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Getting to know the catalog: Shelves and lists

The new catalog offers two ways to keep track of books and other items you’re interested in: shelves and lists.

Shelves

The idea of shelves may be familiar if you’ve used Goodreads or something similar. The shelves in the catalog are an optional tool to let you keep track of your own reading if you want to. They’re called For Later, In Progress, and Completed – For Later is basically a wishlist, and In Progress and Completed are for items you’re reading now or have already read. The shelves offer some nice options to help manage your reading. For instance, the For Later shelf has a button to check and see which items from your shelf are currently available to check out.

Before you start using the shelves, go in and check your privacy settings, found on the account menu under “My Settings.” Unlike holds and checkouts (which are never shared), shelf activity defaults to public unless you set it to private. You can set privacy preferences for both your shelf content and your activity feed (which includes any ratings or reviews you add).

An important thing to know about the shelves is that they don’t have any impact on the checkout system. Adding a book to your For Later shelf doesn’t request it for checkout – only placing a hold does that. And on the flipside, checking out a book will not move it from For Later to In Progress or Completed. Managing the shelves is a totally manual process. It’s also totally optional; the shelves are there if you want them, but you can place holds and check out items without ever using the shelves.

If you do want to use the shelves, you can add items using the button right above or below (depending on which page you’re on) the Place a Hold button. On most pages, the shelves button will default to For Later. Click that to add the item, or click the little arrow to see the other options:

Book details - For Later button is under the hold button, with the options to switch to In Progress or Complete shown

If an item is already on your shelves, you’ll see the same button, but with a check mark added to it like this, and an editing gear instead of the arrow:

Close-up of For Later button, with a blue check mark added to the book stack icon

Once you’ve got items on your For Later shelf, you can visit them by going in the account menu to My Collections > For Later Shelf.

You can move an item from one shelf to another or remove it altogether. You’ll see different buttons for that depending on which page you’re on: if you’re looking at the For Later shelf itself, you’ll see one that says Manage Item, or if you’re looking at your checkouts list or search results or other places, you can use the For Later button. In either case, clicking the button will get you a similar set of options:

Manage Item button expanded, with options to move to a different shelf, remove, and keep private

If you want to move the item to another shelf, click that shelf’s name. If you want to remove it altogether instead, click Remove from Shelves.

Lists

If you prefer to keep multiple different reading lists, want to share your lists with others, or generally need something a little different than what the shelves offer, then the list tool may be what you need. You can create as many lists as you like, add items, and give them a description.

When you’re saving a list, you can choose to make it public or private, but a lot of the list functionality is based on the idea that they can be a shareable document. There’s a minimum of 4 items before you can publish a list and a maximum of 100 items per list. Every time you make a change, like adding or removing items, your list will show up in your account as an unsaved draft. To resolve that, click Edit, then re-publish the list.

List dashboard, with two drafts and a published list with unpublished changes

You can either add items to a list from the list edit view, or else do a regular search and then add an item from its details page. For that, click on the item title, then look down under the Explore Further section on the right. Next to the Listed header, click the Add button – that will let you choose an existing list to put it on, or start a new one if you want:

Explore Further section, with the add to list options activated

Imported lists

If you imported a list from the old catalog, it got created using the list feature in the new catalog. But if the For Later shelf works for your needs, you may want to move over to that instead – the way it works is a little more logical if you’re just trying to keep a reading list and not get too fancy with it. If you want to do that, then go to your list, and for each item, look for the little books-on-shelf icon over at the right. Click that, and the item gets added to your For Later shelf, at which point the icon will show with a checkmark over it:

List with item that's just been added to the For Later shelf

More about the catalog

Getting started

Holds and checkouts

Setting a preferred location

Hoopla

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