Nerd alert! I’m about to tell you how to get the most out of your library card.
I love the library. Loooooooove. And not just because I love to read (which I do). A library card opens up this whole world of new experiences. Books (obviously), movies, kids programming, community events, e-books, and more.
Plus, I don’t even have to search for what I want. I can request it, and POOF! my book or movie is waiting for me, tagged with my name, for whenever I’m ready to pick it up.
I’m going to tell you a few ways I make the most out of my library card. If I’m missing anything, please let me know. I would love to learn even more great ways to use this community resource.
Also, my library system may be different than yours. But hopefully these tips will come close to what you can do at your local library.
1. A personalized booklist – I am constantly reading blogs about books and talking about books with friends, and I used to make a mental list of everything I wanted to read. But then I would quickly forget. Now, I keep a running list on my library’s website called “to read.”
I log in with my library card and pin number, search for a book, then click “add to list.”
When I’m ready to read one of the books on my list, I click on the title and request the book from my local library branch. Which brings me to tip number two.
2. Request and pickup – Maybe you live in a city with a huge library that always has all the books in stock in an easy-to-find manner. My library is somewhat small and organized in a confusing way, so searching for books is not easy. When I figured out that I could request books, my reading life became instantly simpler. Instead of searching (and usually not finding) what I want to read, I go to my library website, type in the keywords (or click on a title from my “to read” list), and click “place request.”
When my book is ready, I get an email telling me to come pick it up within 7 days. I walk back to the hold shelves, find my name, and pick it up. Easy peasy. This is also helpful when I’m requesting a new book or movie that is popular and has a huge waiting list. I put my request in, read something else, and eventually get the email to pick it up. I don’t mind waiting because there are enough books on my list to cover me until it’s my turn.
3. E-book rentals – We just learned about this, and although I prefer real books, e-books are great for traveling. Go to OverDrive.com to sign up with your local library.
4. Movies – Our library has DVDs and BlueRay movies that are FREE to rent for 7 days. I know not all libraries have free rentals (some are $1-2), but it’s worth checking out your local library policy. For new movies, I use the request system (described in tip #2) so I don’t have to keep checking the shelves.
5. Kids programs – Lego clubs, science labs, reading to pets, story time – libraries are incredible resources for families. Check out your library calendar for a list of events.
6. Preview before you buy – Sometimes I see a book and wonder if I should buy it. I’ll check it out from the library first, and if I decide to buy a copy, I’ll return it and buy one. If not, I have just saved myself some money. Use the library to preview books and movies before you buy them. (I do this a lot with cookbooks.)
So there you have it: How to get the most out of your library card. If you don’t have one, go get one. You too, could be a nerd like me.