Enriching the library experience: an idea

It has been written many times about how the library can be a boring place.  Subject headings, checkout slips, and library catalogs, all of which could be a little bit more exciting are often times overlooked and very dull.

That’s why I really like the work LibraryThing is doing with their LibraryThing for Libraries product.  Simply stated, it adds layers to the library catalog which makes using and viewing it a better experience for the library member.  Want to browse your search results as a virtual library shelf?  What about making your catalog more social and adding library member reviews?  What about adding a map into your catalog to better help library members find what they were looking for?

However, I’m not here to sell you their product.  I’m here to talk about how their product inspired me to think about how libraries and other businesses could join together to make the library experience even more awesome for the library member.

I use the media check in service Get Glue for a number of reasons.  I like to keep a visual record of the music I’m listening to.  I also like to see what other people are watching/listening to/reading and get recommendations.  It’s even better when a large group is watching something and a discussion starts.  Heck, there’s even something really neat about collecting virtual stickers and then getting them in the mail for real!

GetGlue and LibraryThing got me thinking about how we could make the library an even neater place if we could somehow integrate these services into what we do.  Imagine going into a library and heading for the catalog.  You start your search and because of LibraryThing you can read other library members thoughts on that item.  The stack map then will help you locate what you’re looking for.  Imagine if we took that a step further and GetGlue made a product called GetGlue for Libraries.  Members could opt in to the program and check in to what they’re checking out at the library.  Library stickers could be unlocked and shared.  Even better yet, the conversation and recommendation part of GetGlue could make the entire library experience even more social and community driven.  Now you’re not just borrowing stuff, but you’re talking about it with your community as well.

This is all just an idea, but I hope something like this can happen with libraries.   We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  There’s already so much good stuff out there and all it takes is some kind of partnership to get the ball rolling.

Note: I don’t work for/profit from LibraryThing or GetGlue.  I just really like the services.  I do live down the street from  LibraryThing HQ, but that’s about it.  Tim (creator of LibraryThing) and I sometimes have some beers together and talk about libraries and life in Portland, ME.  That’s all.


  1. I haven’t really gotten into using Get Glue much yet but this sounds like a really interesting idea. I’d probably be more likely to use it if there was a library version.

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