Author Topic: Making better use of the library and avoid buying books - Suggestions please!  (Read 4872 times)

Gizsuat2

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I've recently rediscovered a love for reading, and identified one of the obstacles that was hindering this habit previously.

It goes something like this: I research well-reviewed, popular books, then place them on hold through my local library.  Often this means I'm somewhere on a lengthy list of other people waiting for the book.

Fast-forward two months, and the library tells me I have 5 available.  Next week, another few available.  Week after, same.  Because I'm not a fast reader, these holds essentially go to waste ... I won't get through the books that have become available before the hold runs out, and checking them out with the intention to renew is no good because there are people waiting behind me to borrow the book.

I *purchased* a book a few months ago (awesome: supporting the author, not awesome: $12 gone) and honestly, I love the leisure of being able to read it on my own timeline. 

Would love to hear some encouragement and/or thoughts on this topic from other readers.  Thank you!

1967mama

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I have this exact same problem. So far, the only thing I've come up with is just to keep putting holds on them until I get around to reading them ... not ideal but at least there's no charge to keep putting them on hold!

Pigeon

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Does your library allow you to renew?  Many won't if there is a waitlist.  Could you find something in the collection that is actually on the shelf?  Those might be easier to renew.  Maybe don't put so many at once on hold?

If your library has ebooks through a vendor like OverDrive, you can also check them out so that you have something to read in case of downtimes.  Ebooks may also have a waitlist, but they are automatically checked out to you when you hit the top of the list.  It depends on the publisher, but you can often "return" them early if you have too much reading material on hand, and then the next person in line will get the returned copy.

spicykissa

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This may be kind of cheap, but if there is something brand new I really want to read, I'll go to Barnes and Noble and read it sitting in the cafe. I buy hot tea, and maybe a cookie or soft pretzel--definitely cheaper than buying the book (and my house is not overstuffed with books, unlike in the past). I read really fast, though, and can generally finish my book in a couple hours. I've seen plenty of other people doing the same thing in my time there (also plenty of tutoring, and homework research, and magazine reading), so I don't feel TOO bad about it.

Since you are a slow reader, it might take you several visits--maybe not a viable strategy. I feel your pain on the library holds, though! I love wandering the stacks at my library, but getting a new, hot book there is impossible.



Tyson

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Just put holds on books that have been out for 6 months to a year already - no wait and no guilt.

Frankies Girl

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I don't have this issue because I don't put a large amount of popular books on a wait list. I'll put on one or two books, and if they have a long wait list, I'll make sure to go to the actual person librarian to check out and ask them for the full checkout time if possible. This means in my library's case they'll check it out to me for up to 4-6 weeks. They may only give me 4 weeks (2 weeks standard + one renewal 2 week period). I haven't yet run into an issue doing it this way, but it may not be the same in other counties... but it never hurts to ask.

The other thing to do is make sure to not attempt to go for brand new with extensive wait lists.

1. Get on GoodReads This is a great way to discover new books, track books you liked, get suggestions and explore.
2. Liked a certain author's book? Check to see if they wrote anything else.
2. Have a genre you enjoy? Google something like "top Fantasy novel 2010" and see what comes up. Same thing for author - go google them and check out what their entire bibliography looks like.
3. My library does monthly themes and print up a long list of suggested books. They also have a themed display of books that are right there - ready to be checked out. It is fun to see what themes they go for and the lists and in-house selections are always interesting.
4. Ask a librarian for reading suggestions. If you have a few authors or a specific genre you enjoy, ask if anyone can help you find something that would be similar. They might be super excited at telling you their favorites or show you how to search out your own using the library's systems. My library system does have some pretty cool search features online and in library.
5. Walk around and look on the shelves. This is my main thing. I have discovered SO MANY BOOK SERIES by random "what is this?" on the shelves. It literally is like going to a bookstore and browsing and I very much enjoy this. I go to the library with no specific plan and not walk out with a stack of books every time if I do this.


