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An Embarrasment of Riches

Last year, I made some changes to my reading habit.   Changing not so much what I read, but how I was reading:
I slowed my reading pace.
I started taking notes and writing reviews.
I committed to using my library more.

It's that third one I want to talk about today.  Using my library more.


When I was a child, I loved going to the library.  It was my Happy Place!  I loved nothing more than walking through the stacks, choosing books at random.  Reading and reading and reading.

As an adult, though, with empty bookcases at home and suddenly-everywhere big box bookstores, I started purchasing books.  I built my own library.  Still reading and reading and reading -- but no more worries about due dates.

I told myself that the library didn't have the books I wanted to read anymore.  That I couldn't get the books I wanted to read immediately.  I convinced myself that it was better to just buy what I wanted to read.  So I did.

What was I thinking???

So, a couple of years ago, I went through every book in our house and ended up donating 30-some boxes of books to my local library for their quarterly book sales.  And I donated boxes of my kids' books to their former school libraries.  And I dropped off books to other local organizations that promote literacy or protect women and children.

And I started to use the library again.  

At first, I mostly used Overdrive to check out books.  I think Overdrive works wonderfully -- so convenient and so easy.  But I often have to wait months and months (and months) for the titles I most want to read.  So I started reserving books through my local library's online system.

Ohmygod!  It's raining books here!!!

It seems there are rarely people requesting the books I want to read through the actual library.  And although the library doesn't have every title I want, they have most of the titles I want.  I've been able to pick up books at my library - right away with no wait at all - that I've been waiting months to read through Overdrive.  I put in a hold through my library's online system, and I get a notice that I can pick it up. 

It's an embarrassment of riches, I tell you!


I'm making a few housekeeping changes here on my blog.  I've added a sidebar list of the books I've recently read (through Goodreads) if you're interested.  I stopped blogging about my reading when I started posting reviews on Goodreads -- so just click in if you're interested in what I'm reading and what I thought of it.



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This, all of this! Last year, I read over 200 books and almost every single one of them was from my local library. It is an astounding resource!

And, yesterday as I waited in line to pick up a hold - they were helping an older gentleman with some issue he was having with social security. A good reminder that they are also so much more than books!

All the love for the libraries here!


Most of what I read is from our local library which is part of Illinois Heartland Library System, a group of libraries that share resources. If my library doesn't have a book I want, I can go online and request a book and I get a text when it arrives at my library, usually it takes just a few days. Happy reading!


You have to know that I simply ADORE this post! It made me laugh and smile and I'm just thrilled that you are using the public library. People always talk about how the library is free and I'm quick to point out - no, it's not. I like to use the term pre-paid rather than free. It's funded with your tax dollars - whether you use it or not - so PLEASE use the library! I'm not surprised that the books you want to read are readily available since you don't read typical best-seller books but more high brow stuff. I do think it's too bad you have to wait so long for a title from Overdrive, though. I would encourage you to make that known to your librarian so that perhaps they can adjust the allocation of their book budget towards more e-book purchases. We have done that steadily over the last few years and it's made for some very happy library users.


Oh! So many memories. I loved to go to the library as a kid. Our local library was in an old house and I would climb the creaking stairs to the children's section. Our local library now (different town) is smaller, but also very nice. I read plenty on my Kindle, but sometimes I miss "real" or "old fashioned" books - so much easier to flip back.

It doesn't surprise me that books are easier/faster to get hold of at the library - I think so many folks just use an e-reader of some kind now.

Thanks for the memories and the reminder - I need to pay my local library a visit.

Kim in Oregon

Thanks for so many great ideas!


I did the same thing! For me, I think it was a case of I want to read what I want, Right Now with no waiting. But one day I got tired of waiting for things on Overdrive and actually went to the library and discovered the treasure trove. I have fun now just browsing, choosing books by their covers, picking up and checking out ones that look interesting. I still place holds on Overdrive for things that I'm willing to wait for, but I rarely buy a book.
P.S. I loved Tell the Wolves I'm Home and am still waiting for Carol Rifka Brunt to write a second book.


I’m fascinated by the evolution of reading. I was blessed to have a branch of the local library one block from my home growing up. I can’t actually recall when I moved from using my library to purchasing books, but I do know that the numerous gift cards I received from students kept me buying books. I’ve been slow to embrace Overdrive but I think it’s time to go back to my library.

Dee Kissinger

I am so lucky. Every city I have lived in have had amazing library systems. While Orlando had the most automated system, I love the library here too. It has a lot of nice features including one of our branches that lends out KNITTING NEEDLES!!! How cool is THAT? Try before you buy.

Jacksonville had the prettiest libraries --- downtown Jacksonville's main library is an amazing work of art.


I adore my library. It’s part of the King County Library System, consistently rated one of the busiest library systems in the country. I use the reserve feature all the time. I can’t rememebr the last time I just walked in and checked out a random book. I like to reserve both the digital and hard copy of books; whichever arrives first is the one I read and I cancel the other hold. And a couple years ago I started checking out cookbooks. I had a bit of a cookbook collecting many books that sounded great but that I never ended up using. Now I check them out of the library first, look them over, and try a few recipes before I buy my own copy. This has saved me hundreds of dollars. I love the library!


I've noticed the same thing ... maybe folks have just forgotten that libraries can also lend REAL BOOKS? managing the queue is still a challenge. I guess that's just the way with books :-)


YES! I have a library card from Kensington, where I live, but also from Oakland, where I work, AND Berkeley, AND San Francisco, and I use them ALL. Books, ebooks, books on CDs. Libraries (& librarians) are wonderful. I do regularly have to put holds on my requests to prevent them from coming in all at once. And all those books? Spark joy and then go right back to the library so someone else can read them rather than collecting dust on my shelves.

PS Truth & Beauty is one of my top twenty. Wrenching, unflinching, and yes, beautiful.


Count me in as another library lover -- I use their overdrive system to get kindle books and audiobooks, and sometimes I even reserve book books ;-) I don't often find a difference in the wait for physical books and e-books. I'm getting better at reserving books and then suspending my hold request to try to even out the flow of their arrival. For the e-media, your place in line is preserved, so once you are #1, you'll be the next person to get it, once you "unsuspend" it. The Mid-Columbia library system is pretty terrific!


Oh yes, I love my library! We use them for CDs, movies, books, and Overdrive. I've had fairly good luck with wait time (not long for anything) and I even got to know a couple of the librarians because Mylo ate two library books (library books are a favorite of his). I have learned where books are safest. :)


I have always loved the library too! (You just resurrected a memory where I told the librarian I was going to be a nun!) I'm actually reading trash right now because that's all I could get through Overdrive as everything else has a wait time. I should do a little more digging in the on-line catalog myself! Great post Kym!


Quite a conundrum. I love libraries and use them a lot. On the other hand publishers cannot stay in business from library customers alone. So I'm glad a lot of people buy their books. Or they wouldn't be there in the libraries to borrow in the first place. OnI buy a book every once in a while. Chloe

Caffeine Girl

I use my library, but I also buy books. For one thing, I live in a very literary city, and it can be a challenge to get just about any book. I've waited up to a year for newer books! So, I treat myself to a new book now and then. I also like to buy books if they are longer and nonfiction so I can underline things that jump out at me.

All that said, I use the library all the time for older books, for art books, for short fiction. I would be lost without it!

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