Libraries are ever-changing and have become much more than dusty book warehouses. Given the depth and breadth of resources and programs at local libraries, your local library probably has a heck of a lot more than books waiting for you!
We love checking out books from the library but also appreciate all the other benefits our local library offers. This post is part of a series about how our family uses the library beyond books. #LibrariesAreMoreThanBooks
Did you know that many libraries have much larger collections available for borrowing than the books you find on the shelves in your local library? Many libraries are part of larger networks of libraries that share collections via inter-library loans. This allows patrons from one library to have access to the whole collection shared by many libraries in the area without obtaining a new library card
One of the best features of the inter-library loans is that patrons can borrow books from any of the libraries and often pick them up at their home library. In other words, you don’t have to go to another library to borrow books that belong to it.
Sometimes it’s fun to show up at the library without specific books in mind and browse the shelves. If your library is small or you are searching for specific titles, however, you may not find the books you want on the shelves the day you show up.
Request Library Books Through Online Catalog
During almost every trip we make to the library, we use the library’s hold request service. The hold request service allows us to request books online or by phone from the entire network of library catalogs throughout the county in which we live.
After requesting the books online, we wait a few days for the books to be transported by the library’s network of drivers to our home library. Once ready, we receive a phone call or an email letting us know that we can stop by to pick up the books we requested.
The hold request service not only gives us access to a much larger variety of books but also makes the process of visiting the library and obtaining books much smoother, more pleasant, and much faster. On many occasions, I stop by the library without the boys while I’m out running errands to pick up the books that are waiting for us. We end up using the library far more often and maintaining a steady flow of new books for the boys to read without having to make a special visit and browse each time.
Get Library Books Via Curbside Pick Up
Since the pandemic began, many libraries (including ours) have added a curbside pickup operation. We used to go inside the library and pick up our hold requests from the circulation desk. These days, while that’s still an option to some extent, we can also call the library upon arrival. They bring our books out to a curbside table for pickup shortly after we arrive.
This feature, which I anticipate will continue for quite some time and maybe into perpetuity in some capacity, makes it even easier to pick up hold requests from the library. We do not even have to leave our car.
In the past, when my boys were younger, getting out of the car with a sleeping baby in the back or a cranky toddler may have been a deterrent from having to go inside and grab our books. With curbside pickup, I don’t even need to take my kids out of the car.
Hold requests and curbside pickup from the library make borrowing library materials so much easier, especially if I have a particular book, puzzle, or other material in mind. Do you search the library’s online catalog and initiate hold requests before visiting your local library?
Or do you have any other tricks to make visiting the library a more efficient and streamlined process? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.