And one big thing to remember: If you take a chance on a book you aren't sure of and it seems blah or boring or just not for you after the first chapter/25-ish pages... you are not required to waste a second more of your time trying to read more. It's okay! There are soooo many more books out there and if you are taking the chance with a library book it costs you NOTHING but a little time. Put it on the discard pile to go back ASAP and move on to a new one.

plainjane

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My library lets me put books on hold, and then make them "inactive". This gives me more control over when I'm going to receive the books so that I don't have too many coming at once. Lots of other people do this too, so sometimes I can be person #105 and still have the book show up if it is active. This way I can control how many books I have as active, and only have one or two show up unexpectedly instead of four or five.  And I can switch them to inactive if I want to make sure that the next couple of weeks give me time to read.

I also try to keep a list on Goodreads if I do end up with a book and no time to read it, so I can remember that I wanted to check it out again, or I can remember to put it on hold once the library gets it into their system if I have heard about it too far in advance.

VeggieTable

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I'm sure I'm not the only one who has accidentally discovered this...I will borrow e-books from the library on my Kindle and then turn off my wifi. As long as I don't turn the wifi back on, the book stays on my Kindle. I was regularly running up against the 2-week loan window when borrowing physical books (we can borrow e-books for a max of 3 weeks at my library).

lhamo

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I also discovered the "turn off the wifi" trick when I was overseas -- I would check out 15-20 books at a time (when I had a fast connection, and often just before vacation) and then have reading material for several weeks.  I gave up on reading popular stuff for the most part, though.

Now I try to limit myself to having just a few books on hold at a time, and with varying lengths to the hold list.  If there is something that only has five copies in circulation and 10 people on the hold list, it will usually take 2-3 months for my copy to turn up.   I wouldn't overlap too many of those, but would consider something with a similar number of copies and just 5 people on the hold list, or something with 10 copies but 100 people on the list.  I think our system also allows the "inactive" option, though I haven't tried it.

Sometimes once something VERY popular has been out for 6-12 months, you can find copies to borrow through groups like Buy Nothing or Freecycle, or Little Free Libraries, or even at lower cost in thrift stores.   

teen persuasion

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I work in a library.  I was going to suggest suspending your holds when you have one or 2 to read - it preserves your place on the list, but lets other people read the book in the meantime.

Ask how your library's hold system works.  In my system, books can be coded "new" so that they only go out to holds for our branch patrons.  After 6 months I remove the new code to allow it to interloan to anyone.  Some branches don't use the new code, so their books are the only ones interloaning, leading to long wait times if your branch has no copy of its own.  I can see that a patron is #27 on the hold list for a title, but if I dig a little further I can see that there's only 2 of our patrons ahead of them for our copy, so wait time can be deceptive.  Learn to read your system OPAC (online public access catalog) - if there is a copy available at a branch, go there to check it out now.  If a big branch has multiple copies of titles, it might be good to switch your membership to that branch if possible (depends on policies).  Conversely, a small branch might have less competition for best sellers, fewer patrons.  What about different formats?  Large print might be hard to get, or ignored.  Audio book (on CDs) or MEbook (MP3 format) might be available.  Even different editions can be listed under separate bibliography records (paperback vs HC), so explore the OPAC.

I've heard that some progressive library systems are experimenting with leasing best sellers in volume for a few months to get copies to everyone quickly, instead of buying multiples they will have to discard after demand wanes.  For e-books, Overdrive is still using the one copy system (treated like a physical book- if checked out, you wait), but occasionally they run a virtual book club where they make unlimited copies of one title available for a few weeks.  Hoopla has unlimited copies available simultaneously, but limited titles right now.

Or, as others suggested, just wait until demand has died down.  Use that suspend function on your holds to plan when to begin requesting them.  Our system has a suspend date and unsuspend date.  When you hear about a good candidate, place the hold and suspend it.  It's in a list waiting, up to a year.  Stagger the unsuspend dates so you don't get inundated.

cchrissyy

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i use my amazon cart or my goodreads "want to read" lists to remember what books I want, and then I occasionally check for them on the library website and add the holds.

