Here’s help finding your next favorite book

I have loved reading since I was a small child. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of visiting the Bartholomew County Public Library to check out another Curious George or Clifford the Big Red Dog book.

I loved looking at all the picture books on the shelves and picking out some to take home. As I grew, my choices included Nancy Drew mysteries and Judy Blume titles. Now my favorite author is Stephen King, the master of horror. While I still enjoy browsing the shelves for my next favorite book, I am a busy mom with a limited amount of free time.

Fortunately, I can enjoy the online resources Bartholomew County Public Library has to offer to make reading selections from home.

New Book Alerts, Author Check and SelectReads are integrated websites provided by DearReader, a reader’s advisory resource designed for public libraries. New Book Alerts is an online service which showcases the newest purchases by the library including newly released books, audio books, DVDs and music CDs and any older items that have been purchased in the past month.

Library patrons can view new purchases by format or genre, check availability with the catalog link, log in to your library card account and place items you are interested in on hold. Patrons may also choose to receive a customizable monthly email newsletter by selecting from 40 categories of material.

If you find that you enjoy monthly newsletters featuring newly purchased items, Author Check and SelectReads allow you to further customize your reading recommendations from the library. Author Check is a website which enables you to create a list of your favorite authors that are currently available from the library.

Today’s top-selling authors are featured in the Spotlight Collection or you can search for an author by name or genre, including non-fiction categories. By creating a list, you will receive email notifications of new releases by your favorite author and view the library’s holdings for that author. Like New Book Alerts, you can check the catalog for availability and place a hold on the books you are interested in.

Similarly, Select Reads is another site where you can create a customizable newsletter. Monthly selections of library holdings can be viewed on the website or emailed to you in the categories you choose. These selections are not limited to new purchases and offer a broad selection of materials at the library.

Another library resource you may have heard of is NoveList, a database of fiction reading recommendations. Your library now offers NoveList Plus, which features non-fiction recommendations as well as fiction. NoveList Plus makes it easy to find titles in a series and “read-alikes” you might enjoy.

NoveList Plus also features professional reviews from Kirkus, Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly and reader reviews. Students, parents and teachers will all appreciate book lists of award winners such as Newbery and Caldecott Medals or links to lists such as ALA Notable Children’s Books. There is even a link for popular books now made into movies.

With all these online resources, finding a book at the library has never been easier. And even though I haven’t made it through the latest Stephen King, I’m still looking for my next favorite book. Visit to get started finding your next favorite book.

Sandy Allman is a reference assistant at the Bartholomew County Public Library and can be reached at