Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Booked out

Over the past 12 months I've been busy cataloging books for my local family history group. As a former librarian I am rather disappointed at the way so many groups have their Library catalogues/holdings lists locked away at their premises or online in documents that do not give much information about the books. Being able to prepare for visits to societies by perusing an online catalogue is such a boon for researchers.

When I became President of the Lake Macquarie Family History Group I decided to follow the lead of other groups such as Cooroy-Noosa and Cairns in Queensland who used the Librarything application to manage and share the resources at their societies online. Recently I have seen a number of other similar Groups join Librarything. I have been using Librarything  as my personal reading log and catalogue for fifteen years so was confident that it was a worthy solution for this task.

This project has taken way longer than I thought it would because Covid has prevented me from accessing the books in our library at a local community hall. As we can once again return to our Group's home in the hall I took Mr GeniAus and his muscles along to our last opening and we filled several boxes of books for me to bring home and catalogue. Being able to read and discover new old titles as I work has been an unexpected but delightful reward.

I'm thrilled to say that we now have over 2,000 titles catalogued on our Group's Librarything account that gives our members and other interested community members access to our collection from wherever and whenever they are. The best thing about Librarything is that it has a facility to download professionally catalogued records from a huge range of international libraries so professional cataloguing skills are not needed to create a good catalogue. One only has to add some extra information, like a category, shelf location or number, to these records for them to be relevant to the local collection. 

Lake Macquarie FHG Profile at Librarything

I spent a couple of hours this morning putting these catalogued books back into order so that they will easily slot back on the library shelves and now I am pooped but oh, so proud that I can see the finish line for this project in sight.

Our dining/book sorting table

With the assistance of our Group's Librarian, Linda, I can see the finish line in sight. It's been a marathon run but I am such a proud old librarian.


  1. Well done Jill, a big task, it's always nice to see those jobs finished. Ah! the satisfaction.

  2. Well done Jill. We had the advantage that all the books were already in an old Access database with a reasonable amount of ISBNs. so could be saved as a csv then uploaded in sections. We have an active group of 4 now refining the records and adding covers for the local folder content. We like the web interface at just over $100 per year for TinyCat Cooroy-Noosa Library
    I suggest to other groups if they have catalogues in PDFs with limited book information, to convert to a csv then add titles or isbns individually via the Add a book option.
    We are also experimenting with adding the listing of contents from some of our local folders so that the names within the folders can also be searched. e.g. a search for Bob Abbott a previous Mayor will show him in at least 3 folders of newspaper cuttings. Like everything else in the genealogy and family history field, there’s always more to do!

  3. Fantastic work Jill! What an achievement :)

  4. Thanks for your comments all and your valuable tips Carmel


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