I have this dream. To be honest I haven’t done a second of homework to determine if I can make this dream happen. I know what I need to do. I know what I want to do. Here’s the deal: I have this silly book challenge. In my lifetime I want to read every book recommended by Nancy Pearl in both her books Book Lust and More Book Lust. I think that equates to just over 4,000 books, give or take a few. I have this elaborate system for keeping track of what and when I’ve read something. I even track what I will read in the future. Needless to say, this is a time consuming venture and it does me well to read on vacation. My most common vaca destination is Monhegan Island and while I love going home I hate lugging books out there. At $2 a bag on the ferry it would behoove me to find out what “Lust books” are in Monhegan’s library before I go. Not only would I support the library by generating circulation (and keeping my membership current), but I would be saving room in my bag for something else (like rocks).
Here’s the problem. Monhegan’s library is not online. They do not have an electronic catalog or even a webpage to speak of. I couldn’t search their collection from Massachusetts if I tried. That makes any kind of preparation sort of difficult.
Here’s my birdbrain solution: create a membership with LibraryThing and catalog Monhegan’s library collection. I would donate the lifetime membership fee and my time to catalog the entire collection. Here’s the plug for LibraryThing: they are awesome. My personal “library” such as it is, is well organized, completely searchable and open for anyone to view. I could do the same for my island library. I would make tags minimal, adding only the basics: author, genre, and if it was a gift (if I know that info). I wouldn’t bother with all the crazy tags I simply must have for my own collection. The biggest drawback to this “catalog” would be that a patron couldn’t see what is currently checked out or lost. But, the collection is so small one would just need to go to the spot on the shelf and see that it is (or isn’t) there.
This project would take me a while. Between my other lives, this would have to live somewhere on the side, getting to it when I could. I wouldn’t make the collection public until I was completely finished and everyone involved would understand this is a volunteer project – completely out of pocket (mine) – and therefore, can’t have deadlines or even an expected date of completion.
But. But! But, in the end…ahhh, in the end I would have a completely searchable Monhegan library catalog. I could sit in Massachusetts, search for 3-4 books from my list then decide what to read based on what was available while on vacation. Yes, I admit this is a 80% selfish all-about-me project, but I have to believe someone else out there might find this interesting, or maybe even a little useful.
For now I dream. When do I dare make it a reality by at least making an offer?