Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Try This at Home Tuesday: My Library Life Hack

Happy Tuesday!  I'm back with another "Try This at Home Tuesday" post but I'm shifting my focus away from healthy eating/recipes and instead am sharing a library life hack that has helped me so much. Namely, I'm going to talk about the ability to suspend requests at the library. This hack has come up in conversation with several friends and none of them were aware of this library request feature so I thought I'd share it more broadly in case it helps others!

The suspend option has become a life saver for me because before I knew about it, I'd often have a ridiculous number of books all become available at the same time. Most of the time I'd been on a wait list for said books so I would be so disappointed that I wouldn't be able to get through them all before they were due. I know some people will hold onto books past the deadline and pay the fines but I just can't do that (you know, since I am an upholder and holding onto a book past the deadline would be breaking a rule!).

Luckily, I discovered the suspend function on my library's request system. It seems like the library request system is the same across the U.S. so hopefully my American readers will recognize the screens I'll be sharing.

Here is how it works.  When I request a book, I select the "suspend the request" box. When you select this box, it pulls up a suspend date box but if you leave it blank, it will be suspended indefinitely.



The suspend option is best for books with a long wait because despite the fact that you have suspended your request, you still advance up the queue for the book. As you'll see below, I'm in the #1 position for the suspended requests displayed below.


Then, once I am ready to read the book, I change the request status to "active" and the next time someone checks in a book, it gets transmitted to me!

I have quite the long to-be-read list on Goodreads.com (338 books to be exact which is about 5-6 years worth of reading!) but that is sort of the catchall for what I want to read eventually, whereas my request list at the library shows what I want to try to read in the next 6-12 months.

One caveat is that this does not work for eBooks as there isn't a suspend option for those books - at least not yet.  So I pretty much only request eBooks that are immediately available for download because otherwise I won't have control over when they will become available.

So there you have it.  My very best library hack!

Are you a heavy user of the library? Most of the books I read come from the library as it's very rare for me to buy a book these days. I heart the library so much; I can't imagine how I got by in the years before I started to use it!

14 comments:

Gracie said...

i wish we had that option in our library system, mostly because I tend to get greedy and request a bunch at one time!

Charbelle4 said...

I should utilize the library more but I end up just paying for books on my kindle. I'm SO bad about getting them back by their due date. My life is just insane! I used to read ALL the time and I would go to the library on my lunch break. The Kindle has been the most amazing addition to my life, because I still read ALL the time but now I just pay for my books. I love how you know to navigate the system so well!

Marlys said...

Wow, that is a great feature! For a book lover like you, that is wonderful!

Jeanie said...

I'm sort of embarrassed I don't use the library. Rick is hard core on using it. I like books I can mess up if it happens (like when I dropped one in the bathtub and another was the victim of a wine spill -- similar to an oil spill but less messy and smells better.) I don't like to read on deadline. I guess that's the big thing, though I confess, it would be useful for videos and other things.

CML said...

Ooh, love this post! I am going to start using this feature ASAP! I had been doing it wrong!

Nora said...

So that's what the suspend feature means! We have it, too, but I never asked what it means/does. Now I know, so thank you :) I requested a few books on Saturday and since I checked out three books (that I haven't opened yet... oops) I should probably log-in and do this for those two. Thanks for sharing!

Stephany said...

You have BLOWN MY MIND, Lisa! I had no idea this was even a thing! I always get worried about requesting too many books at one time because they all tend to come in at the same time. I just played around with this feature through my library, and it appears I have to set a date for when I was the reactivate a request, but even still, this is so useful! (Also, I wish my library system told me where I was in the queue, but it removed that feature a few years ago and it is SO annoying!)

Library hacks are the best kind of hacks!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Interesting! I don't have the same library screen as you, so I'll have to check to see if mine has it. I actually only read e-books at this point, so I'm not sure how much I'd use this, but I'm thinking it might come in handy with work books ha ha.

With e-books, I do a bunch of requests and hope for the best. Sometimes they all come in at once and if I have a lot of time I just download them all and then turn my wireless off so they can't take them back lol. Or, I just decide to read some of them later. Lol.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Darn it; I don't have that option. I wish I did, because that is exactly what happens to me every time -- I get none or all at the same time! Right now I have three books from the library, 4 eBooks from the library, 2 holds ready for pick up and 2 holds "in transit" to my library!! Clearly I cannot read 12 books in the next three weeks... sigh.

My trick is to get the eBooks and then turn off my wifi so they stay on until you turn it back on. That way I am not getting fees and I can read them when I want. However, if a new book is ready for pickup, then you either lose that one or you lose the "free" ones on your Kindle. It's very much a game of chess; you have to move the pieces around!!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I used to go to the library as a teenager a lot, but haven't really gone since being an adult. I tend to just buy books, which isn't the smartest idea ...

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I know that I'm able to do that, but I never do. :) I am using the library a lot more these days both to read real books I want to read (woohoo), look through different cookbooks, or check out baby board books. We also go there on some Fridays for baby storytime, which is fun. There are usually about 30 or so mamas and their babies so it's a fun way to connect and let the babies hear stories and sing songs to them and dance around. They really only read maybe 1-2 short books, so mostly interactive stuff. I probably should create a goodreads account if only to track the books I want to read.

Jenny said...

I love the library and use it a lot for physical books, audio books and ebooks. I've been checking out tons of cook books lately and I have lots of other books that I'm not going to read in time, so I just checked for this feature on my library system and they have a Freeze button yay! I just cancelled a book request the other day because of my current backlog, if only I'd known about this! Thanks for the tip!

Amber said...

I'm sooo happy you told me about this hack! At my library it's called "Freeze" and I've started freezing lots of holds when I get to number 1 on the list. Up until just last month I didn't know about this and was dealing with getting way too many books in at once!! I am a HUGE user of the library. I really try not to buy books. I have started buying books for my kindle if I really want to read them and they are $4.99 or less. But overall I just really try not to buy books and prefer to use the library, which means that I still do a lot more actual book reading than ebook reading as my library has a much larger selection for paper books and I also can't take ebooks out on my kindle in Canada. Anyways, of the 5 books I read in February all of them were from the library!

26dishes.com said...

Why did I not know about this!? This will make a huge difference in my reading schedule.