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Shanna’s Road Journal | More Than You Thought…Your Library

January 17, 2010

Shanna’s Road Journal
Shanna Swendson’s Observations … On Line and On the Road

As much time as I spend at my local library (since it’s two blocks from my house — more convenient than any bookstore — I’m there a lot), I hadn’t thought about library resources online, but I’m finding that online library information goes way beyond the electronic catalog.

For instance, I’ve discovered the information for book lovers at the American Library Association’s “I love libraries” site, found at

You can find Booklist reviews, lists of notable books, lists of award winners and lists of recommended books. Don’t even click on the “recommended reading” link unless you’ve got plenty of time to kill. There are lists of books for various age groups and topics, such as popular paperbacks that teens will enjoy, books for lifelong learners, books about various cultural groups, and recommended books from certain genres. There’s even a good list of “read alikes” — other books you might like if you like certain bestselling titles.

If you know a student who needs to find something to read for a book report, this is a good place to start. These aren’t stuffy “books that are good for you” lists, either. There are good lists of books for encouraging reluctant readers to read for pleasure, with purely “fun” books organized under popular topics.

If you’ve thought about starting a book club, there’s a guide for that on the same site, with some recommended books about reading groups, some questions to consider when starting a group, some suggested ground rules, tips on picking books and a guide to discussing books in a group.

It’s also worth seeing what online resources your local library has. Mine has electronic newsletters about books and library events, e-books you can “check out” for your computer or e-reader, and real-time chat with reference librarians.

Next month, the convention and conference season will be kicking into gear, so I’ll be back on the road and actually leaving the house again.

Shanna Swendson writes “Fairy Tales for Modern Times” and is the author of the Enchanted, Inc. series about a Texan in New York City, a magical NYC. Visit her website or blog for more information.

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