The Library Reservations Project

Books are a joy.

And I find them in so many places: on my own shelves; in bookshops; in the library; on blogs and on other bookish websites; in charity shops; in the library’s reserve stock …

It’s wonderful, and please don’t think I’m complaining, but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming.

I waste far too much time deciding what to read next. The book that I just had to buy? The lost gem that I ordered up? The new library book that I know someone else is waiting for? The book I just read that I know is her somewhere?

There’s nothing at all I want to stop. Booksellers really need to be supported. Library visits are so therapeutic. Book bloggers make wonderful recommendations. I just need to streamline things a little.

And here’s how I’m going to do it:

The Library Reservations Project1

I order lots of books from the library. New books that I don’t expect to see on the shelves. Old books tucked away in reserve stock. Books that I’d be inclined to buy, but I check the library for first …

None of those are bad things, but often I find I don’t have space on my card when a stack of books arrive at the same time, or that I don’t have space left on my ticket for anything I might spot on the shelves. Which is a very bad thing. Because often the best books are the ones you haven’t heard about, that you just spot, and you can tell other people about.

And so this year I am going to restrict my library reservations. I couldn’t give up completely – I wouldn’t even try – but I am allowing myself just twenty-four for the year. My thinking is that way I can order one shiny new book and one lost gem a month, and anything else can go on my ‘one day list’ – until a copy turns up, until I have a spot to fill, or until I change my mind.

It’s one small, but significant change, to get myself back on track.

And, because I want to support the library, I am going to shout about my reservations.

Look at this lovely new book I got from the library!

Look at this wonderful old book the library hung on to!

Look at this book I’d forgotten all about, that isn’t in the shops any more, but the library had!

Watch this space!

24 responses

  1. The exact same thoughts have been swirling around in my mind. Our library has a wish list where you can put 100 books aside and then when you want them you move them to the “please get it for me now list” . I have decided to only move one book across at a time and not reserve anything else as they all come in at same time anyway and no time to read them esp if another hold placed on them. In the meantime only reading my TBR of the zillion books I seem to have in my house. Good luck with your project. I’ll be following avidly. Pam

  2. I have exactly the same problem! I can have 26 reserved items at a time but card is for 14 and like you they all come in in batches. I am always pleased to be no. 75 in line or the like to give me some ‘catch up’ time. I have over 200 in my save for later folder! Really good idea Fleur – will also be interested in how you get on.

    • it’s so hard to judge with in demand books when they’ll arrive, and of course when they do I can’t renew them because there’s somebody else in line. I’m hoping with the new system I’ll read as soon as the books land, but time will tell!

  3. I have the same problem – except our library doesn’t have a limit on the number of books I can have out at once. This means I might get a huge stack at once that now sit on my bedside bookshelf – *help*. And I don’t think I could ever restrict myself to 24 reservations per year.

    But – yes – let’s SHOUT to the world about our libraries!!

    • We can have eighteen out and I’m not sure how many we can order. It looks like ninety-nine, but I haven’t tested that. I’m trying to focus on reading my own books and catching up on the husge pile of books I have rather thatn thinking about the restriction.

  4. Is this just a self-imposed thing or are you saying you can set up your library card so it won’t allow to take out more than 24? If so, wow, that’s like a really strict reading diet, I hope you don’t suffer too much from the one or two that you wished you could bring home. That said, we can take 6 books each time but I rarely take more than two at a time, knowing I won’t get through them otherwise.

  5. I’m going to be restricting myself at the library this year too. My problems started when I discovered I could have 20 books out at a time, for years I thought I could only have 10! So of course at any one time I have the full 20 books at home and have to keep renewing and renewing them. I’m determined to be more restrained in 2013.

    • I can have eighteen books out, but I managed better when I was only allowed twelve. I have to renew far too much and it would be lovely to get to a position where I bring a book home and start it straight away. Though I suspect that’s a little too ambitious!

  6. That’s interesting: my library has a lower holds limit (25) than check out limit (50) so as long as I return enough books to pick up my new ones I’m fine! I also use holds so I don’t have to drive all over the city picking up books: is your system like that or just for books that are popular? Either way, I’m a big fan of blogging about library books! 😉

    • That seems sensible – we’re the other way round. Our system works the ame way what ever we order. I could pick up some books from other libraries, but the older books I order from reserve stock can only be ordered in.

  7. I have the same problem in that I get desperately enthusiastic about reading something, reserve a copy and by the time it turns up I am well into something else or have committed to several challenges. I’m trying not to reserve unless I really, really want the book but it *is* hard – also I want to support the library and keep up the demand for good books!!

  8. I am the complete opposite, I do not use my library enough and I know there are some books I want to read to finish off some of my own personal challenges, that if I use the library I will be able to quite easily and cheaply. So I am shouting about how wonderful libraries are, I am also going to use them more too!

    I look forward to seeing how you get on. No doubt I will get even more recommendations to read.

    • I used to go once a week, but for five years I walked past the library, in opening hours on my way home from work. My visits were theraputic! With my new job I’ll be back to once a week, which may help me to get things back in balance.

  9. It’s really interesting seeing in the comment how many books everyone can check out! I love the idea of choosing just two known entities a month via the library and creating the space for more serendipity in your library borrowings. 🙂

  10. I want your library. As a child, I loved ours. Now, I find it has little of value; it is catering to the Naperville wives and mothers, who frankly, seem to read nothing but the most trite novels.

  11. That’s interesting – my library allows 20 holds at a time, no limit to checkouts. If you want to take out 50 books this week, go ahead! Interesting to see the differences among libraries. As a librarian myself, I’m glad to hear that you use yours so extensively and look forward to hearing what your choices will be! So glad to know there are so many library supporters here 🙂

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