A frequent question here at the library is whether or not we can give patrons a list of books that they previously checked out. Unfortunately, at this time, the answer is no. Once you’ve returned an item, assuming you don’t have an unpaid fine, we don’t keep a record of you having checked it out. Ohio State law requires that your library records remain confidential, and this is one of the procedures in place to ensure that is so.
So, what is a reader to do? If you are voracious in your habits, you probably have a hard time remembering what you have and haven’t read. I can’t tell you how many times a patron has said something like, “I got through four chapters of this book before realizing I had already read it!” There are too many good books out there and your reading time is too precious to waste. If you’re not already, then it’s time to start keeping track of what you read. Not only will it help boost your memory, but a reading log will make it easier to recommend books to friends and family, and allow you to reminisce about past reads. After a few years of tracking your reading, you’ll find it interesting to go back and see what you were reading in the final year of college, or while pregnant, or on your Caribbean cruise.
More than ten years ago, I began tracking my reading by simply recording titles and authors in a notebook, breaking them down by month. I’ve seen many patrons take a similar approach. While I still maintain this paper list, as a backup I suppose, a few years ago I switched to a digital method. There are a handful of different websites and apps that let you track your reading. Two of the most popular are LibraryThing and Goodreads. Both let you track the books you own, the books you’ve read, and the books you would like to read. Both have social networking qualities that allow you to share book reviews, and meet other people reading the books you enjoy. I use Goodreads because it has a nice interface, is entirely free, and has apps for both iPhone and Android. If you’re new to the idea of maintaining a reading log, I urge you to try one of these sites. Book titles become a jumble as the years go by, and it’ll be a lot easier to remember the details of books you read when you have cover art, your own ratings and reviews, and access to the commentary of others.
And in case you are wondering about 1974… Art kicked the year off with Georges Lefebvre’s The Coming of the French Revolution, and wrapped it up with Clive: Inside the Record Business by Clive Davis, with another sixteen books read in between.