What it is:

Goodreads is an online community for readers.  Members have virtual bookshelves where they can add books they have read, are currently reading, and would like to read in the future.  They can review these books, discover new books, give and receive recommendations, and connect with other members through friend lists, groups, and book clubs.  As many authors also have profiles, members can keep up with their favorite authors.

First launched in 2007, Goodreads has grown substantially since its early days.  By its own current estimation there are 7,200,000 members who have “shelved” 260,000,000 books, making it the largest of this type of site in the world.

How it works:

Goodreads offers a tour of its site for new users.  Take this tour to learn more about the features they offer.

For more information, here is a two part video covering many of the features on Goodreads.

videos created by thebuss25

Why it’s useful:

Goodreads creator Otis Chandler has said that his inspiration for creating the site was to have digital version of the ability to scan a friend’s bookshelf and find out what he thought of a particular book.  It gives readers the chance to discover new books and share their favorites with their friends without having to actually stand in front of their physical bookshelves and ask them about it.

For libraries, Goodreads can offer something similar to a recommendation list or Reader’s Advisory.  Libraries could create shelves targeted towards particular user groups, hobbies, holidays, or a myriad of other classifications their patrons might be interested in.  They could create online book clubs and groups, add events, and connect with patrons in a different way than they’ve been able to in the past.  For more ideas, check out the More to Explore section.


#1 Sign up for an account at

  • You have two options for registering.  You can connect automatically through Google or Facebook OR you can enter your information in the fields.
  • The next 3 steps it will guide you through are optional.  You may complete them if you wish.  It’s not required that you do this, but they will help personalize your experience through recommendations and the adding of friends.
  • Once your account has been created, you can also enter as much or as little of your information in your profile as you’d like.  To reach your profile, click on the picture in the top left and select “edit profile.”  Under your profile area you will also find the options for changing privacy settings, email notifications, feed settings, and other settings.

#2 Add books and shelves

  • Search for a book you have read in the search box at the top.
  • Add that book to your bookshelf by clicking on the “add to my books” link and selecting “read.”
  • Rate the book, provide a short review, and then save it.  If you remember the date you read it, you can add that, too.
  • You will be able to view this book and the link to your review on your “My Books” page.
  • Create a new shelf by going to the “add shelf” link on your “My Books” page.  Name the shelf whatever you would like.
  • Add the book to that shelf using the edit feature under the shelves column in your book list.  You will notice that you can also add new shelves using this feature.

#3 Explore the site

  • Explore at least one other site feature of your own choosing.  Some options include adding friends, adding a widget to your blog, joining a discussion group, or answering trivia questions.
  • Share what site feature you chose when you blog about the experience.


Write a post on your blog about your experience with Goodreads.  Share a link to your profile if you’d like.  Discuss the features you chose to explore.  Do you think Goodreads would be useful for your library?  If so, how?

More to Explore (Optional):

For more reading on Goodreads, check out these links.

Goodreads Partners with EBSCO: Reader Reviews Now Available to Libraries

Goodreads for Public Libraries

Offline Readers Meet in Online Community

For examples of what other libraries have done with Goodreads, check out these profiles and groups.

Dorsch and Navarre Branch Libraries Profile

Soup for the Soul Book Club

Manchester District Library Group

Salt Lake County Library Services Group

Though the largest, Goodreads isn’t the only website of its type. Here are a few others that you can explore:



We Read


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