Francis, a bookshelf lizard.

Most people go to one library. I’m lucky enough to have access to two different library systems.

Library A is where I get most of my books from, because it’s a less than 10 minute walk away. And it’s connected to 25 other public libraries, so I have a pretty good chance of finding the book I’m looking for.

Library B is a half-hour drive, but has a much smaller amount of patrons, so if I want a popular book I can usually get it sooner. And it also has a great ILL (inter-library loan) librarian. You fill out a half-sheet of paper, and she will find that book. The only books I can recall her not finding for me was when I mistakenly requested an e-book, and then a book that hadn’t been published yet.

Once, I accidentally asked for a short story, and she somehow found that story in an anthology.

Fabulous, right?

The library’s getting rid of her due to budget cuts. She’s going to a job in England, which she said will be an adventure. But I’m going to miss her terribly.

And I was told they won’t be doing ILLs anymore, which is tragic, because Library A is horrible with ILLs. I stopped sending them there, relying instead on the nice ILL lady at  library B. I sent library A two requests, thinking maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember.

(I remember a failure rate that was perhaps 4 out of 5.)

Just like before, I got an email saying ‘sorry, we couldn’t find the book. If you still want it, try again in 8 weeks.’ Because they apparently only try a few libraries and then give up. I’ve also gotten emails saying they’ve found the book, but it’s checked out, so I should try again in 4 weeks.

Frustrating.

I know they have a lot of requests to deal with, but I just want to read the books! Not badly enough to buy them, but enough that I really wish I could get my hands on a library copy, dang it.

What do you do with books (not available at a library) that look interesting but not must-have? Do you buy them? Or just let them go unread?

UPDATED: I added a few requests. New confirmed failure rate 2 of 5. Not too bad, but not good, either.

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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