Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How do I find books about…?

How do I find a book about……spider monkeys, pentominos, scuba diving, oil spills, Pokémon, award winning books? There is any number of topics that any one of us could want a book about. Or, better yet, there are books on topics we'd love for our kids to read about. How to find just the right book? Novelist is a great place to start looking.

Novelist is a reader's advisory database that allows users to look for book titles from many different angles: age of reader, titles of books, author of books, plot descriptions, non-fiction and fiction books. Better yet, once a book is found there is a way to find "books like these" or, "read-alikes" that will lead the searcher to new titles. Novelist is also a fun place to browse for: Award winning books, Recommended Reads for differing age levels, Author "read-a-likes". There are also book discussion questions, talks and extension activities to engage readers in a whole new level of reading. Novelist is a database maintained by EBSCO who offers subscriptions to libraries. If your public library has "e-sources" or databases for patrons to take advantage of, it likely has Novelist.

Give Novelist a try to find some new titles. Here's how:

If your library allows you to access its databases via internet, navigate to the main page of your library system and find the link that connects you to the databases. My local public library has a link on its main page titled "electronic resources". I can click on that and be taken to a list of dozens of databases that my library subscribes to.

If your library does not allow internet access, you will need to find the database on a computer in your library. Ask a librarian at the information desk to help you out. Librarians love databases—so much information all in one spot!

Once at the electronic resource page, find Novelist and click on it. You will likely need to enter your library barcode number and a possibly a password to enter the database. Once in the database, it is easy to find the search bar and the categories of searches you would like. Novelist also connects to your library's electronic card catalog to let you know if the books you have found there are available at your library.

Recently, my friend Sandy asked me about "best friend" books for her daughter. I don't know too many of this type of book off the top of my head to recommend….but Novelist presented me with a list of over 5,000 "best friend" titles for older kids and teens. Her daughter could browse this list and pick out some interesting books to read over the summer. If she finds a book she enjoys she can also use the "find books like these" finder of Novelist to find more books.

Give Novelist a try and let me know how it works for you.

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