Tech Teach: Shelfari Safari

I want to share a site called “Shelfari.”  It’s a social media site for reading!

I always strive to stay up to date on current research in art education, creativity, motivation, leadership and passion. It’s important for art teachers to stay current with research. The education field is changing so quickly, and by educating yourself on topics, you are more powerful when you teach, talk or write about the profession. Reading  is also inspirational.  It makes me want to become a better teacher and lifelong learner!

I also found myself wanting to keep track of the books I read for myself and to share with others: namely all of you!

Shelfari is a great resource for anyone. It lets you search for, categorize,  and keep track of the status of books you have read, are reading and want to read. It creates (my favorite part because I am a visual learner) a “Shelf” for you, chronicling the books on you have put on the site. Others can view your public profile and see what you are reading, and you can see others to get ideas for books you want to read.

Now, I know some of you will say “Well I just don’t have time to read!”  This may be true, but I have found a solution to this problem, too. If you find a particular author or book you are interested in reading, but feel crunched for time, you can always type the author or book into YouTube. Many times YouTube or TED talks will have speeches, keynotes and information that summarizes the book in about 10 minutes. I have found this to be a great supplement or substitute for getting all of my current research from books.  There is something, however, about opening up the pages of crisp book and reading it firsthand. You decide!

Check out my “Shelf” on my Shelfari profile. Do you have any other recommendations for me? What are you reading right now? Happy reading!


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Kellie

    I really like the idea of shelfari. Last spring I completed a 20 hour PD online course called 23Things. On that journey I discovered a library community program called LibraryThing ( It works a bit differently, but thought that it might be useful for each art teacher(in our district) to list books, videos, posters that they have in a building. Then everyone could see what might be possible to borrow or share from another colleague. With limited budgets to fund our curriculum, I thought this might be a way to stretch the $$$ a little farther and build community among the teachers in the district.
    Alas, being the newbie in the group does not give me a voice that they are willing to listen to. I also find that if it takes time on their part (more time) then most are not willing to put forth the effort.
    Thank you for shelfari and the link. I’ll bet the books you have read will be ones many of us will be interested in reading also.

    • Hi Kellie- Thanks for your comment and idea regarding the library thing site- looks like it would be really helpful- especially for your department. I think about it, and we all got the EXACT same supplies at each elementary (because we have to teach the same things at the same time) however if we shared resources, especially since we have these budget cuts, we could really save. Good thinking.
      Take care!