If this is your first time visiting, you might want to subscribe so you'll be notified when there's something new to read! See the sidebar below to subscribe. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Taming the Library Book Chaos

In the past few months, I have both misplaced a library and almost had to pay to replace it; and had the library re-check out one of my returned library books before crediting the return to my account (almost had to pay for a library book again). And then of course, there's the always the overdue fines... What to do about this irritating problem? Obviously, we're not going to stop checking out books from the library. We're not even going to check out fewer books from the library. So, I've been racking my brain to try to come up with a good system for keeping up with our family's library books. Here are the basic guidelines typically offered for keeping up with your library books:

1. Keep them in one place.
I've heard it suggested many, many times that you should have a specific place you keep your library books at home. This doesn't work well for us. We check out too many books, and we like to be free to read them wherever we want. What might work for us is to instead have some rules about where our library books don't go; like in the car, outside, over to friends' houses. Even these limitations disappoint me some, because we do rely on our library for so much of our reading...

There's also this cute idea for a place to keep your library books!

2. Have a list of what you have checked out.
This idea is easy in theory because just about every library will print you a receipt with the list of books you have checked out. They will also usually keep a list of what's checked out on your online library account. The online list is much more helpful than the paper receipts that get lost and are hard to keep up with. Plus, if you make multiple library trips, your online account will still have everything checked out, on each visit, listed in one place. My family's challenge is that we have three library cards we use and so I have to make sure I check the online record for each card, or I will miss something! Our library sends email reminders when things are coming due, and that helps a lot. I recommend opting in for that if you can at your library.

There is also an online service called Library Elf that looks like it could be helpful with keeping track of library books!

3. Visit the library regularly.
It's a great idea to have a specific day you visit each week. That way, stuff gets returned regularly, and on time. The idea is to check out only what you think you will be able to read in a week, or two weeks (however often you are visiting), and then bring it all back on your next visit. Our family's challenge is that we have two local libraries we visit. We have more than once returned the wrong books to the wrong library, even when we were trying to check and be careful. So on top of trying to keep all the usual library book stuff straight, we are trying to keep it straight for two different libraries! It's a wonder we haven't had to pay more fines than we have! My other problem is that I have no restraint when it comes to checking out books. I will always check out more books than I can read in a week or two. Always. There's no hope for me.

Considering all the challenges our family has when it comes to keeping up with library books, I guess I should be happy with our success rate.

I've decided that what I need to do is check my online account regularly, and print a list off when I return things that I can check things off on. I need to know for my own sanity which items got put in the drop box and which didn't. Beyond that, the best I can do is simply try to be careful.

How do you keep track of your library books? Help me!

No comments: