleft license.

Questions? Post links and question on this Talk topic.

Labels: AllHallowsThing, contest, contests

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

October Early Reviewers batch is up!

The October 2013 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 100 books this month, and a grand total of 2,870 copies to give out. You might be excited to know that, this month, we have The Second Chance Dog, after which you may be ready to move on to a Second Chance Boyfriend!

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, October 28th at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, France, and many more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Taylor Trade Publishing Kregel Publications Monarch Books
Lake Claremont Press Prufrock Press Everything Goes Media
Informed Decisions Publishing Demos Health CarTech Books
Cleis Press Viva Editions River Valley Publishing
O’Reilly Media Random House Monico
Wayzgoose Press Pneuma Springs Publishing Bantam
Akashic Books Del Rey Palgrave Macmillan
Gothic City Press Gray & Company, Publishers JournalStone
Dragonwell Publishing Circumspect Press Henry Holt and Company
Seawall Books Algonquin Books Human Kinetics
Bantam Dell Ballantine Books St. Martin’s Press
Minotaur Books BookViewCafe Galaxy Audio
Crown Publishing Recorded Books Wayman Publishing
Altaire Productions&Publications Bluffer’s Guides Pants On Fire Press
McFarland Gotham Books Plume
Tundra Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

700 Thank-Yous

After congratulating Loranne and Matt, I want to thank everyone who applied for the job and didn’t get it.

You are superstars

Almost 700 people ended up applying. Many put a lot of work into their cover letters, and I asked almost 100 to complete detailed follow-up questions. I interviewed 10–at two hours each, on average. People gave us a lot of time, and I’m grateful for it.

The applicant pool was amazing, including booksellers, librarians, publishing people and book lovers of innumerable types and talents. We seriously considered everyone from a director of marketing at a red-hot imprint to first-job people who just loved books so much they had to apply. Many were long-time LibraryThing members, many “outsiders.” Each “cut” was difficult. I suspect that most could have done the job, and I suspect hundreds would have rocked it. Deciding on Loranne and Matt was exciting. But saying goodbye to so many great people feels like a loss.

So, thank you for your time, and good luck in your careers. You guys are the superstars of the book world.

And all I got was this lousy t-shirt?

If you applied for the job, and if you’ve read all the way down to this, you may be saying “I applied for this job, and all I got is nice words?” But if you applied, you also know the original job post hid something at the bottom.(1)

Well, not true. You also get a t-shirt. Well, at least the first 100 people to ask will get one. (We might go above 100, but supplies here may give out.) Just email Tim your address, color and size, and we’ll hook you up.


1. About 1/3 missed it.

Labels: employees, employment, jobs

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Welcome Loranne

As Tim wrote earlier today, LibraryThing’s epic search for a “new Jeremy,” ended by deciding we’d take things up a notch and hire TWO people!

Hi, everyone, I’m Loranne Nasir (LT member lorannen)! I’m joining Tim, KJ, and Matt at LTHQ here in Portland. Along with Matt, I’m taking over for Jeremy, as Member Support and Social Media Librarian.

Originally from a small town in Missouri, I went to the University of Chicago, and recently completed a MSLIS at Syracuse University, where I studied everything from cataloging to information visualization. My social media experience includes helping Barbara Stripling with her successful campaign to become President of the American Library Association.

My hobbies include photography, swordplay (épée), wordplay, reading, and gaming. Among my favorite authors are Ursula K. Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, and Haruki Murakami.

I’m very excited to be joining the LibraryThing team and moving to Portland all at once. Going forward, I’ll be handling Early Reviewers, contests and games (really looking forward to Edible Books come April!), as well as official Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I was drawn to LibraryThing by the outstanding community here, and while I’ve got big shoes to fill, I look forward to working with and for all of you!

Come say hi and welcome me and Matt on Talk.

Labels: employees

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Welcome Matt

Last month LibraryThing held an extensive, worldwide search for a “Bookish and Social-Media Savvy” employee.

We ended up unable to choose! The job is big, and we wanted to take it up a notch. So we chose two people–a small team devoted to helping LibraryThing members and advancing the site however and wherever it could be advanced. The first is Matt Mason, joining us as the “intern” or “junior” member of the team. (The other is Loranne; check out her blog post.)

Matt (LT member matthewmason) was born in Portland, Maine and grew up in Kennebunk.

This past May he graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in Latin and Italian Studies.

While at college, Matt wrote his thesis on two fascinating Latin poems composed by Dante Alighieri, and had the opportunity to work within the Special Collections department of the Bailey-Howe Library. He also studied for a semester at L’Università degli studi di Urbino Carlo Bo in Le Marche, Italy, widely exploring humanist Latin poetry and drinking espresso.

Matt’s favorite authors include Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Leo Tolstoy and Roger Lancelyn Green.

