Friday, September 4, 2015

Wesley Gives Library Love

Hi, I'm Wesley from Library Educated.  My husband and I recently moved into a house in a new city. Among several concerns that kept me up, tossing and turning at night (“Where am I going to take yoga?”, “I have no idea where the grocery store is.”, “Are we going to pick a new church or drive to our old one?”) one that popped into my head most frequently was “Oh no…I’m going to have to find a new library”. As much as I love my old library, I’m not going to drive 25 minutes to use it, several times a week. I was going to have to learn to adjust to a new place.

A couple of things made my old library great. It was a small, uncrowded library but it had access to our county’s extensive library network. This meant I got almost everything I wanted to read delivered right to my library. The holds shelf was right by the door so if I was in a rush I could grab books and self-checkout and be back in the car in less than 5 minutes. (I generally don’t browse at the library, but occasionally on my short time in the library there would be a book on the “New Book” shelf that would give me itchy “I-need-that-book” fingers.  ) The librarians are friendly and sweet, always greeting me cheerily. They never judged me (at least to my face, haha) about the weird assortment of books that would show up in my name.

I haven’t made the jump to my new library yet, life has been busy and I have a lot of Netgalley books piling up on my Kindle. But when I finally find my new library these are things that I hope that it has:

  •  An outside return box that has a “5 minutes for book return” parking spot in front of it. I am lazy, there I said it.
  •   Friendly librarians who don’t mind it when you squeal from happiness a little too loudly when a book you’re waiting for is sitting on the hold shelf with your name on it. (Not that I’ve ever done that…*cough*)
  •  Summer reading programs for adults, with prizes! I know kids need these programs so there brains don’t go to mush between school years. But I think adults have the same problem! Staring at the computer at work, and then staring at your phone or the TV at home, it’s easy to get mushy. And who doesn’t love prizes as motivation? 
  •  Does my new city do any fun programs? Show movies in the park? Art crawls with wine on the weekends? I’d love there to be some community event information at the library so I can explore and get to know this area.
  • A wide range of books. I’d rather my library spend money on some interesting graphic novels or foreign movies then on buying 50 copies of the latest YA sensation that will be about 48 too many copies in 4 months.

Honestly, I doubt my new library will have all of these things, but a girl can dream. The important thing is that libraries are there and continue to be great resources in the community, even if I have to walk across a parking lot to return a book inside the building.
My "old" library


Thanks for sharing about your library, Wesley!

Leave a comment or question for Wesley below to let her know you enjoyed her post! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Introducing Library Love September, PLUS Survey Results!

This month on Book Bloggers' International book bloggers will be sharing their love for libraries!  People used to value the library as a resource.  They still should.  This month we tell you why we love libraries, and why we think they are important!  Be sure to subscribe to our feed and/or follow us on Twitter (@bookbloggersint) so you will be sure to catch all our guest posts!

A few days ago we invited bloggers to fill out a short survey on their library use. We got a great response. Here are the results below: (To get the graphs big enough so you could read the key, they took up the whole page so I am adding a bit below each graph):

Green - More than once a week
Purple - Once a week
Light orange - Every couple weeks
Maroon - Once a month
Blue - Once every couple months
Olive - Once or twice a year
Orange - I don't use a library regularly

Green - 0
Purple - 1-10
Light Orange - 11-25
Maroon - 25-50
Blue - 50-100
Olive - 100+

Green - Yes, often
Purple - Yes, once in a while
Light Orange - No

Some answers from our open-ended questions:

What is your favorite aspect of libraries?
  • Overdrive & Inter-library Loan
  • The chance to read free books, the availability of out-of-print or older books.
  • Well, I am a librarian myself so I'd say the fact that they employ me is really high up there.
  • the variety of books

What do you wish all libraries had?
  • A cozy reading corner
  • A YA section
  • Author events
  • A more expansive digital catalog
  • Bookclubs
  • Bigger fiction section
  • Inter-library loan (ILL) program
  • A bigger budget

What do you think the future holds for libraries?
  • More diversification in ways they provide knowledge. More classes. More computer resources
  • More technology services in collections, teaching. More of a social hub supplying community needs to e.g.homeless people. (New York Public Library have just employed a social worker).
  • Even more online collaboration & use.
  • I am worried about the privatization of libraries. But our local library has been very good at adapting to/with the times, so I think libraries will continue to be amazing and serve their communities.
  • In the past libraries served as repositories for research and librarians helped find elusive materials. Now librarians are gatekeepers, helping patrons sort out quality information in the age of Google (so much stuff... what is good?). I think libraries will expand to include non-traditional checkouts. some libraries are already checking out bikes and other items to patrons.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your library use or why you think libraries are important? 
  • I think libraries are really important as cultural hubs for a city or neighbourhood. 
  • I think they're important because they give people with less money opportunities to read whatever they want or need to read.
  • They serve as a great connection to the community. 
  • It is imperative that libraries exist in a free society. 
  • As a librarian myself, I obviously believe libraries are important. They equalize the playing field for people from all backgrounds to get the same access to information as each other and the same amount of help. It used to be that the library was often the only place people could find any information. Now libraries are the place where people learn how to filter through the huge amount of available information to find the best and/or most relevant for them. They help save time and lead to greater user satisfaction.

Please leave a comment or question below about the survey or about libraries! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Let's Talk About Goodreads

Welcome to my guest post today, I’m Catriona from Words of a Bluebird (link to my blog at the bottom) and I’m going to be having a little rant about the problems of Goodreads!

As someone new to the bookblogosphere, last year I was swept up in all the exciting new things that come with it. The lovely people, the interesting reading, the new book recommendations, and Goodreads.

Now, Goodreads seemed great at the time. You can have separate bookshelves, a reading goal which you can track throughout the year, and you have access to thousands of reviews of books you’ve already read, to see what other people thought about them. What could be wrong, right!

Like many others, I quickly began getting aggravated with the site, and here’s why:

The Rating System 
Because I rate with percentages, the Goodreads 5 star rating system just does not cut it. It is probably the most irritating thing I have found. It’s such a basic fault, I can’t believe they haven’t fixed this yet! As a site devoted to primarily reviewing books, why is it they only cater for people who can rate a book on this one, tiny scale?

I’m not trying to offend anyone here rating on the 5 point system is totally fine! But because I rate books on a 100 point system… Goodreads cannot be my primary source of reviewing (which is one of the reasons I set up a blog).

To give you an example, if you read 100 books a year, over 10 years you would have read 1000 books. On the Goodreads 5 star rating, that means you would have (on average) 200 books in each category, which makes it impossible to sort out the very best 10 or so books. Even if they had half stars, it would dramatically improve it!

Keeping Up/Awkwardness 
This could be my personal shortcomings with Goodreads, but I find it very difficult to keep up the shelves; it is very awkward to keep changing books around to different shelves from TBR to reading, to a specfic category.

Let me give you this scenario. You are having a little binge on booktube and the bookblogosphere, and you keep seeing all these incredible books that you want to read. So you grab a notebook and write down a little list as you see them. Now, you could either go onto Goodreads and find each of those 20 books and fiddle them onto your TBR shelf (provided you can get the damn search bar to find them), and then go to the store with your phone. Or, you could just bring the piece of paper, and cross the books off when you get them!

Goodreads offers no extra perks that you can’t get from somewhere else. Blogs for the reviewing and the connecting. Book journals for the TBR books. Planners (or the book journal) to keep track of which books you’ve read that year.

I thought I would put this in here, although as a reader/blogger and not an author, I haven’t had any personal experiences with this before, except from observances. However, I am aware that there are people who just downvote to be spiteful I’ve even heard of authors setting up fake accounts and giving awful ‘reviews’ to other authors, and people entering multiple fake accounts to scam a giveaway. There are some truly horrific stories out there!

I could also go on to criticize how the reading challenge makes reading less pleasurable and more stressful, but I have not yet found this. I’m more pressured by the ‘I promised this author I’d have the review put up tomorrow, and I still have 100 pages to read’ scenario. If you don’t like the reading challenge, don’t have one next year, or just quit now. You don’t have to read a certain amount of books in a year, and you certainly shouldn’t feel pressured to do so!

For all its faults, Goodreads does have some redeeming features. The forums are very good for answering and asking questions, and it’s a great way for unpublished writers to meet with published writers, readers and publishers.

Futhermore, a lot of the groups are sweet, and great fun to join, where you can really have discussions with people who read the same books as you.

Unsurprisingly, there are many many rants about this subject, from annoyed readers to hurt authors, and here are three which I have picked out as some of the most interesting...

That’s the end of this post, I hope you appreciated where I was coming from, even if you don’t agree with the points I made.

You can visit me over at my blog, and I look forward to reading your comments!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Library Use Survey

In September, BBI is hosting the theme LIBRARY LOVE.

We would love to get info on how you use (or don't use) libraries.  

Fill out the short survey below by August 31st, and we will post the answers September 2nd on our Library Love introduction post.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL: No School Reading For Me, No Sir

Today, I am excited to bring you our final guest post in honor of Back to School, courtesy of Rhea at Rhea's Neon Journal Book Blog.  She has taken a little different perspective, and it is one that you do not want to miss.


In case it isn’t clear, I love reading. More than eating, and sleeping, and donuts, and coffee. Definitely more than breathing. And now that I’ve bared one part of my soul to you, here’s the other:

I absolutely loathed reading anything in school. I just couldn’t, you know? I couldn’t put my mind to it and I distinctly remember not ever wanting to even pick stuff up from the school library…Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Enid Blyton. None of this stuck with me and I’ve always hated reading something I’m forced to.

But woah, you guys, hold up. It was a completely different scenario at home, with my mother having made peace with the fact that I would probably never eat food in front of the idiot box. Like, you know, the rest of my family. It would always be Harry Potter, dinner and me. I read and re-read and re-read and read Harry Potter (all six of them) again and again and again though middle school and high school. Then HP and The Deathly Hallows was released in July 2007 and I had to wait until September for it to step into my outstretched arms. And the re-reading process started all over again

Of course, teenage girls craved glittery vampires in 2008, and I was bitten by the Edward Cullen bug. I saw the movie, went completely bat shit cray-cray, bought all the books, and sadly, HP was cast aside for awhile. Remember, all this while, I still hated reading school stuff. It irritated me to no end that Rick Riordan and Neil Gaiman were being forced on me, when all I wanted to do was run back to the Cullen Clan. Sigh. Horrible times, those.

And then came college. I took up learning Commerce and I got busy. Crazy busy. All books were kept aside and for two years, I managed to read nothing but a few books that were a part of my rather pathetic English curriculum in College. And yet, in the summer of 2014, I found a way to reintroduce books into my life, when I gave a big Fuck You to accounting and book-keeping and took up studying what I really wanted to study—Law.

Law and Literature are helplessly intertwined and thank god for that. Blogging introduced me to the kind of books I would never willingly pick up for myself. Reading NA was never my thing, MG to me was only Harry Potter from years 1 - 4, and YA, what YA? But getting out of school and Junior College was probably the best thing that ever could happen for me, reading-wise. I still hate reading books that I have to, but hey. At least I’ve moved on from the stage where I’d come home, cry to my mother and tell her I had another book to read that wasn’t Harry Potter. *winks*

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Featured Blogger: Ally of The Scribbling Sprite

Today please welcome Ally, who blogs at The Scribbling Sprite.


What's the meaning behind the name of your book blog?

"The Scribbling Sprite" actually started out as a username for random sites. I dabbled in writing; I was interested in mythical creatures. So I thought, what better name? When I decided to start a book blog I still thought it was fitting. 

How long have you been blogging?

About nine months!

Tell us a bit about your book blog. What makes it unique?

I try to incorporate a variety of posts, such as reviews, tags, discussion posts, memes, etc.

I also focus a lot on interacting with my readers. I reply to all of my comments, and if commenters have their own blogs I try to pay back the favor and comment on theirs. My favorite part of blogging is definitely the community. :)

Also, I always include content warnings at the end of each review.

What genres do you write about most, and why?

I try to review a variety of genres incuding Young Adult and Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Mystery/Thrillers, and Christian Fiction.

I love these genres and more, but YA Fantasy seems to be what I read most often.

Every blogger feels pressure at some point. What's something you feel pressured to do or not do on your blog? How do you deal with it?

I constantly feel pressure to take the easy way out. Sometimes it's hard to be consistent with posting and I just want to throw together a post in just a few minutes and say, "I'm done!" But I push myself to come up with well thought out content. It eats up more time, but pays off in the end.

What's one book you think everyone should read?

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. It's so heart-wrenchingly beautiful and unique. I think it really redefines what "Happily Ever After" means.

Writing in books: Yes or hell to the no?

In library books? NO NO NO. Please do not!

In your own books? If you're not blotting out any words, I don't see why you shouldn't. I don't do this, but it might be kind of cool to reread a book and see all of your past comments.

What's your favorite place to read or blog?

I typically blog at my desk in my bedroom. I read....well....pretty much anywhere!

Is the evil empire? Discuss.

I don't think so. I enjoy shopping on Amazon. Especially for *cough* books.

A $0.01 book + $3.99 shipping = Cheap. And a full bookshelf for me.

Book shelfie time! Take a "shelfie" of your bookshelves and share it with us.

What have you learned from other bloggers or your readers?

I've learned how to have fun with my blog! When I first started all I could think was "how am I going to get people to read this?" When I DID get people to read my content it became less of a chore and more of an enjoyment. I learned to love interacting with other bloggers and my readers!

Do you judge a book by its cover, or its lover?

Its lover. I never decide to read a book solely based on its cover. But I'll carefully consider the opinion of a fellow blogger or reader I trust.

One book you like that no one else seems to, or vice versa?

I really enjoyed Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, despite its many negative reviews.

To DNF or not to DNF?

Not if I can help it. But if you're really not enjoying a book, why waste your time on it? There are too many GOOD books out there for you to be spending time on the ones you can't get into.

What's one book that intimidates you?

Les Miserables.

I've tried, and...haven't made it past the 14th page. :(

If you could go to any literary destination, where would you go?

I almost put Hogwarts, but alas, there would not be much fun in that for a non-magical muggle like me, unfortunately.

But I think it would be fascinating to visit the Inkworld (of Cornelia Funke's "Inkheart").

How about non-book related hobbies? What do you do when you don't feel like reading?

Don't feel like reading? What??

Hmm...I think I stated this above, but I dabble in writing fiction. I also enjoy drawing (mostly using pencil and charcoal) on occasion.

What's your favorite book to movie adaptation?

Oh, that's tough. But one of my favorites would have to be the Anne of Green Gables miniseries with Megan Follows.

What are 3 favorite posts or reviews you've read by other book bloggers?

"You Shouldn't Care That I Love My Kindle" by Heather
"And They Lived..." by Christine
"Opinion: Writers Deserve More Respect" by Brett

What is your reading personality? (via quiz at

The All-Rounder

Your responses showed you fitting into three different personalities:

Involved Reader: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others.

Exacting Reader: You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose.

Eclectic Reader: You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

I'd say this is accurate!


Thank you for joining us today, Ally! 
Remember to check out Ally's blog, The Scribbling Sprite
and leave a comment or question.

Monday, August 24, 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL: Books That Inspired My Love of Reading

Today I am excited to share with you a special guest, Jessica from Scrap Paper in honor of our Back to School month.  Please give her a warm welcome!


Back To School – Books That Inspired My Love of Reading 

I fell in love with reading from a very early age. I was always "that" child who had her nose stuck in a book. My passion for reading was inspired through my schooling years by a wide range of books. I have hand-picked six books that I feel became the cornerstones of my passion.

Primary School 

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams - This book is my earliest memory of a book making an impact on me. I was a cuddly toy collector and used to believe that they came alive at night. Reading a book that confirmed the realness of the toys I adored made me rejoice, and probably encouraged my cuddly toy obsession way past an acceptable age! As a little girl reading about the Velveteen Rabbit's journey towards realising what it means to 'be real', I don't think I truly understood its profoundness until I was much older.

A quote that sticks with me from the book is from the Skin Horse who says:
"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real."

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis - As well as believing that my cuddly toys came to life, I used to imagine that I was in another land/world. The imaginary land that I spent the most time in was definitely Narnia. I hoped and prayed that one day I would open my parent's wardrobe and Narnia would appear.

Middle School 

The Philosopher's Stone by J.K.Rowling - Everyone knows the boy who lived. I think anyone from my generation (90s) would say that this book defined our childhoods. Harry Potter was my age when I first started reading the books and to follow his journey as I myself was growing up, was an incredible experience. As Harry's thought darkened and the novels grew longer, my thoughts grew more profound and my stamina coped with the additional pages!

Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman - This book was when my love for the fantasy genre truly began. After reading His Dark Materials I permanently went to the fantasy section of W H Smiths, hungry for more. This book also unfortunately fuelled my imaginary friend obsession. I had a daemon follow me around for a couple of years ... I was quite a lonely child!

High School 

Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - I began reading Georgia Nicholson's series as I first discovered the opposite sex. Georgia's failings in attracting boys became my own and made me feel better about being a complete and utter loser in love.

Animal Farm by George Orwell - This book was the turning point in my GCSE choices. I vividly remember studying this book and thinking that I wanted to study books like it at University - fast forward to 2014 and I graduated with an English Literature degree. This book showed me the depths and layers of meaning that can be unearthed from the pages of a book.

The most famous quote from Animal Farm is 'All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others'. I would rephrase this sentence to 'All books are equal - but some are more equal than others.' In other words, there will always be "those" books that affect us more than others, it doesn't mean they are better than other books, it just means that they imprinted on our hearts and minds.