Life Hack: Take Advantage of the Library

This post is dedicated to my friends Jana and Christie, two fabulous librarians!

My sister asked me to share more of my life hacks (in a comment on this post) so here’s another one that makes our lives easier and better every day:

Let the library take the books off the shelves for you.

I am a voracious, quick reader.  In 2011, I read about 150 books.  In 2012, I slowed down a bit (with less nursing by Ellie) and only read around 130.  This year, I’ve read around 60 books, which puts me almost on track with last year, possibly a bit less.

Needless to say, I have not individually purchased all those books.  Both our house and our bank account would be in serious trouble if I had.

Enter the library hold system.

In both Baltimore County and Baltimore City (and I’m assuming most library systems across the country), you can request that any book be delivered to any location.  It generally takes 3-4 days and then I get an email telling me that the book has arrived.  I usually request 10-15 books at a time, know that I usually have about 2 months to get them read.  Usually, it doesn’t take me that long to read them all, particularly the fiction pile but sometimes does if I’ve gotten a mammoth non-fiction book to talk (like The Emperor of All Maladies or American Canopy).

I even request books to be put on hold when they are at my own library.  It’s just so much easier if they are all already on the hold shelf and all I have to do is walk in, clear the shelf (sometimes almost the whole shelf), and then check them out.  This means, in my library, that I only have to do one set of stairs, can park in the 5-minute parking just outside the door, or even ask Nik to pick up the books on his way home from work.

All in all, it’s a great way to support my book habit without much effort or expense.

Try it today!  Your life just might be 5% better!* 🙂

*which is what Nik told me when we started dating and he realized that I had Hotmail and not Gmail.  He promised me that my life would be 5% better if I switched to Gmail and especially when planning a wedding, he was right!

(Cross an idea off the list!)

P.S. If you want to see what I’m reading, feel free to become my friend on Goodreads!

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9 Responses to Life Hack: Take Advantage of the Library

  1. Bill Chance says:

    I love our library and always have a number of books on hold. Every now and then a book will be on hold so long that when it comes to me I can’t remember when or why I wanted to read it in the first place.

    Another thing to look for at the library is that if you have a Kindle or other reader a lot of libraries now have Overdrive or another way to check out e-books. I joined a couple libraries in my area to increase the selection.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Laura says:

      Hi Bill! Thanks for sharing. I haven’t jumped on the e-reader bandwagon yet. I tried one out a couple years ago (an old Kindle) and really didn’t like it all. I like the feel of a real book in my hand. But I’m sure I’ll have to give in one of these day and I appreciate the tip about checking out e-books at the library. I’ll definitely do that if I ever join the modern literary age! 🙂

  2. Jana Liebermann says:

    Aww! Thanks for the shout out!! I don’t always feel like a good librarian 🙂

    About the BCPL and Enoch Pratt — I didn’t know it until I went to Library School, but they are models for the nation!!! We are far, far ahead of other library systems across the world. My first library job, while in high school in 1984 was at BCPL- Woodlawn, and we were inputting books for their first online catalog! They would only let us work at the terminals for a maximum of two hours at a time because they were worried about our eyesight 🙂

    Does that date me?

  3. Karyn says:

    I do this too! It’s such a time saver.
    We still go to the library so J&J can browse the children’s section, but I love that my selections have already been made and are ready and waiting for pick-up. It keeps our library visits more relaxing when I’m not trying to find our list of books.

    • Laura says:

      Thanks for the reminder to take my kids to the library, Karyn! I tend to avoid it because I’m paranoid about germs, particularly during flu season and the toys in the kids room just strike me as germ factories. But, yes, I should probably let Ellie learn to love the library too! Good to know that my trick still helps out even if you spend more than 3 minutes in the library!

  4. Mom says:

    Me too! I still like to browse some (since I don’t have young ones!), but I often put the librarians to work for my convienience!

  5. Pingback: August Sewing: Quilted Library Bag for us | Salmon and Souvlaki

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