Besides reading and translating, he tries to cook and oil paint whenever he gets the chance, and has taken up pottery as a hobby.

Come say hi and welcome Matt and Loranne on Talk.

Labels: employees

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

September Early Reviewers batch is up!

The September 2013 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 104 books this month, and a grand total of 2,760 copies to give out.

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, September 30th at 6 p.m. EDT.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, and more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Taylor Trade Publishing Tundra Books Lion Fiction
Riverhead Books Bethany House Oxford University Press
Random House Ballantine Books Coffeetown Press
Prufrock Press Greenleaf Book Group Orbit Books
Henry Holt and Company McBooks Press Random House Trade Paperbacks
White River Press Ashland Creek Press Demos Health
WaterBrook Press Akashic Books Leafwood Publishers
Crown Publishing Quirk Books Milkweed Editions
Palgrave Macmillan O’Reilly Media Viva Editions
Informed Decisions Publishing AltWit Press Plume
William Morrow Bison Books Kurodahan Press
Hunter House BookViewCafe Human Kinetics
Whitepoint Press The Plaid Raccoon Press Gueem Books
Dewey Larson Publishing National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors Recorded Books
Dragonwell Publishing Orca Book Publishers JournalStone
Pants On Fire Press MSI Press Algonquin Books
Minotaur Books Exterminating Angel Press Galaxy Press
Galaxy Audio

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Goodbye Jeremy

Jeremy wins one.

Tim and Jeremy lose one.

Yesterday LibraryThing turned eight, and today we say goodbye to Jeremy Dibbell (jbd1), LibraryThing’s social-media guy and all-around LibraryThing soul.

After nearly three years at LibraryThing, Jeremy is moving on. Next week he begins work as Director of Communications and Outreach at Rare Book School, located at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. We’ve loaned him to Rare Book School each summer he’s worked for us. He’s looking forward to joining the team there full time.

Jeremy is a long-time and much-loved member of the team. He was an early adopter, and became LibraryThing’s official-unofficial head of the Legacy Library project long before he came to work for us formally. Most members probably know him from the newsletter, our Facebook and Twitter feeds, from member-help emails, and for his Talk posts, helping new members and laying out his vision for LibraryThing’s development.

We aren’t going to lose him completely. Jeremy will continue on for a few weeks helping us where he can and giving his successor(1) some tips. And he will continue as head of the Legacy Library project. Indeed, as he says, he’ll have more time for it now. I suspect he’ll make his views about the site known too. I doubt he could help it.

It’s not easy to summarize everything Jeremy has done for us. Some highlights include:

  • Sending 10,600 emails, not counting those that came from info@librarything.com. He saved us from drowning, and far exceeded what a run-of-the-mill “social media” manager could have done.
  • Growing the size of the Early Reviewers program from around 1,200 books/month to today’s 3,500 or 4,000/month.
  • Helping to design, troubleshooting and discussing every major new feature in the last three years.
  • Continued growth of the Legacy Libraries program (see an overview here), including the new landing page, most of the Libraries of Early America (1,500+), and a number of wonderful LL flashmobs.
  • Special events, like our edible books contests, and book spine poetry.
  • Playing Santa for SantaThings 2010 (the Book Depocalypse), 2011 and 2012.

Jeremy moved to Portland to take this job, living only a block away from my house and the office. (My wife and my son were particularly grieved to hear he was leaving.) Being in the office gave his advocacy for members and his vision for LibraryThing extra impact. He’s been at the center of every major decision–from features to hires–for some time now. He’d be harder to miss if his contribution was not more obvious in the culture he leaves behind.

Sad as we are, we’re also excited for him too. He’s been passionate about Rare Book School for years–continuing to help out there in the summer was a condition of his taking the job. Charlottesville is a beautiful place. It is also close by Monticello, where Thomas Jefferson built his library. When he left Jeremy gave my son Liam a children’s book about Monticello and Jefferson’s love of books. It is fitting that Jeremy is there now, with his Jefferson-sized library and bibliophilia.

So, from me and all the LibraryThing staff, thank you Jeremy.


1. In case you’re wondering, our social-media job is still open, but closing fast. See the job post.

Labels: employees, employment, jefferson, jeremy dibbell, jobs, legacy libraries

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

New historical libraries in LibraryThing: Mailer, Ransome, Galileo, de Sade, Child, Dana

Another update on some Legacy Libraries folks have added recently or are working on now:

Since I wrote last we’ve had one library completion, that of author Norman Mailer. Mailer’s library is at the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin, and we were able to bring it into LibraryThing by importing the MARC records. Thanks to jburlinson for adding in the records that didn’t import and for sprucing up Mailer’s profile page.

