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

Kim Ukura

Staff Writer

Kim Ukura is a book lover, recovering journalist, library advocate, cat mom, and lover of a good gin cocktail. In addition to co-hosting Book Riot’s nonfiction podcast, For Real, and co-editing Book Riot’s nonfiction newsletter, True Story, Kim spends her days working in communications at a county library system in the Twin Cities area. Kim has a BA in English and journalism from a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When not getting to bed before 10 p.m., Kim loves to read nonfiction, do needlework projects, drink tea, and watch the Great British Baking Show. Instagram: @kimthedork Twitter: @kimthedork

I 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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