I largely stopped buying books for myself four or five years ago when it became obvious that books were my latte factor. Beyond the expense there was also the question of storage, particularly as our spare rooms became bedrooms for our children. When I realized just how good our public library system was (almost always has anything I’m interested in and will let me make holds inactive if I’m not ready to read something), it became very hard for me to rationalize purchasing books, although I do still make some exceptions for favourite authors.
I tend to work at our local branch in the afternoon on my work day, and I always pick up a few new readers for E. given he’s now at the stage where his reading confidence is high enough that he’ll sit and read books on his own for fun (!!!!!). I’ll pick up holds for myself if they’re in, and I’ll sometimes even pick a book spontaneously off the shelf, which is something I haven’t done in years. I think it’s partly because of the proximity of the books- sitting for hours next to them makes it impossible not to get intrigued by a title. Mostly, though, it’s because on work days I have the time and space to go upstairs to the adult section.
I often go with E. as well at some point during the week, and sometimes I’ll pop in with P. when we’re out for a walk.
Last year we got E. his own library card after one too many occasions where I couldn’t check anything out because he had so many books out (and my library allows you to have 50 books out at any one time, so that really is saying something). The advantage to doing this is his fines are much cheaper than mine are. The disadvantage, of course, is now I have two library cards to manage and two accounts to track.
The combination of two different accounts and multiple weekly trips has meant that the rolling due dates have finally exceeded my ability to keep track of them all. Even with helpful email reminders two days before something is due I’ve found our fines slowly but surely increasing. I often wait until the last minute to renew a book because I know E. loves it, and if you renew early the new loan period starts from the date you renew and not the date it was originally due. This is a great system unless a) when you go to renew the book you can’t because someone else has put a hold on it (not very likely for E’s books but it does happen) and you don’t have time to get to the library that day, or b) you see the email, delete the email, and forget to renew the books two days later.
I’ve renewed all of E’s books and then forgotten that I had some due on the same day. I’ve missed picking up a hold before it expires (which costs $1). The total of my fines is still relatively small but it irks me because it is a system that SHOULD be free if I manage it correctly.
I try to view the fines as a very small donation to a system that gives my entire family enormous pleasure.
But it still bugs me I can’t quite keep it all under control.
Do you use and love your library as much as I do? Do you have a system that works for keeping track of the books and their due dates?
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