Mailer’s 851-title library contained a huge number of his own books in various editions and translations: check out his author cloud! Volunteer jburlinson commented on the author cloud “I think he would have been pleased with how it looks.”

If you have any information on additional Mailer books, &c., please let us know in the discussion thread.

Another author’s library in the works is that of Arthur Ransome, being cataloged by LTer cynfelyn. Ransom’s catalog so far includes more than 700 identified titles, with a bunch more still to be added.

My favorite collection from Ransome’s library so far is Lakes & Pirates, a list he drew up for children who enjoyed his books and were looking for other reading material.

Know of other Ransome books? Tell us in the discussion thread.

Legacy Libraries volunteer ColmGuerin is hard at work on the library of Galileo Galilei. Nearly 300 titles have been entered so far, with more to come.

Galileo’s library was collected by his student Vincenzo Viviani, and bequeathed by Viviani to the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. The books are now among the collections of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, the National Central Library in Florence. You can get a sense of the books entered so far from Galileo’s tag cloud.

As always, we’d appreciate any assistance or additional information on this library: jump into the Talk thread!

Another recent addition is the library of the Marquis de Sade, being cataloged by lolawalser from a transcription of a 1776 inventory of de Sade’s chateau, La Coste. So far a total of 295 titles have been identified and added, including a fair number of works by Rousseau, Locke, Hume, Hobbes, and Voltaire.

Speaking of Voltaire, his library still has many books to be added, so if you’re feeling adventurous (and/or have pretty good knowledge of French), join us! There’s a discussion thread where we’re working out the details, and a wiki page where you can claim a section and add some books.

We’ve started work on the library of Julia Child, a good chunk of which is now in the collections of the Schlesinger Library at Harvard. To help out with this one, please join us in the Talk thread and we’ll get you set up with some books to catalog (much easier to manage than Voltaire’s, to be sure).

Finally, on the Libraries of Early America front, I’ve been working on adding the books of Francis Dana (1743-1811), a Massachusetts lawyer and diplomat. Dana’s library is pretty neat in that it’s drawn from not only some lists of books, but also an impressive collection of receipts and order lists which document his book purchases, loans, and other things quite nicely. I’ve been a little busy what with moving and all, but I hope to finish Dana’s library off before too much longer.


How can I help? We’re always looking for volunteers to help catalog Legacy Libraries. Come join the Legacy Libraries group: introduce yourself, tell us some authors or other historical figures you’re interested in, and we’ll come up with a good Legacy project that would benefit from your help. If you know of somebody important we’re missing, let us know: if we can add their library, we will!

Labels: legacies, legacy libraries

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Author interview: Samantha Shannon on “The Bone Season”

Some excerpts from my interview with Samantha Shannon, which appeared in the August State of the Thing newsletter. Samantha is the author of The Bone Season, the first volume in a seven-part series, released just yesterday by Bloomsbury.

Do you recall which part of The Bone Season came to you first? Was there a particular moment that inspired the novel?

I was doing an internship at a literary agency in Seven Dials—a junction in London where seven streets meet—when I had the idea. I imagined a girl having the exact same day at work that I was, but she happened to be clairvoyant.

The Bone Season is set in 2059, but in an alternate world which diverged from our own in 1859. I’d love to hear how you set about developing the universe in which the novel takes place, and the sorts of things you had to consider as you did so.

I wanted my clairvoyant society to be a cross-section of historical types of divination, so I did quite a lot of reading about classical and Renaissance impressions of augury, soothsaying and so on. Scion evolved in my mind as a response to the criminal underworld (whereas in the story itself it’s vice versa), and I did a lot of thinking about how to create a believable world in which clairvoyance is persecuted, and about what the people of Scion might hear, see, feel and think in their everyday lives.

Much of The Bone Season is set in what was once Oxford (where you have, I should note, recently finished your undergraduate career). What was it about Oxford that made it work well as the setting?

Oxford was perfect for The Bone Season. Although it’s a modern place in many respects, there are still vestiges of archaism and tradition, and its spectrum of old buildings, from various centuries, give it an eerie sense of being frozen in time.

Who are some of the authors you particularly admire or who’ve had some influence on your own writing?

Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale was what first got me interested in dystopian and speculative fiction, alongside Orwell and Wyndham. I specialised in Emily Dickinson at university; her poetry inspired many of the themes I want to explore in later Bone Season books.

What books have you read and enjoyed recently?

I just finished The Gamal, the debut of Irish novelist Ciarán Collins, which I thoroughly enjoyed. At the moment I’m reading the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire.

Samantha also talked to me about working with Imaginarium Studios on the film version of The Bone Season, and told me what she’s liked most about the publishing process. Read the rest of our interview.


If you’d like to receive our State of the Thing newsletter, you can add it in your email preferences. You’ll need have to have an email address listed.

Labels: author interview, state of the thing