So you’ve just finished The Hunger Games, or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or the very last of the Discworld novels. What’s next?
To the library, of course! Besides being an obvious (and free!) source of reading material, libraries have more resources than ever to help book lovers find the next great novel (or memoir, or graphic novel…)
In celebration of National Library Week, I turned to my own local library, the Woodlawn branch of the fantastic Baltimore County Public Library system (BCPL, for those in the know) and talked with Nancy Cadigan, one of the librarians on staff. Here are the top three ways to find that next book to rave about:
- Check out your library’s online catalog. At www.bcpl.info, it’s clear that the librarians have done everything they can to make searching intuitive and comprehensive. Tabs labeled “Find Materials,” “Book Lover’s Corner,” and “Unique Critiques” (which takes me to a list of handpicked recommendations from the staff) make navigation easy. What I hadn’t known was that libraries are increasingly linking to excellent sites from other libraries or outside the library system altogether. Goodreads is popular with libraries, and check out the “If You Like…” feature on the Hennepin County Library’s website, which gives you a list of recommendations based on author name.
- Try a book club. Most libraries host gatherings for the literary-minded, some even using an online format. Cadigan pointed out that the Woodlawn library’s book club makes a point to include works by authors in different countries–a great way to discover books you might not have heard of otherwise.
- Ask a librarian. Deceptively simple, but the men and women behind the desk know what the people want! When I mentioned The Hunger Games as a starting point, Cadigan didn’t even blink before suggesting Veronica Roth’s Divergent for readers craving more dystopian YA and tough female leads.
As Cadigan said in our conversation, a public library exists to support reading. Whether you consult the website, other library-goers, or the librarians, you’re bound to walk away with a fresh reading list.
What’s the last book you’ve gotten from the library?
More Library Week Related Links: