Thursday, January 7, 2016

Reading resolutions for 2016

If your New Year's resolutions include reading more books in 2016, your library can help make that happen. Whether you want to fill your nightstand with cozy mysteries, heart-pounding thrillers, scholarly biographies, or business manifestos, there are great free tools out there for you.
Dog wearing glasses reading a book
Resolved to read more this year? Get recommendations, read reviews, and download e-books from your library.

NoveList: All Alaskans have access to NoveList, a popular database for finding books based on genre, mood, setting, and many more options. I like to use NoveList before I travel to find books that take place in that locale. Last summer I visited Newfoundland, and enjoyed reading The Shipping News by Annie Proulx and Sweetland by Michael Crummey, which I discovered on NoveList. As the database's name suggests, its focus is on fiction.

Goodreads: Last week, people were chatting about how they did on their 2015 Goodreads Challenge, where users set reading goals for the year, ranging from reading a handful of books to hundreds. This year's challenge is off and running. With a free Goodreads account, you can track the books you read, connect with friends, and find new books based on your reading preferences. It's like a social network for readers. And it'll help you keep track of which Jack Reacher novels you've already read.

E-books and audiobooks: I'll be honest - I was a late convert to e-books and audiobooks, but having books with me wherever I go has increased my reading. Waiting in line at the DMV? Read an e-book. Washing dishes? Listen to an audiobook. If you have a library card from one of the dozens of participating libraries on Alaska Digital Library (formerly ListenAlaska Plus), you can get e-books and audiobooks on your computer or device. If you live in a community with no public library, you can access Alaska Digital Library with a card from statewide mail services.
A busy DMV lobby filled with people waiting.
E-books and audiobooks can make a long wait at the DMV go faster. Photo: Gabriel White via Flickr, CC-BY-SA.

Review alerts: Since I work at the Alaska State Library, staying up-to-date with Alaskana helps me do my job. One tool I find really handy is an information alert that sends me an email whenever a book review that references Alaska or the Arctic is added to the EBSCO databases. If you'd like to create an alert like this on any topic, you can contact us for assistance.

Ask us! When people find out I'm a librarian, they assume that I spend all day reading books, usually while sipping tea and petting a cat. In reality, my professional life is filled with research requests, databases, and programming planning. But I enjoy reading and talking about books, and most of my colleagues do too. So ask your favorite librarian to recommend some titles for you!
Artwork of a woman with two cats drinking tea and reading a book.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not my job. But I can recommend a book for you to enjoy while drinking tea and petting your cats! Image by Valeriane Duvivier.

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