Let’s talk about books

Last week, the library hosted its version of Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic holiday tradition that includes exchanging books and drinking cocoa. Several staff members, including myself, picked a few of the books we loved from the previous year to talk about, and it was fun to see how different people reacted to titles we mentioned, growing a little more excited as one of the descriptions struck them as a potential new favorite. 

We’re always happy to share our reading because we want you to find more books that will enthrall you. We do it actively by discussing books with you in person as well as passively: we list our personal picks in the library’s catalog, BiblioCommons, and we create displays to highlight different parts of our collections. 

Whether or not you do it regularly, you may already be a “book talker,” discussing books with friends and family, or in a book group. Even if you’re not ready to become a BookTuber, there are many ways to share your thoughts on your recent reads, and you may help someone else find their next favorite along the way. One of the easiest ways is to use BiblioCommons to rate and review the books you read. Just log in to your BiblioCommons account (feel free to ask us for help) and search for the books you want to review. Directly under the title is where you can rate the book from one to five stars. Below the book’s technical information is the Community Activity section, and that’s where you can “Add a Comment” – that’s your review.

Don’t worry about filling the screen with your review. If you’re new to reviewing, try readers’ advisory specialist Becky Spratford‘s method of writing a review using just three descriptive words or short phrases, or find another system that fits your style whether it’s by using emojis, song pairings or theme descriptions. Some books might inspire long paragraphs of enthusiasm or rage, while others may challenge you to find a good way to describe what you’ve just experienced. I’ve found that this process can surprise me with a new understanding of how I felt about a book.

Another way to share books within BiblioCommons is through lists that you can edit (and add to!) at any time. Once you’re logged in to your BiblioCommons account, select “Lists” under “My Collections” to get started. Build a list of recommendations based on a topic or subgenre you enjoy exploring, or a list of your 5-star favorites. The Bibliocommons record for every book you add will include a link to your list, helping other people who share your interests to find more to engage with. Again, let us know if we can help you with this process.

Earlier on the blog, Claire talked about setting herself reading goals for 2020, and Hannah started preparing for New Year’s resolutions – as we enter 2020, consider resolving to share more of the books you’re reading with the PPL community.

Photo by Brenda Godinez on Unsplash

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