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The drawback to having a great library system

30 March 2010

I love the Des Moines Public Library system. No matter where I read book reviews (online, in The New York Times, in a radio interview, or in a genre anthology), if I go looking for a particular title, DMPL will already have it. Excellent!

(As an aside, that was one serious drawback to our sabbatical year in New Hampshire — the small-town local library had a much smaller budget, so anything “newish” I wanted to read, I had to buy instead of borrow.)

Another aspect of DMPL that I like is that their catalog is up on the Web site, so I can either check that a book I want is in at my home branch before I head out there, or — and this is the genius part — I can request it online and it will be brought to my home branch for me. Sweet!

The problem is, I have yet to figure out a good way to time my requests. See, some new books have long wait lists, and I can be #8 or #16 on a list. Other times I am the first to hit the online catalog after an online review, so I grab it before anyone else can (heh, heh, heh). This means that it’s often feast or famine with my To Read pile. Right now, I have the following books from the library:

  • Independent People (by Halldór Laxness) — Nobel Prize winner considered the national author of Iceland. I read about him in a NYT article on the Icelandic nation having to pay back the bank bailouts.
  • Catching Fire (by Suzanne Collins) — book 2 of the Hunger Games series (I reviewed the first one one my 2010 book list page). I first read of this series on a blog I follow.
  • Misquoting Jesus (by Bart D. Ehrman) — listened to a Fresh Air interview with him last week.
  • The Infinities (by John Banville) — reviewed by my favorite Georgetown University on-air commentator, Maureen Corrigan.

I’m also in the middle of two books I’ve purchased:

  • Desert (by JMG Le Clezio) — another Nobel winner, which I am reading in French. The reading is easy, but the story is sloooooooowwww, and doesn’t grab me, so I am plugging away at it slowly.
  • Good Omens (by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman) — come on, two of my favorite British fantasists, writing together; how can I not read this?

Add in the knitting and the facebooking and the online surfing — well, that’s a lot to get through in three short weeks.

So, that’s the drawback. But I’m not complaining, I just have to figure out how to juggle it all in. How do you all deal with the reading issue — buy all your books, request one at a time, …???

10 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 March 2010 6:47 pm

    Oh, I love Good Omens!

    We have a pretty library system here, too (with a similar “find it in the online catalog and have it sent to your local branch” feature–something I very much appreciate because nearly all of my library visits are in the company of a four-year-old who quickly gets bored when I want to browse the “grown-up” books). I don’t ever want to read books right after they come out, so by the time I want to check them out they are usually available.

  2. 30 March 2010 9:20 pm

    Good Omens is awesome.

    And ROCK ON Iowa Libraries! Marian would be so, so proud.

  3. 31 March 2010 12:42 am

    just sharing the Good Omens love!

    i’ve not nothing more interesting to add 🙂

  4. KathyR permalink
    31 March 2010 7:34 am

    I liked Independent People very much.

    I’ve got Catching Fire on a to-read shelf.

    John Banville gives me a headache.

    • Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
      2 April 2010 11:45 am

      Corrigan definitely made The Infinities sound good. We’ll see — I don’t usually like modern “literaturists”. I typically prefer my writers dead (and in many cases white and male).

  5. 31 March 2010 10:16 am

    So glad to hear how much you love our DMPL! We love our customers as well!

    Wanted to be sure that you were aware of the change status feature for your reserves. If you are backed up with too many books, simply visit your account, then select with a check mark any books that are soon to become available, and then choose the “suspend until” date that you prefer. Your reserve list will automatically start up again on that date. (Your queue position remains the same during your suspension.)

    There is also a change status button where you can control the date but you do have to remember to go back in and change the status back again to active. If this is not clear, just ask one of our helpful librarians for further details the next time you are in the library. Hope to see you soon!

    And be sure to check out our upcoming AViD Author Series featuring ten outstanding authors–beginning April 13 with Peter Hedges!

  6. Cateling permalink
    31 March 2010 12:41 pm

    Yay for excellent libraries! The ICPL is similarly fantabulous!

    My brother reads Pratchett, but I never have been grabbed by his books. Maybe I will give Good Omens a shot, since so many here seem to like it.

    Right now I am reading the Lord John books by Diana Gabaldon. Funny how so many editors decline in actual editing as famous writers become more famous, eh? (I’m looking at you too, JK Rowling.)

  7. 1 April 2010 11:38 am

    Funny, just the other day, I said to my husband that I wished our local (county) library system had a NetFlix like queue system – so that the books came in one at a time. Otherwise, I end up in the middle of fourteen books at once.

    (I love that the DMPL responded to you.)

    • Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
      2 April 2010 11:45 am

      (I know! Me too!)


  8. 2 April 2010 9:20 pm

    Independent People is on my short list of great novels. But some read it and wonder, WTF? It grows on you.
    I don’t use the library here in Seattle. I buy the books I want, usually in the form of used paperbacks. Mostly they’re keepers.

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