The Secret to Reserving New Movies and Books at the Library


Until recently, the only reason I went to our library was because of the kids. That’s what dads and moms do, right? We take our kids to the library for story time and all those wonderful children books waiting to be checked out by our little ones. Even though my kids love checking out books, I never bothered checking out books or movies for myself. That’s because all the ones I wanted were already checked out by evil moms and dads. I can’t believe they didn’t let me read the book first.

Last year, I discovered you could reserve library books and movies online (anyone remember the old library card catalog?). The library’s online reservation system works great for books, CDs, and DVDs that are not in big demand. But if you want to save money by reserving a new item, then good luck to you. From my experience, there’s usually a couple hundred parents that have already requested a hold on a popular book, CD, or movie.

Now take a look at the screen shot below. As you can see, I was number four on the hold list for Dan Brown’s new book (The Lost Symbol). Last Tuesday (when the book was released), there were 645 people who requested a hold on the book at our library (currently: about 800 hold requests for The Lost Symbol). Cool, huh? Read on and I’ll reveal the secret to reserving new DVDs and books at the library.

Library requests

The secret to my success is this: I reserve the new DVD, CD, or book before it arrives at the library. With our online library system, you can place a hold on an item as soon as it is ordered. As you can see in the screen shot above, I put a hold for The Lost Symbol more than three months ago (6/1/2009).

Library dvd on order

Right now you’re probably thinking, how in the world is a non-psychic dad or mom suppose to know when the librarian places an order for new movies, books, and CDs? Well, if you’re got a lot of time on your hand, you can conduct a daily search for a title using your library’s online system. Yeah, I know. Moms and dads do not have time to do a search every day until the item is finally order. That’s where our library’s saved searches feature comes in handy. With our library’s saved search feature, moms and dads can easily setup a search to run automatically and have the results emailed to them. A very awesome feature.

Library saved search

A couple of more tips for reserving movies, books, and CDs at the library:

  1. Run the saved search manually
    Our library’s saved searches feature can only be run automatically on a weekly or monthly schedule. You can improve your chances of being at the top of the queue by running the saved search manually. Even though it’s manual, all you have to do is click on a link. You don’t have to re-enter the search parameters each time you want to run the search.

  2. Setup your saved searches as soon as possible
    The earlier you setup your saved searches, the better off you will be. You should create a saved search when you first see a trailer or an ad for a book, movie, or CD you like. You can also consult Amazon for titles of CDs, movies, and books that will be released in the near future.

Note: The saved searches feature is probably not available with all library systems. Our library uses the Polaris Library Systems.


10 thoughts on “The Secret to Reserving New Movies and Books at the Library

  1. It’s nice to have so many resources today. I LOVED The Lost Symbol. I thanked my husband again for spoiling me with my Kindle that kept from any wait or any traveling to get my hands on. How great that you’ve nailed the reservations element of your library. I hope your wait is short!

    .-= Holly Schwendiman´s last blog ..The Nature of Busy =-.

  2. How interesting! I am one who thinks the library is only for story hour and children’s books. And yes the good books are usually gone when I do venture over to the adult section. And I never think to look for DVD’s or CD’s there. And our public library is within walking distance from my house.
    .-= peepnroosmom´s last blog ..Two weeks of school under our belt. =-.

    1. It’s not that I have to have the book the first week. It just that if I wait, several hundreds people would be ahead of me on the hold list and that would mean I wouldn’t get the book for several months – maybe even a year.

  3. Thanks for the tips. I can’t believe, though, how long your line is for reservations of new books. If I was #645, I think I would give up. I mean, for a 3 week check out, we are talking a little over 4 years before you can read it. That is an accomplishment to be # 4. I too love the public library. As a matter of fact, I just got back from there a couple of hours ago. I tend to check out whats in stock though. -Jason
    .-= The Devoted Dad´s last blog ..Happy Fall Part II =-.

    1. Our library ordered over 90 copies (some of them are not holdable). The wait is still very long and it would probably take about a year. I think we have a lot of hold requests because people can easily request it online. Plus our unemployment rate is over 12%.

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