MoseyingAlong

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As some others have mentioned, my library system lets us "pause" holds without loosing our place in line. I'll put things on hold and then if they are getting towards #1 and I have a trip/big project/etc coming up, I'll pause it. When I have time again, I'll unpause and be near the top so a short wait.
It's been working really well.

Sydneystache

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If your library has ebooks through a vendor like OverDrive, you can also check them out so that you have something to read in case of downtimes.  Ebooks may also have a waitlist, but they are automatically checked out to you when you hit the top of the list.  It depends on the publisher, but you can often "return" them early if you have too much reading material on hand, and then the next person in line will get the returned copy.

+1. My local library has revolutionised my reading habits. I can now read the latest books on my iphone. They have CloudLibrary/Biblioteca and the audio books have been great too. I don't have to worry about returning as it automatically checks it out and there's a history tab where I can see what I have read in the past but had no time to finish it. The audio book plays through my Bluetooth in the car and it is fantastic. Soooo the best.

 Go library!

misshathaway

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For digital / audio books you can belong to more than one library and the geography does not matter if you are willing to pay. This was posted by some kind soul a few months ago under the subject "Library Hacks". Now you have multiple wait lists. Even locally you may be able to have multiples. I have a town library membership and a Boston Public Library membership. Separate wait lists.

Moonwaves

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I often find myself feeling the same way about library books, rushed and not able to enjoy finishing them in my own time. These days, I rarely borrow more than one book at a time. I do have lots of unread books at home already and frequently re-read books I have as well, so I still have others to choose from if I finish and want something else before I have a chance to go back. But only having one library book at a time has definitely helped me feel less under pressure to read multiple books quickly.

joonifloofeefloo

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I recently decided to quit libraries for a bunch of reasons, including some of those described.

However, two additional tips I don't think have been mentioned yet: Some libraries have a system for timing or staggering hold requests. In the ones I've seen this, only a librarian can do these. But they do something on their end so that

(1) a book is ordered to arrive near a certain date (e.g., a week before your book club meeting, or the day before your vacation)

(2) a list of books is ordered to arrive in a paced way, e.g., one arriving per month

Can be worth an ask, to see if your library is one that can do either or both of these.

Icecreamarsenal

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I have about 3 years of already purchased books to get through before getting to my library list.  Which doesn't stop my family from going to enjoy the 'free' air conditioning, magazines, newspapers, Legos, quiet comfy couches, etc.

cchrissyy

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oh forgot to say the easiest answer - my city library lets me pause hold requests online and unpause them at any time

WhiteTrashCash

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I think one of the keys to Mustachianism that needs to be remembered is learning that you don't need instant gratification and that it's okay not to "have it all". When you get into the habit of living the Mustachian lifestyle, you are okay waiting to read a book or see a movie until you can see it for free or for almost no cost. You learn that it's okay not to have everything immediately.

One of the ways I deal with the urge for instant gratification is to throw myself into various projects I have going on. It seems like that Star Wars: Rogue One movie came out a couple weeks ago, but I was involved in something I was doing. Then I look up and something like six months has passed without me really caring and now Star Wars: Rogue One is on Netflix.

It's the same with books. The big hit bestseller comes out and everyone throws their money at it except me. I'm puttering along with my latest project and, hey, whatdya know? Now it's available with no wait at the library. Score.

Moonwaves

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I think one of the keys to Mustachianism that needs to be remembered is learning that you don't need instant gratification and that it's okay not to "have it all". When you get into the habit of living the Mustachian lifestyle, you are okay waiting to read a book or see a movie until you can see it for free or for almost no cost. You learn that it's okay not to have everything immediately.

One of the ways I deal with the urge for instant gratification is to throw myself into various projects I have going on. It seems like that Star Wars: Rogue One movie came out a couple weeks ago, but I was involved in something I was doing. Then I look up and something like six months has passed without me really caring and now Star Wars: Rogue One is on Netflix.

