Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm the octopus of the library

Recently I learned that you can use the Austin library's hold service through the web, and in an amazingly convenient way, to bring books from all over town to your local branch.

I thought the library hold was just for getting a book that someone else had checked out, to make sure you got to read it next and that they couldn't recheck it and keep it out. Or to make sure you got notified when the book got turned in.

But putting the whole library catalog online and automating the hold feature has made it possible to browse the entire library collection, select a book, and have it sent to the branch of your choice. You get an e-mail when the book arrives. 

(To do this, you need a library card and a pin number. You go to the library web site and log in via the My Account link. Then you search for books. When you find one you want, you click the Place a Hold button. That's it. If it's not checked out, it'll probably be at your library within a couple of days.)

As a result, I now have a tall stack of great books to read...including many of the books from the Fables graphic novel series. I'm the octopus of graphic novels, sending my tentacles far and wide to draw them in.

It's been really nice to see the libraries start to stock graphic novels, but I'd just about exhausted the selection at my local branch. When you're able to easily read books from the whole Austin library system, though, you get an impressive selection. 


  1. If you're using the library a lot, I found this bookmarklet invaluable:

    Since most people recommend books by linking to Amazon, it scrapes the current Amazon page you're on and redirects you to the corresponding APL page (if it exists).

    Also, is useful if you need to keep track of more than one person's due items.

    Chris Hunter

  2. Those are great resources!

  3. I do the same thing at the Boise Public Library. I do like going to the downtown branch, because you can actually park there and it's right by a nice river walk and a big city park.

    But the newest library branch is within walking distance of my house, which brings back a lot of nostalgia for the days I'd walk to the library as a kid in Las Cruces. That was a 45 minute walk each way, however, whereas I can get to this branch, pick up my books, check them out at the automated checkout, and get back home in about 30 minutes. Now I just have to read fast enough to keep up with the books I can get!