Favourites and Collections – Creating bookshelves in Tar Heel Reader

This is my third blog post about the new look Tar Heel Reader.  I am finding these new features so useful – and I hope you are too. In this post I’m going to focus on Favourites and Collections – both of which are great ways to store and share groups of books in Tar Heel Reader.


Favourites isn’t a new feature of Tar Heel Reader – in fact I blogged about it last year. But it works differently now – so I wanted to walk you through the new steps. Favourites is a really easy way to pull together a collection of books. I use favourites in different ways – with different aims and users in mind.  For example, if I know that  a student is very interested in country music, I might put together a selection of books about country music singers and country music to “tempt” them in the self-selected reading block.  I also create favourites bookshelves as extension reading suggestions – for example here is a favourites bookshelf I made up to extend the themes in “Blue Hat, Green Hat”.

To make a favourites page is now easier than ever – and you don’t have to be logged into Tar Heel Reader any longer. Just follow the steps below.

Step 1: Search for books to add to your favourites page. In this example I’ve searched for books that include the phrase “country music”.

Step 2: You can add books in two ways.

Option 1: You can click on the favourites heart-shaped icon on the search page.  You then select books to add to your favourites list by clicking on them, while still on the search page. The heart icon for the books that have been added will turn a solid colour – as in the example below. I don’t use this option often as it means that I need to know all the books that come up in the search. I generally use Option 2.

Option 2: You can click on the favourites heart-shaped icon on the first page of any books. I generally read the book through once, and then if I want to add it to my bookshelf I select “Read this book again” and then click on the favourites icon, as I’ve done below.

Step 3: Once you have selected all (or some) of the books you want on your favourites bookshelf, you need to click on the Tar Heel Reader icon (found on the top left of most pages) to go to the main Tar Heel Reader menu.

Step 4: Select the “Favorites” button from this menu. Tar Heel Reader will then take you to the Favourites bookshelf that you have just put together.  If you change your mind about any of the books and want to remove it, just click on the heart-shaped icon again and then click on the book. The heart icon overlayed on the book will become an outline again.  Just click on the heart icon in the right corner once more and that book will be removed.

Step 5.  This is a REALLY important step. Once you are happy with your favourites bookshelf you need to save the web address.  Every favourites page has a completely custom web address, and every time you leave your browser the favourites page is cleared from memory. So you need to go up to the toolbar in your web browser and save it as a bookmark or add it to a social bookmarking site e.g. Delicious.  If you don’t save the web address, you will lose the favourites page and have to start again from scratch :(.


If you think that the favourites bookshelf you have put together is one that other people will be interested in, then you can turn it into a Collection. Collections are available to everyone who uses Tar Heel Reader from the main menu.  Collections are a new feature to Tar Heel Reader and one that I think we’re going to find very useful.

Last year, I put together a list of alphabet books in Tar Heel Reader, one for each letter of the alphabet.  I refer other people to this list a lot. To make it easier to find, I have turned it into a Collection using the following steps:

Step 1: I put all the books into Favourites.

Step 2: I went to the main menu in Tar Heel Reader and clicked on “Your books”.

Step 3: I scrolled down the list until I got to the section “Your Collections”.

Step 4: Under Your Collections I selected Favorites.

Step 5: I gave the collection a name and a description. I then clicked on “Save as a new collection”.

Now, anyone can view this collection easily. If you go to the main Tar Heel Reader menu and select Collections, you will find it towards the top of the list of Collections available – as you can see below. (It is called “Alphabet Books”).

I’d love to hear how you are using these great tools in Tar Heel Reader – I think they’ve got so many uses.  And I look forward to seeing lots more useful Collections up on the site!

NB – Gary Bishop has written a Tar Heel Reader book about how to use Favorites and Collections too – you can access it at Help: Favorites and Collections.

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  1. Pingback: Favourites and Collections – Creating bookshelves in Tar Heel Reader | OT's with Apps

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