Oh, the library…

I have a confession to make: I stalk the Toronto Public Library.

The library publishes a list of new acquisitions online every 15th of the month. And every 15th of the month, I check out the new releases for business and other topics I’m interested, pick the ones I’m interested in, and hand my list off to an assistant who then performs my place-hold-on-book task for each and every book on that list. This takes more time than just reserving the books myself, but it saves me lots of clicking back and forth through the list.

Then the books slowly filter in. Some books already have a backlog of holds, fortunately, so I don’t (usually) have 50 books descending on the Annette branch all at once. We’ve set aside a shelf for library books, although they usually spill over to chairs and tables as well.

I snack on the books, browsing through them to find the nuggets of insight that distinguish books from the numerous others written on the same topic.

When my three-week window is up, the popular books go back, and the less-popular ones might either be returned or renewed. Then it’s almost the 15th again, with a fresh new batch of books waiting to be picked over…


  • Charles

    Do you buy books or do you find that you can make notes from the library books without the need to purchase? Buying books regularly will rapidly fill up your house, but I was wondering if you have some special books you bought.

    For me, I borrow library books as well and occasionally I will buy a really good “classic” book second hand through Abebooks.com, for example, Chris Vogler’s THE WRITER’S JOUIRNEY.

  • A very select number of books are keepers. For example, I will probably always want a copy of “On Writing Well” handy for inspiration.

    Some books are givers. I’ve given away or lent books like “Presentation Zen”, “Love is the Killer App”, and “Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need”. I keep picking up “Teach Your Baby” by Genevieve Painter so that my mom can give it away to new parents.

    Most books, however, say mostly what other books have said, except for a handful of interesting thoughts (if any).

    It’s difficult to tell which category a book belongs to until I’ve read it, so I usually check out a ton of books and slurp them in, looking for those pearls. Fortunately, I’m not too addicted to new releases. Blogs tend to satisfy my need for fresh thinking, and the Toronto Public Library keeps itself reasonably up to date.

    I almost always buy books online, and usually second-hand. That nets me a significant discount over in-store purchases. Amazon.com is decent (even with used books’ shipping charges). Amazon.ca is usually cheaper than Chapters, even with the additional discount from iRewards. (Looks like I can drop that from next year’s plan!)