Despite the difficulties my district filter has with logging on Shelfari, I found it absolutely wonderful to bring a virtual classroom library to life. Shelfari is a social network centered around books. It allows you to add books to your virtual bookshelf, post your own reviews, and rate the books. You can share your favorite books or wish list books with friends or read their reviews of books on Shelfari (social networking part). Now I like the widget part that places a realistic-looking bookshelf on your blog, wiki, website, whatever with your books for others to browse, read your reviews, etc. You can even buy the book if you like it.
There is another website , LibraryThing.com, that does something similar. I have used it as a collection of books I have read my children over the years. I use it as my own personal library, but visually it is not as appealing. .
Teachers have always had classroom libraries. The students organize the books in their library to take ownership. You know the story! Oh, and there may even be a checkout system, book review system, and even book talks organized by the teacher to let others know about the books the class is reading. That is it! It is stuck in that classroom, held captive to only a small audience with minimal room to grow. With Shelfari, the classroom library can still be there, but with Shelfari, the students can take their classroom library and share it with the world. Not only will they be able to see what books are actually in their classroom library, they can create a review or a synopsis of a book, but read others thoughts and learn what other books other classrooms love to read. Who knows, maybe this sharing will allow students to create and collaborate with students in other physical locations. Why not? Who reads a book and then doesn’t want to share their thoughts about it with others? It is in our nature to do this. Let’s give the students these tools. I want to know what you are reading so I can learn!