It's the same with books. The big hit bestseller comes out and everyone throws their money at it except me. I'm puttering along with my latest project and, hey, whatdya know? Now it's available with no wait at the library. Score.
This is a really good point. Actually, unintentionally I've kind of always done this with books for the simple reason that I don't really like reading hardbooks and much prefer reading paperbacks. So I usually have to wait a few months anyway if it's a book I want to buy. And by then it seems like not a big deal to wait another few months until it starts appearing in the second-hand bookshops. :)

Sailor Sam

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I had the exact same problem with putting books on hold. Drought, then flooding.

So I've mostly given up on putting books on hold. I've found that my local library catalog lets me browse ebooks currently in stock. Instead of looking for a specific book, I choose one that's on the Avaliable list.

I still get instant gratification, just tailored to manage expectations.   

redbird

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Don't use your library holds as a way to remember what books you want to read. Make a separate list somewhere. Only put some of them on hold. Look at the waiting list length too. You can kinda predict when you might get the book based on the length, the number of copies the library has, and the amount of time the library lets you keep the book out. If there's too many books that might become available around the same time, put some of those on hold LATER, after you've read other things.

nara

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Does your library offer kindle loans? If you have a kindle or Ipad, this is probably the easiest and most convenient way to borrow books.

dycker1978

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I buy my books used on Craig's list, or at garage sales for $.50 or $1 each.  I read them at my pace, then re sell them on Craig's list or a garage sale of my own for the same price.  Best of both worlds.

Dicey

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Buckle up, readers, this is going to be a long post.

How Being Too Cheap To Buy Books Changed My Life...by Dicey

Remember when CC charges didn't post right away? If you bought something on a Thursday or Friday it might not hit your CC bill until Monday, Tuesday or even longer. Damned if I almost always had the book finished before it even hit my bill. Simply put, I no longer wanted to let my book habit derail my FIRE plans. Yup, I was mustachian while MMM was still in college. Maybe even high school or even younger, gasp!

My work involved travel and I had lots of friends all over the country, but very few nearby. I wanted to make more local friends. I hated going to the grocery store and not seeing a soul that I knew.

I decided to start volunteering at the Friends of the Library Book Sales. After all, if you love books, you are my friend, even if we haven't met yet. Once a quarter, on the first day of set-up, I'd help out for a few hours. Every book was $1.00 and it was quite a treasure hunt. The Friends also had an ongoing passive Book Sale in the Library Lobby. I started volunteering to be a daily sorter. I was still traveling a LOT for work, so I signed up for the fifth Monday of the month. In a typical year, there are five of them. I also made myself the "whenever" sorter. I'd go in and fill the shelves whenever I felt like it. Believe me, nobody minded the extra shelving, and damn, I always found great stuff. I still call it the most expensive volunteer job I've ever had, because I find something to buy every visit.

Back to the quarterly book sales: At the end of each sale, there's a Bag Sale, where $5.00 fills a Trader Joe's paper bag. Better still, anyone who helps with Sale Takedown can have anything they want free!!!

Eventually, someone noticed my efforts and I was invited to join the Friends Board. I've been the VP for six or seven years and have implemented a number of things that have helped boost our revenue. Then I was asked to join the Library Foundation, which is an umbrella group that supports both libraries in my city. Two library boards! Oh, my!

As a result, I've been invited to get involved in a number of other community-based events. I co-chair an annual Service Day, and I am the Hospitality Chair for a Women's Art League.

Last week, I had two lunch dates and a coffee date with people who are friends I've made through various community involvement. (Don't worry, I don't do this often, I'm FIRE, cook most meals at home and I can afford it.) Weird side note: I am on a first-name basis with the entire current City Council and a number of past officials (Whaaaa? How did that happen?), primarily because I have volunteered on several campaigns. Boy, have I learned a lot about how local government works.

Today my family and I attended a free concert in the park. I ran into dozens of people I know, all as a result of these volunteer activities. I gotta say, it was good mustachian fun.

And of course, I have more books than I will ever have time to read. I've not been assessed a library fine in years, and I haven't paid more than $1.00 for a book in over a decade.

Another benefit: $1.00 presents. Yup. I watch all year long for books, movies and music that will make great gifts. My family knows they're getting used books, but I get such great stuff, no one cares or complains.

It's unlikely that there's a library on the planet that can't use a little volunteer assistance. Check it out, it could enrich your life in ways you would never imagine and you certainly won't regret it.

