Do You Know What is On Your Bookshelf?


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When I attend a genealogy conference, I never pass up the book vendors in the exhibit hall. I am always fascinated by their offerings. As well, a presenter has probably mentioned a book “you must have”.

There are books on my shelves that I use daily; Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills is open near my right hand as I am writing this. Mastering Genealogical Documentation by Thomas Jones and Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills probably tie for second-most used books. They are where I can reach them without moving from my computer chair.

There are other genealogy books that I refer to only occasionally when I need a specific piece of information. Understanding Colonial Handwriting by Harriet Stryker-Rodda is one of those.


I do not want to purchase a duplicate. I could use a spreadsheet, but sometimes that gets messy. When Marilyn Schunke took over responsibility for the South King County Genealogical Society’s library several years ago, she researched several library apps and recommended

LIBIB.COM is a library management service for home and small organizational libraries. They offer two plans; Standard for $0 per month and Libib Pro for $9 per month or $99 per year. Libib Standard allows users to catalog up to 5000 items and have up to 100 libraries.

I prune my books ruthlessly, so I will never have 5000 (or even 500) books. I only need two libraries, books and CDs, so the Standard plan suits my needs. I also love the price, $0 per month.


The Libib app is easy to use. When I add a book to my collection, I simply scan the ISBN/UPC code with my phone or iPad and the title, author, and cover art are automatically imported into the app. If I were so inclined, I could add when I acquired the book or CD and the price. It syncs between all the devices upon which I have it installed. The only time I have ever had a problem was with a book I purchased in Turkey. I had to add the UPC code manually. If you have very old books, there is a provision for adding them as well. As with most apps, there are features I will never use such as publishing my library for everyone to view.


The Society uses the Standard Plan. Our collections are housed in two places, the Kent Family History Center and the Auburn branch of the King County Library System. The books housed at the Family History Center are primarily reference books that for one reason or another are not appropriate for the KCLS collection. Those books are cataloged on our website. If you need to refer to one of them, you will be able to do that during any of the hours the FHC is open (when they reopen).


The books held at the Auburn Library are classified as Reference Books and are cataloged by KCLS. If you need to refer to one of them or one of the books in the Genealogy Collection at the Bellevue Branch of the KCLS, and those locations are not convenient for you, you may borrow them for in-library use within the King County Library System (once again, when they reopen). For example, if you are in Algona, you could request a book from the genealogy collections at Auburn or Bellevue and have it sent to Algona. I have borrowed a book from Bellevue, had it sent to Covington, and used it there. It was very efficient and much easier than driving to Bellevue from Kent.


Cataloging your genealogy books for quick and easy retrieval is just one more step in becoming a better-organized genealogist. Who knows, you may discover something you have forgotten you have.

For more information see Cegielsi, Carla S., “Keeping Track of Genealogy Books,” NGS Magazine (July-September 2020) 56-59.

If you are inspired to add a book to your library, the Society has ONE copy left. When it is sold there may never be another one available.

To download the Order Form, go to

Happy Reading!

Barbara Mattoon


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