Skip to content

Three Ways to Track your Reading

woman reading

Do you read a lot? If you’re reading this, you probably do. And if you’re anything like me, keeping track of what you’ve read can be a challenge. Fortunately for you (and me), there are several methods of tracking your reading history.


The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon book cover
Have I read this one before? There are like, 20 books in this series.

The most popular way to track your reading history among Library staff is Goodreads. It is easy to use and packed with features.  Goodreads allows you to organize your books into shelves, rate and review books that you’ve read, and, my favorite feature, set reading goals for the year. 

Add books to shelves by searching Goodreads’ extensive database, or download their mobile app to take advantage of its barcode scanning feature. Organize your shelves by almost any criteria. Some people even have Did Not Finish shelves for books they chose not to finish reading (yes, it’s okay to stop reading a book if you’re just not that into it).

Goodreads is also a great tool for finding your next read. Goodreads will make recommendations based on your interests, and you can read reviews written by the Goodreads community. You can also find user-generated lists on a variety of book-related topics.

If Goodreads doesn’t work for you, try LibraryThing. It has many features, including TinyCat, which can be used to turn your book collection into a simple online catalog not unlike the Library catalog!

Reading Journal

If you’re not big on technology, or if you prefer something a little more personal, a reading journal might be the thing for you.

A reading journal can be anything from a handwritten list on a piece of paper or a simple spreadsheet, to a private tome where you write down your private thoughts and impressions, favorite quotes, and ideas that you want to go back and research later.

You’ll want to jot down the book’s title and author, and dates read at least.

Library Catalog

People often ask me if I can tell them about books they’ve checked out in the past. The answer, most often, is no. For your privacy, the Library does not keep track of the things you’ve checked out after they’ve been returned by default.

However, the Library will keep track if you opt in. To opt-in, login to your Library account, choose “My Record” then “Contact Info and Preferences.” The Library only tracks reading history from the date you opt in. We cannot retroactively track your check outs.

This method can be useful for tracking your reading, but it’s limited to what you’ve checked out from the Library. You’ll also see all the movies, music, and Pete the Cat books that your toddler wanted to read.