Top Ten Steps For Organizing Library Books | Giftie Etcetera: Top Ten Steps For Organizing Library Books

Monday, September 1, 2014

Top Ten Steps For Organizing Library Books

As part of my decluttering process, I basically gave up buying books.

Yes, it hurt. Yes, I might have cried a little.

I love the smell and feel of paper. Collecting stories is an incredibly, healthy high. But space and money are at a premium, so the decision to cut out owning books was reluctantly made. (My kids still each have a small collection).

Other than my Harry Potter collection, displayed on my fireplace mantle, I just don't have room in my tiny house for bookshelves. (The collection includes Harry Potter bookends and a time turner. The time turner doesn't work. I tried. Maybe it doesn't work because I'm a muggle?)


The local library came to my rescue.

By checking out library books instead of buying the books, I save tons of money. I can also get music for in the car, CD books for the kids, and DVD movies. I can even check out books for my Nook from the library. Those digital books return themselves, so I'm just going to explain how I manage my hard copy library books and other physical checked out items in this post.

1. ALWAYS write a reminder in your planner to return the items on the last day that returning the item is convenient.

For example, if the items are due on the 17th, the reminder is written on the 16th.


This assumes, of course, that there is time to return them on the 16th. If not, the 15th might be more appropriate. This is important, because if you wait until the actual due date to turn in the book, you might get sidetracked and miss the deadline.

2. Include the actual due date in the return reminder in your planner.

That way, you can reassess your trip to the library if something comes up. Or, you can see that you will not be done by the due date and recheck the items on-line.

TIP: If you have rechecked a book, note that next to the reminder. At my library, we get three three week renewals per item. I note it like this: 1x (rechecked 1 time), 2x (rechecked 2 times).

3. Include the number of items checked out in your planner.

This number includes all DVDs and CDs and other items, as well as books.

4. Include locations of book returns in the reminder entry, if those vary.

In my case, my parish (a Louisiana version of a county) and the neighboring parish, where my kids attend school, have reciprocal card holder agreements. This means that I can check out the books from either parish, but they must be returned to the correct parish's library.

TIP: Within a given county or parish, many library systems allow returns to any other branch in the same system. Check out books from one place and return it to another place, if that is convenient for you.

5. Keep the receipt listing items checked out and due dates in your planner until items are returned, unless tracking that on-line is easier for you.

This saves so much time when you can't figure out what book #15 might be, and you realized it's the CD in your car stereo.

6. Have a folded up tote bag in your purse or tote bag for unexpected library visits.

What, you don't find yourself browsing in the library to kill time while the pharmacy filled your prescription? You should change that! It's cheaper than shopping and much more satisfying!

7. Have two dedicated library totes (or more, if your kids each have one in their bedrooms)


One tote is for bringing home unread books. Another is for putting already read books in so that you know you are ready to return them to the library.

8. The only book not in the totes should be the one you are currently reading.

I keep that one next to my bed on the side table or in my purse.

9. Have a dedicated home for your library totes.


TIP: Consider using the trunk of your car if your weather is moderate and not humid.

Except when it is extremely hot in Louisiana summers, my dedicated location is in the trunk of my car. (Okay, Louisiana summers last most of the year. But in November, December, and January, I'm rocking those books in my trunk.) I park right outside my living room and am very motivated to grab a book out of the car. Because the books are already in my car, returns are simple when I am driving by the library anyway.


10. Create a Notes, File, or ABC File entry for library policies


In that entry, note important things that are good to reference while not at home, such as the numerical limit on check-outs, the number of magazines or new books the library allows, and the name of your favorite librarian.

Happy reading.

Etcetera.

4 comments:

Mathochist said...

You didn't mention my favorite way to keep track of library books (especially with multiple users and/or multiple libraries) - http://libraryelf.org. It logs into each account and gives you a detailed summary of what is due according to due date. It sends reminder emails, and I also link its calendar function right into my Google calendar so I can see when things are due. If your library subscribes to it, it's free for you to use. I am pretty sure EBRP does, but not sure about Ascension.

Christine Cortese said...

I work in a public library. I'm going to retire in 5 weeks and will use your ideas to keep track of my checkouts when I no longer have the "no fines" status that staff enjoy in our system. People don't realize how expensive it can be if you are late. In our system, unpaid late fees eventually go into collection & onto your credit report. Know your own library's policy on fines!

Lavender Life UK said...

You are a bless in my life!!!

Anna said...

When we were in the States, I would always get a receipt type ticket with the books checked out. Clipping that inside my binder always did the trick. We tried to make it to the library once a week for a program, so it was just a matter of taking the books we were done with or were due. Now we can still do Kindle books or audio books online from the library. Those return automatically, so there are no overdue fines. :)