What's the name of that book...?


Working in a public library, I often have requests for a book with an unknown title.  These requests come in many varieties.  A few of my favorites are listed below.

  • It has a brown cover, sort of, is about this thick (patron displays width with fingers), and has an Indian on the front.
    • Answer: The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  • It is blue and was sitting right here on the New Shelf when I saw it about three weeks ago.
    • Answer: Benediction by Kent Haruf
  • I am looking for a book I read as a kid in the 1940s - it had a train and some kids...and they passed messages with the conductor or something...
    • Answer: The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
  • We listened to an audiobook a while ago - it had some weird clock and something to do with eyes...and there might have been gypsies or something like that...
    • Answer: The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

I love these kinds of questions. I heard today about another local library that did a whole display called, "I am looking for a book...It has a red cover..." and the library displayed all their red books!

No, I really do love these questions. I love the challenge, and although you'll laugh, I get an adrenaline rush as soon as someone says, "I am looking for a book, but I can't remember what it is called.."  It is such a cool mystery to solve, and patrons are always so thrilled when you find the answer.

How do you find answers to these kinds of questions?  Yes, there is always the Google search...or a Dogpile.com or even Amazon.com.  But I also recently discovered a great forum on Goodreads.com for those times when you need a little help. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/185-what-s-the-name-of-that-book

In the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres, try this one: http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/fantasy-book-discussion/what%27s-the-name-of-that-book-lost-and-found-for-novels/

And don't forget the collective librarian brain.  I usually get at least one email per week from another librarian who has posted his/her question on the library listserv. 

Have a book from childhood that you just want to read again but can't remember the title or author?  I promise you there is a librarian out there waiting to be asked!

Libraries | People

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