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Susan

Library Tip: Check Out Your Books Early and Often

Posted by Susan on March 17, 2010 at 12:00 AM in LibrariesSeasonal Books
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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Did you visit your library this week to find a book for St. Patrick's Day? Did you find anything? I'm guessing that you didn't. Or if you did, it was an old battered book that was published many years ago.

St. Patrick's Day.jpgHow can I be so telepathic? Because at every single library, on every single holiday, the relevant books are all checked out by the actual date of the holiday. And this doesn't just go for holidays. If you go into my library today, you'll find that all the books for spring are checked out. Pretty soon, as caterpillars start crawling onto the sidewalks, every book about how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly will be gone from our shelves.

Here's a tip: Never wait until the last minute to find seasonal books. Check them out a month before the season or event (even earlier than that is fine too). If you look at the Christmas books in November, you'll find all the newest and most popular books available for your perusal. If you wait until the middle of December, you'll find the dregs that other people decided no to check out.

I can certainly understand the desire not to spread out the holiday. However, most libraries lend books out for three weeks (with the option of renewal for another 3 weeks.) Many libraries let you renew twice, which means that if no one is waiting for the book, you can have it for up to nine weeks (over two months).

Don't forget to be considerate and remember that you're not the only one looking for books on that subject. Try not to take more than one or two holiday books so that there's enough for everyone else. (Unless, of course, you check out all the Passover books in September, when no one's looking for them). Also, as soon as you're done with a seasonal book, return it to the library so other people can check it out. For example, even though the St. Patrick's Day books got checked out already, we were able to find a couple that recently came back to give to the people who were looking for holiday books this week.

Where is the Green Sheep.jpgIf the library is completely out of the books you're looking for, be creative. A book like Mem Fox's beautifully crafted Where is the Green Sheep? works perfectly well. Or try one of Tomie dePaola's Irish folktales.

My library has the holiday books in the regular collection, but not every library has the shelf space to do that. If yours doesn't, ask the librarians where the books are when they're not on display. Many libraries keep their holiday books in their storytime rooms.

Have a lovely holiday.

3 Comments

Pam writes...

You are so right about finding the holiday books - also about not taking too many. St. Patrick's Day has just about always snuck up on me, and for years I've relied on DePaola's "Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato." (Looking at my looking library catalog, it's still available at seven branches.) Another one that slips through the cracks is "Kathleen O'Byrne, Irish Dancer" (at 11 branches) and the occasional leprechaun story that isn't filed as a St. Patrick's Day book.

Jennifer writes...

I checked out my St. Patrick's Day books a few weeks ago. I love to go on amazon.com to search for titles based on the subjects I'm interested in and then going to the library's website to find and check them out. They hold my books as they become available. Sometimes it takes a while so I look for holiday books about a month in advance. This year we checked out "Too Many Leprechauns" by Stephen Krensky, Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk" by Gerald McDermott and Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie DePaola. I think I'll go put the big potato book on hold right now!

Abby writes...

We just did our St. Patrick's Day/Green storytime for our storytime sessions this week and the kids LOVED Where is the Green Sheep! That makes me happy because it's one of my favorites, too. :)

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