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This is the third installment in the Sarah’s Online Reference Warehouse series. The first two installments (Real Estate Sites and Vegan Resources) are still available, of course.

This list is of my favorite online readers advisory tools, a subject area request I get often from my fellow library staff.   This a little bit longer than some lists, because there’s just too much out there that is worth looking at and I don’t want to deprive anyone of any of this wonderfulness.  Enjoy!

Sarah’s Favorite Online Readers Advisory Tools

  • – One of the first free, online readers advisory tools, no list of this nature would be complete without AllReaders.  Search by what you’re interested in – title, author, plot, setting, character, adversaries, setting, style, etc.  The guided searching offers thousands of permutations and options and gets very specific (and largely user-loved) results.  You have to try this to believe it.
  • Bettendorf Public Library’s Young Adult Books in Series and Sequels – Teen series & sequels browseable by author and series title or searchable by author, series title, or book title.
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Picture Book Index – Browse picture books by subject (they get really, really detailed).  Great for finding a list of books about “X” for that kid who seems to think he’s read everything (oh yeah, and that kid’s parents).
  • Database of Award Winning Children’s Literature – Created and maintained by fellow-California librarian Lisa Bartle, DAWCL is searchable by 13 different fields including reader’s age, historical period, setting, genre, format, and more.  Resulting lists of award-winners are a great place to get young readers started.
  • Downer’s Grove Public Library Author Read-Alikes – The author read-alike feature of the subscription database NoveList is one of its most popular features.  Here’s a very respectable list of some of the most popular authors for whom people request read-alikes, with a half-dozen recommendations (or more) for each author.
  • Fantastic Fiction – Browse for authors or series names, or search for authors or titles to get some pretty comprehensive bibliographies, cover shots, book descriptions, and more (like information on various editions).  Great for those looking for quick and comprehensive book information for their favorite authors.  The site also includes award information and new U.S. releases in hardback, paperback, and audio.
    – Half-free, half-commercial site operated by the Riviera Group.  The free parts of the site offers a huge list of book lists (200,000+ titles, which you can browse by genre or search) as well as a access to series and sequels lists (only by author’s last name though, which is useless in multi-author series).  Still, worth a look.
  • FictionFinder (beta) – This prototype from OCLC lets you search or browse by genre, subject, imaginary place or setting (how cool is that?), or fictional character (equally cool), including through a tag-cloud interface with popular folksonomies.  More specific is better here, as this is a huge database (immigrants returns nearly 700 hits).  Each record has extensive information about reading level, genres, characters, settings, etc.
  • Gnooks – My students either love this or hate it.  For recommendations you can try either Gnod’s Suggestions (supply it with 3 authors you like, and it will start suggesting other similar authors) or the Map of Literature (supply it with 1 author you like, and it will provide a seizure-inducing ever-moving visual map of authors).
  • Guys Read – A wonderfully fun and interactive site from guys-reading-guru Jon Scieszka that lets you search or browse for recommendations for adults in general or “young, middle, and older” guys.
  • Internet Speculative Fiction Database – The center for all things science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  Search by author, title, series, and more to get some serious information.  Author pages include complete bibliographies (including collections they took part in), series information, links to various official and unofficial web resources, and more.  The site also offers an extensive list of award winners.
  • IRead Wiki – This is the Iowa librarians’ Readers’ Advisory wiki with lists organized by audience, genre, subject, and more.  This site started out really small and is now quite impressive.
  • Kent District Library What’s Next?: Books in a Series – Just what it sounds like, this long-standing index offers adult and youth series lists in a number of different genres that you can search or browse.
  • Librarian’s Book Revoogle – From librarian Rick Roche, this custom Google search targets book reviews on library and librarian websites.  The site also includes the Librarian’s Booklist Search that searches, yes, library and librarian-generated booklists.
  • LibraryThing – This list would not be complete without this user-generated behemoth of a site.  Get “similar books” recommendations based on your own favorites.  By the by, if you haven’t signed up for LibraryThing’s “Early Reviewers”, consider it.  You get free copies of advanced publications for reviewing purposes…something you might like doing anyway!
  • Los Angeles Public Library’s Series & Sequels Index – Adult series & sequels database searchable by author, title, series title, or characters.
  • Mid-Continent Public Library’s Juvenile Series and Sequels – Children’s and teen series & sequels database with over 24,000 entries, covering birth through grade 12, and sortable by series title or subject -or- book title or author.
  • Monroe County Public Library’s Children’s Books in a Series – Children’s series & sequels browseable by author’s last name.
  • Monster Librarian – Horror fiction recommendations for kids, teens, and adults arranged by sub-genre and series.
  • No Flying, No Tights (and its affiliates) – The original graphic novel review site for teens, with partner sites Sidekicks (graphic novels for kids) and The Lair (graphic novels for adults & teens).  Recommended graphic novel lists abound, by sub-genre.
  • Overbooked – A labor of love from the Collection Management Administrator at the Chesterfield County (VA) Public Library, this site offers a substantial number of high-quality annotated lists of fiction, nonfiction, and mystery books.
  • Stop, You’re Killing Me! – Mystery, crime, thriller, spy, and suspense books chronologically listed by authors (over 2,500 discrete authors), including series.  Browseable by author name, character name, genre, location or period of story, or the lead character’s ethnicity or job.  Oh yes, and they have a substantive list of read-alikes too.  Nirvana for mystery lovers.  Truly.
  • Storycode (beta) – Read and review books yourself, or get recommendations based on what others have reviewed and liked (similar to LibraryThing’s model).   Find a book you like and click on “Get Recommendations” to get a list of  dozens of recommendations of similar titles, based on relevancy, including information about the readability, recommended age, and average rating.
  • What Should I Read Next? – Search for a book you know you like and get recommendations based on other readers’ similar preferences.  You have to register for an account to get the “full” list of results, though often the partial list is enough to address a user inquiry.
  • – Slide a number of visual sliders, from happy to sad and unexpected to predictable to tell the site what you like.  You can also choose factors specific to characters, plot, and setting.  The resulting recommendation lists can vary from 2-200 books, depending on how specific you got!  An innovative way to think about reading preferences.

