Archive for January, 2013

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Book Display Widgets from LibraryThing for Libraries

We’re pleased to launch our newest LibraryThing for Libraries product—Book Display Widgets!

Book Display Widgets let you create virtual book displays for your library’s homepage, catalog, blog, or wherever you want to show off some titles! We’ve included a few examples here, but check out the Showcase page for more widgets in action.

New fiction titles (in a dynamic grid)
(Note: This is a sample widget. If you were using this in a real library,
then each book would link to the book record in the catalog when clicked.)

Book Display Widgets gives you the choice of four different display styles (dynamic grid, shelf browse, scrolling shelf, and 3-D carousel), and endless customization possibilities.

You can feed your widgets all sorts of things, including:

  • Pre-populated data sources. Includes series, awards, tags and genres. We’re smart enough to match them up with your holdings, so you just enter a series name, a tag or genre and we figure out the best books to show.
  • Your holdings. Pick all holdings, new holdings, popular holdings or holdings within a certain call range.
  • Custom lists. Create your lists, hand-entered or drawn from an RSS feed or a web page that lists books.
New York Times Bestsellers (in a 3-D carousel)
(Note: This is a sample widget. If you were using this in a real library,
then each book would link to the book record in the catalog when clicked.)

We built this to be extremely flexible and customizable, so you can create a variety of different widgets, and use them to showcase whatever your library wants to focus on—Booker Prize Winners, National Reading Week, a collection of paranormal romance titles, or staff picks.

See our Showcase page for sample widgets in each display style, and to get inspiration.

Learn more. Email me ( with any questions about this or any of the LibraryThing for Libraries products. To subscribe, contact Peder Christensen at Bowker—toll-free at 877-340-2400 or email

See us in Seattle. LibraryThing will be at ALA Midwinter in Seattle later this week, showing off Book Display Widgets and everything else we do.

Labels: Book Display Widgets, librarything for libraries

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Pew study: Library patrons want personalized recommendations

A new Pew Internet study on Library Services in the Digital Age was released today, and it contains some findings we found particularly interesting. When asked whether they would use:

“Amazon”-style customized book/audio/video recommendation schemes that are based on patrons’ prior library behavior

29% of Americans 16 and older said they would be “very likely” to use such a service, with another 35% saying they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.

That’s 64% of patrons interested in a library service which suggested books, audiobooks and DVDs to them based on their own preferences.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s not just Amazon that learns what you like these days. Personal algorithmic recommendations drive dozens of major sites, from Netflix and Pandora to Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter. Patrons get this stuff.

As chance would have it, we know of only one service that integrates with library holdings and catalogs, allowing library patrons to receive personalized recommendations—our own BookPsychic. Yes, there are a few in-catalog services that offer recommendations book-by-book—including our own LibraryThing for Libraries “Similar Books”—but BookPsychic is the only library service that learns what you like and adapts accordingly.

What is BookPsychic? Launched in August, BookPsychic is an easy and fun personal recommender system for library patrons—like Netflix or Amazon, but all about what’s in and what’s popular at your library. As you rate books and DVDs, BookPsychic learns more and more about your tastes, and comes up with recommendation lists. And everything shown or recommended is available at your library. Simple “bookstore” genres, like “Recent fiction” and “History,” help you zero in on the books you want.

In the text of the full report (p.61) the researchers noted that some librarians were hesitant to endorse a recommendation service of this type due to concerns about privacy. For patrons, BookPsychic is a completely optional and opt-in system, with stringent privacy protections governing any ratings you make within BookPsychic or any recommendations made to you.

For more information on BookPsychic, see the announcement blog post, or come give it a try with the Portland Public Library. If you want to see what it can do in your library, we’d be happy to set you up with a simple no-commitment trial.

Abby and Kate will be at ALA Midwinter in Seattle this week, so stop by Booth 1108 and chat with them about BookPsychic, or any of the other LibraryThing for Libraries enhancements.

The Pew report is based on a survey of 2,252 Americans aged 16 and above taken between October 15 and November 10, 2012, with a mixture of cellphone and landline surveys. The margin of error is +/- 2.3%. For some more data related to this particular question within the survey, see page 61 of the full report.

Labels: BookPsychic, recommendations

Friday, January 18th, 2013

ALA Midwinter in Seattle – Free Exhibit Passes!

Kate and I will be heading to Seattle next week for ALA Midwinter. We’ll be setting up camp in booth 1108– just look for the giant inflatable giraffe if you can’t find us.

Are you in Seattle, or nearby, and want to get into the exhibit hall for free? I can help! We have free exhibit passes to give out: Click here to register.

The exhibit halls open Friday, January 25th at 5:30pm and close Monday the 28th at 2pm. So stop by our booth and say hi!

We will also be showing off a brand new LibraryThing for Libraries product (Book Display Widgets!) and upgrades to other features… More detailed announcements coming, or stop by the booth for a preview.

Labels: ALA midwinter, ALAMW13, Book Display Widgets, librarything for libraries