My books wishlist on Amazon is pretty ridiculous.
Right now it has 69 items, and no matter what I do it seems to hover right around there. I may read one or two of the books, but since I’m so engrossed in book blogs and other bloggers and tweeters who also like to read, I’m constantly adding more, and so I’d say it usually skews to growing rather than shrinking. If you imagine that most of those books are around $10 for the Kindle edition (some are more, but others would be less so it would average out), I would need at least $700 to satisfy my book cravings! (Well, not to mention the amount of time I would need…)
On the flip side, I have ALWAYS been a fan of the library. When I was a kid, my mom would take me there weekly to check out STACKS of books. And it was one of my pleasures as a tween to be left to wander among the young adult shelves and pick out whatever I wanted. We even had a favorite librarian, Mr. B, who manned the video section. (Yep, VHS.) So as an adult I’ve always included the library on my charitable giving shortlist. Recently someone from the Atlanta-Fulton Library Foundation emailed me and asked if I could give a brief statement about why I choose to support the library. I said that I pay for Netflix to watch TV and movies, and I pay for books from Amazon, but at the library I can get that much enjoyment for free, and so it’s worth it to me to pay a little bit into to make sure I can continue having that option.
Here’s how I’ve started to approach using the library: I pull up my Amazon wishlist in one browser tab and the library catalog in another. I pick a book (at random usually) off the wishlist and search for it in the library catalog. If there are over 100 holds on (which is not unusual for a recent release) I leave it on the Amazon list because it’s probably worth my while to just buy. But if I has fewer, I’ll place a hold on it. I love doing holds because no matter what branch has the book in, you can request where you want to pick it up. There’s a branch near my home and one near my work, and you can also return books to any branch, so it’s awfully convenient. I’ll place a hold on usually 3 books at a time and wait until they’re all in to pick them up (for maximum efficiency). I get the books for a month and I can usually finish all 3 in that time (though if I can’t I could always renew online pretty easily). I return them as I finish, though, just so I don’t inadvertently start owing fines. And, voila! I’ve just removed 3 items from my crazy to-read list for free!
How do you approach your to-read list? Is the library a special place for you?