Adding to your summer reading? Try a favorite tool of librarians

By Kathryn Johnson

Many people have already compiled and started digging into their summer reading list. Whether it was a list that was published in a magazine, recommendations from friends or books you have flagged in your Good Reads account, there are many ways to put together a list of good books to read any time of year. If you haven’t had a chance to uncover some good titles to indulge in yet, I suggest looking at one of my favorite tools, a free resource available from the library entitled NoveList Plus.

novelistplus_logoNoveList Plus can be somewhat overwhelming in the amount of features it has. One of my favorite uses is to look for books in a given genre by using the “I’m in the mood for books that are…” feature on the home page. If I feel like reading something that’s upbeat and conversational or intense and suspenseful, all I have to do is click on the tab for books that fall in that category. NoveList Plus makes it easy to get a better sense of each title by including a summary and, many times, professional reviews. I have found many gems thanks to this feature.

Another wonderful aspect of this resource is the ease it provides for exploring a genre that is new to you. As a librarian, it is important to be familiar with titles from a variety of genres. I have often relied on NoveList Plus for recommendations for good titles that fall in the categories such as horror or Westerns so that I am sure I am reading a good representation of the genre. The great thing is that NoveList links to the library’s catalog so when you are viewing a title, you can easily check to see where it is in our system.

Outside of the library, access to this amazing tool only requires the internet and a library card. From the San Diego Public Library’s homepage,, simply scroll down to the “I Want to…” option in the middle of the page. Using the dropdown menu, select “Search Articles and Databases…” Once you select the “Books and Literature” button on the left side of the page, the NoveList monitor will appear. As a regular user of this resource I feel I should caution you to ensure that you have plenty of time on your hands as it is very easy to get lost in this book lover’s oasis. In fact, if you do get a chance to explore NoveList Plus, please let us know what you think when you stop in. All patrons that mention “NoveList Plus” will receive a small prize.

—Kathryn Johnson is managing librarian of the Allied Gardens Benjamin Branch library. Reach her at


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