What are you observing in your library about books and reading?
It's cyclical. That's what I see. In the summer, the adults don't read as much as they do during the winter, but kids and teens read more (for fun). It's the opposite during the school year. Our library is more of a fiction-based library, not so much a non-fiction one, so that also might contribute to the trends.
We've noticed an increase in library usage since the economy has faltered, which is a mixed blessing. The increased library usage is great, the reason for it, not so much.
Do you think these Book 2.0 tools hamper or enhance one's reading experience?
Depends. The Book 2.0 tools are really useful, but only if they're being used. I use them for various things, such as reader's advisory, or trying to figure out how series go. I'm not sure how many of our patrons use the tools on a regular basis, if at all. I know of the 3 of us that work at the library, I'm the most likely to utilize Book 2.0 tools, and most of the time, I forget about them.
As far as reading experience goes, I'd say it depends on what a patron is comfortable with. Many like the physical feel of the weight of a book in their hands. Others travel for business, and are beginning to explore e-books. Still others have a long commute, so they rely on audiobooks for their for-fun reading.
Which of the sites/tools did you visit? What are they appealing features? Any features seem unnecessary or just there "because"?
I glanced through them all. Some I already knew about but hadn't used for awhile. Some were interesting but not anything to write home about (because of their non-intuitive, non-userfriendly sites). Others I've bookmarked to go take another look at. Even if they're not something that I would use, one of our patrons might, so it's worth the time to at least be conversant with what's out there.
Do you know of other tools around books and reading we should know about? You can add them in the Comments below and blog about them.
The Literary Award Database and Wiki
KidsReads and TeenReads
Looking For a Mystery?"
The Reader's Robot (a readers advisory tool)