Think of it: Great books, tiny prices, no library fines and potential new friends. What's not to love?

P.S. I only use an e-reader when I'm on vacation. I know the "turn off the wi-fi so the book doesn't get returned" trick is real. Better still, it doesn't keep the next person in line from getting a chance to read the book. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I have had more than one library manager tell me it's not a problem.

Okay, I'm bushed. I hope this inspires one or more new library volunteers.

One final thought: Of course I donate the books back when I'm finished with them, for which I keep accurate records. We itemize, so I can write them off on our taxes.

iris lily

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I think one of the keys to Mustachianism that needs to be remembered is learning that you don't need instant gratification and that it's okay not to "have it all". When you get into the habit of living the Mustachian lifestyle, you are okay waiting to read a book or see a movie until you can see it for free or for almost no cost. You learn that it's okay not to have everything immediately.

One of the ways I deal with the urge for instant gratification is to throw myself into various projects I have going on. It seems like that Star Wars: Rogue One movie came out a couple weeks ago, but I was involved in something I was doing. Then I look up and something like six months has passed without me really caring and now Star Wars: Rogue One is on Netflix.

It's the same with books. The big hit bestseller comes out and everyone throws their money at it except me. I'm puttering along with my latest project and, hey, whatdya know? Now it's available with no wait at the library. Score.
This is a really good point. Actually, unintentionally I've kind of always done this with books for the simple reason that I don't really like reading hardbooks and much prefer reading paperbacks. So I usually have to wait a few months anyway if it's a book I want to buy. And by then it seems like not a big deal to wait another few months until it starts appearing in the second-hand bookshops. :)

Yes, and once you get "behind the curve" of hot books, then you will always have reading ,aterial.

I do this with films, too. At this point in the year, I am purusing Rotten Tomatoes's best of 2016 list. All of the focus is off them and they can be checked out immediately at the library.

Noodle

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Some libraries are worse about this than others. The library where I used to live was "loved to death." Even though it was well-funded and well-staffed, it could never keep up with the demand for materials and wait lists of many months (both digital and paper materials) were very common on anything new by a popular author (not just the really big books). The system where I am now has lower usage and so you can normally get almost anything within a couple weeks which makes it easier to be realistic about when they will arrive. I also freely admit that I regularly check out more books than I can read and pick out what I actually will read from among those selections. It's good for the library's circulation numbers!

My tactics:

1. Look into whether your library has what's called "Author Alerts." This means when they order a new book by your favorite author, they will send you a link to the place where you can put it on hold. I am often first in line for new materials with this tactic...it's also super-helpful when it comes to serial materials like graphic novels where you really want to read them in order as they come out.
2. Use the "modify hold feature." I mostly use it if I know I won't be able to get to the library for a period of time and don't want to lose holds but you could also use it to control the speed at which items arrive.
3. Keep a reading list. Mine is insanely long and kept in a Google spreadsheet because I've been at it for twenty years (and have reached the point where I am now going through and sifting out the books I do not actually think I will read (ie literary fiction and 800-page biographies) so I can find things that match my taste these days.) As other posters have observed, there is a world of great books out there which are not new releases and can easily be obtained. Also, I get a lot of my recommendations through book blogs, and they tend to have a mix of older and newer books. If you hear about books through NPR or news sites, they will be focusing on new releases.

teen persuasion

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I decided to start volunteering at the Friends of the Library Book Sales. After all, if you love books, you are my friend, even if we haven't met yet. Once a quarter, on the first day of set-up, I'd help out for a few hours. Every book was $1.00 and it was quite a treasure hunt. The Friends also had an ongoing passive Book Sale in the Library Lobby. I started volunteering to be a daily sorter. I was still traveling a LOT for work, so I signed up for the fifth Monday of the month. In a typical year, there are five of them. I also made myself the "whenever" sorter. I'd go in and fill the shelves whenever I felt like it. Believe me, nobody minded the extra shelving, and damn, I always found great stuff. I still call it the most expensive volunteer job I've ever had, because I find something to buy every visit.

