My Favorite Library Hacks

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The only time I actively ran away from my family was inside of a library. I was begging my mom to take me to the “playground” (a modern art structure… still don’t really understand that style) outside and she had no idea what I was talking about. I quietly excused myself, brought some reading material and was found by my frantic mom reading on a sculpture beside one of the busiest roads in the city. My high maintenance, nerdy ways haven’t changed a bit- I devour everything from biographies to cookbooks to DIY manuals and I have a thing for that “new book smell”. While I have had my fair share of mockery on airplanes and by friends, the tips I’ve picked up are worth their weight in gold!

  1. Check out magazines: Most of the libraries I have been a member of offer apps where you can download nearly any magazine you can think of. As much as I love a new paper copy in the mail (Christmas morning!!), sometimes I need inspiration on the fly. Through the Zinio of RB Digital app, I’ve been able to download current and back issues of everything from Cooking Light, to Southern Living, to Martha Stewart Weddings, to Oprah. My husband was shocked to find The Economist for free as opposed to his costly subscription- talk about economically sound decision making! Also, for my NC friends, you have access to a full library of Our State Magazine (I paid about $40 for this myself!). Download a few to your phone or iPad for offline reading before a trip and you’re good to go!
  2. Listen to Audiobooks– In addition to the magazine apps, my library in Virginia offered a free service called Hoopla for immediate downloads of audiobooks. Their selection was amazing and much more updated than the regular library catalog. Every library also offers an online download library as well (most use Overdrive) that features eBooks, audiobooks and music.
  3. Download eBooks- Most of my friends say they’re aware the library offers free digital downloads for eReaders, but have never given it a try. It’s honestly one of the easiest things ever! Overdrive works through Amazon, so you can simply download a book from the library catalog and send it directly to your Kindle in seconds. They’re also available offline, so you never have to worry about connectivity when you’re reading on the beach! As soon as a new book comes out, I get on the waiting list on the eCatalog and have it automatically download the minute it’s available.

The best eReader secret I’ve ever received is to turn on Airplane Mode on your Kindle if you aren’t finished reading a book before it’s due. That keeps the book in your personal library until the next time you connect to the internet! A little scandalous, but hey, one does what one must.

My routine is to start by scanning the Amazon best seller list, Goodreads, Pinterest and my favorite blogs every month to find out what I want to read. Then, I’ll go on to my library and hop on the waiting list. I set each one to be picked up at my local library, and then I get an email as soon as they’re available. It couldn’t be easier!

(Background image via Evelyn Henson)