Happy summer reading! Our theme for Adult Summer Reading this year is "Share Your Story," and you can learn more about the challenges and prizes at our website. (The "Share Your Story" program is just for grown-ups -- if you're looking for summer reading for children or teens, that's a different page.) Sharing stories is how we connect to one another, and we need connection more than ever. I look forward to hearing your stories this summer!
If you're taking part in the adult summer reading challenge, one of the many ways you can participate is by recommending a book you loved to a friend. That can be as easy as saying, "Hey, I read this great book the other day!" at dinner or texting your best friend the book's title followed by seventeen exclamation marks. But if you're thinking about reaching a bigger audience, there are a few easy ways to support a book you love online, and I'm here to show you how.
First of all, did you know that you can rate and comment on a book right in the BPL's catalog? You don't have to have checked the book out from us (of course we'd love it if you did). If you scroll past the publication information on any item in our catalog, you'll find the Community Activity section. Go ahead and leave a comment telling everyone who looks at the record what you loved about your book! If you're not feeling eloquent, you can also give the book a rating (out of five stars) right below the title. Here's an example of where to click using one of my favorites, Paladin of Souls -- you can scroll further down in the record and try to find my comment, too.
The comments you leave on our catalog are visible to patrons from any library that uses the same platform (Bibliocommons), not just BPL library users, but maybe you want to branch out to an even larger audience. There are a number of social media sites dedicated to books and reading, but by far the biggest one is Goodreads. If you want to review a book online or find out what other people thought about it, Goodreads is the place to start! You can even like or comment on other people's reviews and start a conversation. I'm a huge fan of Goodreads and their yearly Reading Challenge. It helps me a lot to keep track of what I'm reading and if I write my thoughts down as soon as I finish a book, I'm much more likely to remember them later. (You can watch a tutorial on using Goodreads here if you need help getting started.) If you really loved a book and want to help the author sell more copies, you can also leave a comment on the book on Amazon. You don't have buy the book from Amazon in order to write a customer review, and your opinions might help someone decide whether they want to buy the book.
Of course, you don't have to go to a website that's all about books in order to talk about them! Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube all have thriving communities of book lovers. Instagram (a site where all posts are images, with or without captions) is probably the easiest to get started on; just take a photo of the book you're reviewing and make sure to tag it with the hashtag #bookstagram! Youtube and Twitter have #booktube and #booktwitter, too.
Much more important than where and how you talk about books, of course, is having something to say! Think about your favorite book. What would you tell someone about it to make them understand what makes it great? Now get out there and be the champion that book deserves!