Friday, July 7, 2017

7 Useful RA Websites

With summer reading in full swing, chances are you're going to get a lot of requests for book recommendations. What to do when your patrons have already read your usual suggestions? Thankfully, there are many great RA websites out there to help you find new titles. Sure, you can direct patrons to these websites, but why give our best secrets away? ;-)

(Actually, not all of the recommendations were dead on perfect, so it does help to have a librarian preview the list first. These websites and your RA knowledge makes the perfect combination!)


Many librarians have an account on Goodreads to keep track of their own reading. However, it can be very useful when you are trying to get more reviews on a book. I have found some really great reads (and recommendations) just by following the top reviewers (who do a SPLENDID job of describing the book and it's strengths/weaknesses). Kat also wrote a great article with lots of librarian tips to get the most out of Goodreads. (LibraryThing is also very similar to Goodreads and can be used the same way.)


BookBrowse focuses on books published within the last 15 years. If you are looking for a popular readalike, you will find many ideas here. They also have a section on book club recommendations (and discussion guides!) and feature new books they really liked.


Whichbook is a fun website to find new recommendations. They have a slider on the left with a variety of factors that you can adjust to customize your results. They also provide book lists.

Fantastic Fiction

One of our favorite websites is Fantastic Fiction. They have a list of coming soon, new books, and new authors. This is also our go-to resource when we're trying to figure out the order of books in a series (it is clearly stated and they include ebook novellas!). They also post publication dates and when books are republished as a paperback.

Literature Map

Literature Map is a fascinating resource. Instead of listing out similar authors, they give you an interactive word cloud. The closer the names are to your author, the more similar they are. You will need to look up their books elsewhere, though, since this is only a map of names.

What Should I Read Next?

What Should I Read Next? allows you to add in an author or book and they'll bring back specific titles. What's really neat about them is that they provide the subject headings below each title so you know exactly why that book was recommended.


NoveList is the ultimate reader's advisory database. It isn't free, however many libraries and consortiums subscribe to it. Check to see if yours do (that includes the library you work in, the library you live next to, and perhaps your state library, if they give all residents a card). Kat did a three part write-up about how awesome NoveList is for librarians. Check the first one out here!

Bonus Pro Tip:

Many library catalogs are connected to Goodreads, LibraryThing or NoveList to provide additional information and recommendations. If your catalog does not, check your surrounding library networks to see if they offer this service. When doing RA, use their catalog instead to utilize these useful tools! (For example, C/W MARS is connected to NoveList, so below each title is the list of books in the series and recommendations based on titles, authors, and other series. You can't click on the title for more info without an account to NoveList, but you'll get a good start. They also include what awards the book has won and full text reviews.)

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