“Sarah’s Online Reference Warehouse: Readers Advisory”

  1. Sachin Says:

    I normally use, but you have given so many wonderful choices…thanks

  2. Jaime/Talking Books Librarian Says:

    This is a great Readers’ Advisory list! Thanks for sharing it – I’ve already bookmarked it in Delicious! :)

  3. Maggie Baxter Says:

    I work in the Digital Services department at CML. So glad that our picture book index made it onto your list! We are actually working on integrating this (and some of our other “homegrown” indexes) into our new catalog to make for more of a “one-stop-shop” experience for our customers. In related news, we are also working on a Kids Catalog!

  4. Tamara Murray Says:

    We have done something similar to CML’s collection with our Youth Collection, browseable @

    Our lists are dynamic with our catalog, which patrons and staff find useful. They are also easier to update and easier to sort.

    One reader’s advisory tool I’ve fallen in love with is GoodReads. Westerville has an account; check it out at

  5. Sara Martin Says:

    What about Reading Rants? ( I discovered this site while working on my MLIS and have been a fan ever since.

  6. Karyn Says:

    Great list! Like the Westerville Library, I also love GoodReads.

  7. Marsha Says:

    It would have been very helpful to have the actual url’s listed. I found this to be a GREAT list just needs the actual website written out to make it complete. Thanks for the information, I’m sure I will be able to use it over and over again.

  8. Sarah Houghton-Jan (LiB) Says:

    Marsha, I’m sorry that my list did not meet your expectations. This is an online resource – a blog post. If you want to print it out and access it that way, of course that’s fine by me. But online lists utilize hyperlinks. You’re welcome to add that yourself if you find it more usable, but again – I’m blogging online (hmm, that’s somewhat repetitive) which is why it’s formatted the way it is.

  9. Supernetuser Says:

    This entire blog post has made my day. I love the list. I’m a writer so I need something like this. What a fabulous resource, thank you!

  10. Janet Says:

    You rock! This is an awesome blog. Thank you so much for locating all these wonderful sites. I passed this on to all the Language Arts teachers in our district. Keep blogs like this coming!

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