This week I tried both Library Thing and Shelfari! (Thanks to Frenzied Media for letting me know about Shelfari!) I'd just discovered Goodreads, too.
Library Thing & Shelfari are great ways to make lists of books and show what you are reading, have read etc. After trying both sites out, I like Shelfari better. Shelfari is a fun tool that allows you to make lists of books--what you've read, what you own, what you're currently reading, what you want to read or your favorites. But it's not a just a list. You select the title and it's a book cover that gets added to your shelf. A visual representation of what you are reading. It also has a widget option that allows you to post your Shelfari shelf to a blog or other webpage. If you view the actual blog (not in an RSS reader or email :) ) you can see my shelf. I haven't had time to actually add reviews to any. But it's fun. I decided to just do a "What I'm reading" shelf on the blog here, that way, I can blog about what I've finished reading in a blog entry. (Should the spirit move me, that is.)
Library Thing is much the same, however, the cataloging is much more in depth than Shelfari. Here's what it looks like:I think this is great, but the librarian in me isn't much of a cataloger. I don't need this much information. I am quite a Type A, but that person inside me doesn't need to catalog all of my books at home or make a list of everything I personally own. From what I can tell, Library Thing seems to have a more vast selection of books (with cover images) than Shelfari. It seemed that I had several from Shelfari that did not have cover images. Both LT and S allow you to make "friends" and see what they are reading and tag your books for easy finding. Another reason I like Shelfari better right now, I already had friends signed up for it. :) I also liked the widget better in Shelfari. Rather than just show a "random" selection from my shelves like the LT widget does, S lets me pick which list to share. I like that better, too.
I think that using either tool in a library setting could be useful. Rather than make handouts (brochures, lists of what to read or if you like this or that), a library could tag books that are similar. The hardest part of this is getting patrons to use the site. There are also databases (What to Read Next, NoveList) that allow patrons help in finding materials, too. I'm not sure which site would be better, but for making lists and sharing the tags, LT would be easier to use and offers a bit more flexibility. However, the widget from S, looks a bit more fun and clever on a webpage as an extension of what someone is reading (maybe what this or that librarian is reading) or or what the top checkouts are for that week?
All in all, both are fun tools!