Let’s Talk Library Holds

I didn’t start using the hold system at the library until this year.

Wow, OK, that feels good to finally say out loud.

I used the library all the time as a kid but I never used the hold system then because the whole thing with the library was going to the library to pick my books. Then I started making my own money and I stopped going to the library and spending all my money on books, a theme that continues to this day if I’m honest.

I came back to the library when I lost my job the first time as an adult. Suddenly aware of a finite amount of money to my name, uncertain about when I’d find a new job but also aware that I still needed fresh reading material, I started taking the bus to the library. That’s when I started reading Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse and finding all sorts of hidden nonfiction gems. But still, never holds. Again, the whole point was the going to the library.

But this year, obviously, has changed the way we do everything. First we were all cut off from our libraries (I’m assuming that was the same for everyone). Sure, I could have started reading the books on my shelves that I’d bought but I’m a mood reader and suffer from FOMO thanks to #bookstagram so I need new books all the time.

Sure, I ordered some from bookstores online but the postal system was kind of flooded with orders so it took a while to get anything. Did I mention that I don’t read ebooks? Audiobooks neither.

Once the library re-opened, they were doing the curbside pick up thing. So if I wanted books, I had to use the hold system.

It was revolutionary.

I could choose the books I wanted to read and the librarians would make sure they were ready for me. I could check online and see how many books were ready and decide if it was worth the trip or if I should wait a few days. I was checking every day, willing there to be a little green number in the corner telling me that my books were ready for me. I started putting more books on hold, up to 15 at a time. Sometimes I was first in line, other times I was 27 on 8 copies.

I started getting too many all at once. I didn’t have time to read them all. I focused on reading library books but then my purchased books would show up and they’d be ones I was excited to read but I had a time constraint on my library books, ones I’d waited to read for weeks. Other people were waiting for them, renewing wasn’t always possible.

Now I’m looking at Nonfiction November, hoarding planning books to read next month. I still have fiction holds coming in but a finite time in which to read them and hold onto them. I have nonfiction books on hold and I’m hoping they are ready as close to November 1st as possible, understanding that I have zero control over the timing.

So, my question to you all is: what’s the secret to streamlining my hold system?

Now that I work from home, my library isn’t right around the corner anymore. I can really only go on the weekends. I want all the books but understand the book limits. I only have a handful of books out right now and my holds list was short and I probably wasn’t going to get anything until December but I went on a hold spree the other night so I’m very much back in the hole.

Tell me all your tips and tricks. I’m a library hold system convert but still very much a novice.


Library Checkout: April 2016


I don’t know how, but we’re sailing into May! Shannon @ Rivercity Reading keeps inspiring me to go to the library – mostly so I can participate in the Library Checkout. Anytime you can get an easy blog post, you do it.

Library reading in April wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible either. I anticipate more library usage in the future as we get serious about this moving thing. The books that I did read from the library were underwhelming but I feel like I still have a bunch out that could be great.

You may be wondering why I’m still using the library when I have a veritable library of unread books at home. I don’t have an answer except I’m a greedy reader and I’m doing my part to keep circulation numbers up.

Library Books Read
Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea (wanted it to be like Crazy Rich Asians, it tried but wasn’t)
The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams (strong ending, before that was kind of meh)
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (still mad)
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes (mostly charming but am hoping the next one of hers I read doesn’t involve a poor, struggling woman who falls in love with the rich man she’s working for)

Checked Out, To Be Read
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Flappers by Judith Mackrell
Twain’s End by Lynn Cullen
The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith
Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams

Returned Unread
After Alice by Gregory Maguire

On Hold
You know I rarely put anything on hold. Still true.