Back to the quarterly book sales: At the end of each sale, there's a Bag Sale, where $5.00 fills a Trader Joe's paper bag. Better still, anyone who helps with Sale Takedown can have anything they want free!!!

Eventually, someone noticed my efforts and I was invited to join the Friends Board. I've been the VP for six or seven years and have implemented a number of things that have helped boost our revenue. Then I was asked to join the Library Foundation, which is an umbrella group that supports both libraries in my city. Two library boards! Oh, my!

As a result, I've been invited to get involved in a number of other community-based events. I co-chair an annual Service Day, and I am the Hospitality Chair for a Women's Art League.

Last week, I had two lunch dates and a coffee date with people who are friends I've made through various community involvement. (Don't worry, I don't do this often, I'm FIRE, cook most meals at home and I can afford it.) Weird side note: I am on a first-name basis with the entire current City Council and a number of past officials (Whaaaa? How did that happen?), primarily because I have volunteered on several campaigns. Boy, have I learned a lot about how local government works.

Today my family and I attended a free concert in the park. I ran into dozens of people I know, all as a result of these volunteer activities. I gotta say, it was good mustachian fun.

And of course, I have more books than I will ever have time to read. I've not been assessed a library fine in years, and I haven't paid more than $1.00 for a book in over a decade.

Another benefit: $1.00 presents. Yup. I watch all year long for books, movies and music that will make great gifts. My family knows they're getting used books, but I get such great stuff, no one cares or complains.

It's unlikely that there's a library on the planet that can't use a little volunteer assistance. Check it out, it could enrich your life in ways you would never imagine and you certainly won't regret it.

Think of it: Great books, tiny prices, no library fines and potential new friends. What's not to love?

P.S. I only use an e-reader when I'm on vacation. I know the "turn off the wi-fi so the book doesn't get returned" trick is real. Better still, it doesn't keep the next person in line from getting a chance to read the book. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I have had more than one library manager tell me it's not a problem.

Okay, I'm bushed. I hope this inspires one or more new library volunteers.

One final thought: Of course I donate the books back when I'm finished with them, for which I keep accurate records. We itemize, so I can write them off on our taxes.

Boy, does lots of this sound familiar!

We are self-proclaimed book junkies and regularly visited several different libraries in our system, but our local village library got us involved in the Friends fundraising event.  After I helped stuff envelopes a few times, they asked if I'd be on the fundraising committee.  When I agreed, I found myself the chairman!  A few years later the director called me to ask if I'd like a job subbing in the library.  A year later when the director retired, I was given more hours, and took over Children's Services : Preschool Story Hour and Summer Reading Program and the Teen Drama Club.  Our Board of Trustees and Friends group are some of the busiest and most connected people in our community, so I've made many connections thru them and thru our patrons (and thru DH's volunteer fire company): local police chief, tax collector, county rep, school board president, village clerk, many retired teachers, business owners, local historian, etc.  I've also gotten to know quite a few of the local kids of all ages thru my various programs, and their parents.

And those book sales!  Many years of setting up and breaking down book sales, organizing Friends and teen volunteers to help schlep boxes.  First pick of the books (free) is a major perk of volunteering.

lhamo

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That sounds like the library where I had my first job.   It was the smallest branch in the large county system, in a small town in an unincorporated part of the county.  The librarian was married to the town postmaster, and they knew EVERYBODY!  My sister lucked into the page job when she was in high school, probably because we had been regulars at the library for several years and the librarian liked us.  She promised me the job when I was of working age a few years later, and that came to pass as well.  Totally illegal in today's hiring environment, probably.  But it was nice.

teen persuasion

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The postmaster!  How could I forget him?  He retired last year, and now he's the library's maintenance guy while his wife cleans the library.  And, yeah, the police chief was married to the town tax collector, and cousin to the other town supervisor (our library covers the two towns our school district covers).  The wife of the mayor/volunteer fire chief is in the library book club....  Everybody knows everyone else.

Case

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I've recently rediscovered a love for reading, and identified one of the obstacles that was hindering this habit previously.

