That Thing When All Your Library Holds Come In at the Same Time

avalanche of booksI just need to share a little rant: Why do all of my library holds come in at the same time?

I haven’t run the numbers, but I’d venture to guess that most of the new fiction that I read last year came from the library. There are too many books that I’m intrigued but not certain about that I like to grab from the library for a low-risk read. And I’m a cheapskate, so I’m pretty thrifty about which books I spend money on.

Because I live in a small town with a small library, I end up getting a lot of books from other libraries through a very robust interlibrary loan system, which I love. I also borrow my sister’s library card for ebook requests, since she is part of a much larger system that has embraced ebooks more fully.

I’ve got a lot of options for library books, but I’m inevitably on quite a few hold lists. Most of the time they’re not long, but they’re long enough that I don’t get instant gratification on books and I don’t really have control over when those books will be available. As much as I try to manage the list — putting my holds on hold or limiting the books I checked out on the fly — I seem to end up with all of these books that I’m excited about available at the same time.

Take this week for example: I got a notification last Friday that the ebook of The Woman Upstairs was available. On Monday, I got a message that the print copy I’d also put on hold (with the other library system — I was really impatient for this one) was waiting for me. I went online to put my other queued books on hold and discovered that A Tale for the Time Being is in transit from another library in my system. And this morning I got an e-mail that the ebook of Want Not is ready for me too.

Add this to the three other books I checked out last week — The Lightning Thief, The Telling Room, and Ask the Passengers — and you’ve got a pretty hefty stack of books to read on a three-week checkout deadline.

What is an avid reader to do? I have no idea, but I’m hoping that some of you other Riot readers will be able to sympathize. How do you take control of your library holds?

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