Social Libraries: What If Students Keep an Online Reading Log?

Posted on June 15, 2008


Bookshelf widgets are cool. They always catch my eye. I’ve noticed several people include one in their blog sidebar. I’ve been using LibraryThing for a while, trying to catalogue the books I’ve read. I can catalogue a ton of information about each title: when I purchased it, when I started reading it, when I finished it. I can rate it and write a book review about it. I can connect to other users who have read the book, entering discussions about the text. I can even track to whom I loan books–great for a classroom library. I can tag books too. I tag them by genre, and by date. For example, all the books I read this summer I’m tagging “summer08.”  I can create a widget for my blog sidebar (though WordPress keeps stripping out the Javascript, so I haven’t yet figured out how to get it to work) selecting particular books (for example most recent, random titles, a particular tag).  All this for free-up to 200 titles. Beyond 200, I can pay a one-time lifetime membership fee for unlimited titles.

Shelfari is another online social library I discovered last week. It has more bling-much more visually appealing. I’ve created a library (So far I’ve only added the titles I’ve read this summer; I haven’t had time to see if I can export titles from my LibraryThing library.) and added a widget to my class blog advertising the books I’m reading this summer.

What If Students Used an Online Library?

I’ve been thinking about using an online library with my students. Instead of handing out a book log for independent reading for them to keep in their notebooks, what if I had each of them create an account. I could then create a student library page on the class wiki, adding a link to each student’s library page. I could track their reading, and they could track each other, even connect with each other and with others around the globe.

Has anyone tried this? Are there other online libraries you would recommend?  I’d love feedback. I’ve only just thought of using these with my students, and I’m sure there may be other issues I need to consider. I’d love to hear your thoughts.