It goes something like this: I research well-reviewed, popular books, then place them on hold through my local library.  Often this means I'm somewhere on a lengthy list of other people waiting for the book.

Fast-forward two months, and the library tells me I have 5 available.  Next week, another few available.  Week after, same.  Because I'm not a fast reader, these holds essentially go to waste ... I won't get through the books that have become available before the hold runs out, and checking them out with the intention to renew is no good because there are people waiting behind me to borrow the book.

I *purchased* a book a few months ago (awesome: supporting the author, not awesome: $12 gone) and honestly, I love the leisure of being able to read it on my own timeline. 

Would love to hear some encouragement and/or thoughts on this topic from other readers.  Thank you!

Only buy the cheapest paperback used books you can find.  It does not matter if a book is shiny new vs dingy old; as long as it's readable you're GTG.  Many books can be found for $0.01 online plus the cost of shipping (e.g. $5 total).

I am facing a similar dilemma b/c I just bought a kindle, and all of the books are $9 and the library selection is disappointing.

Bicycle_B

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This is one of my favorite threads ever.  Very Mustachian.  And books books books.  Plus, had no idea so many different good answers could be found.  Wow.

Noodle

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I am facing a similar dilemma b/c I just bought a kindle, and all of the books are $9 and the library selection is disappointing.

Per the Kindle--sign up for the Amazon Kindle Daily Deals newsletter. They put at least four books a day on sale for 1.99 or 2.99 and then will occasionally have bigger sales with 20-30 books. They also have monthly or seasonal sales that last for a longer time. A lot of the items are not all that exciting, but I have managed to find quite a few things worthy of acquiring! They will often put the first book in a series on sale when an author brings out a new book. Also, if you have Prime, they have a Prime reading program (different from Kindle Unlimited) where you can read books for free. Again, a lot are not all that exciting but they seed the mix with things like the first Harry Potter book.

FireHiker

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I got a kindle for Christmas two years ago, and now I check out e-books all the time. When I got my library card the librarian actually told me about the turning off wi-fi trick. I've only had to do it a few times, but it's pretty handy on longer books/when a bunch of hold come up at once.

I have tracked my savings, and in 2016 I saved $216.57, and I'm up to $216.02 so far for 2017, so $432.59, and my kindle was bought on sale for $100. I only track books that I don't already own at home; I've found I vastly prefer my kindle over actual books (I still can't believe it sometimes, I was very reluctant to try it out) so I sometimes check out e-books of books I already have. I used to be one of those people who would go buy $100 of books on a whim (from Borders before it closed), and it is still amazing to me that I can check out e-books from the library. I rarely used the library for actual books because of the hassle of returning them, fines, etc.

Pigeon

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If you have a kindle, you can sign up for notifications about free books at https://www.bookbub.com/ebook-deals/free-ebooks
and http://manybooks.net/categories/  A lot of the free books are self-published crap, but there are some decent ones from time to time. 

The University of Chicago Press gives away a free ebook every month.  http://press.uchicago.edu/books.html
I find many of those worth reading.

Tyson

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Yes, and once you get "behind the curve" of hot books, then you will always have reading material.

I do this with films, too. At this point in the year, I am perusing Rotten Tomatoes's best of 2016 list. All of the focus is off them and they can be checked out immediately at the library.

This is a GREAT strategy for almost any consumer good - music, books, movies, clothes, computers, phones, etc... Just wait till it is not 'hot/new' any more and scoop it up at massive discounts.

koshtra

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Unless you're reading about cutting edge science or current events, the older a library book is, the better it's likely to be. Books that don't circulate get cut pretty ruthlessly in modern libraries, so a twenty-year old library book is one that people have continuously wanted to read, year after year -- not because it's the newest thing or what everyone's talking about, but because it's good. A book that's been on the shelves for a while is already a well-reviewed book (by the community that frequents your library, anyway.) I'm a big fan of just walking into the section I like and pulling out a well-worn book or two that I've never heard of. The chance that they'll be worth reading is really way higher than the chance that a new book with fifty holds on it will be. And -- they're right there. No wait at all.