There are times when you’re just overwhelmed by all the wonderful books available at the library. At least, I hope there are.  You walk up to the new fiction and the new nonfiction shelves and you see half a dozen — or more! — books that practically beg you to read them.  You pick them up, read the inside covers, feel intrigued, start putting together a pile of books to take out, and then you look at the pile and realize that you have chosen ten books, all of which you’re supposed to read within two weeks. Or, worse yet, you discover the brand new bestseller on the Express shelf and of course you need to take that, and the other new bestseller that everybody’s talking about, and you know perfectly well there’s no way in this world or the next that you’re going to be able to read both those books in a week (and of course, since they’re expresses, you can’t renew them).

So many books, so little time.  What to do?

Well, the obvious answer is to put things on hold.  Choose one or two of the books to read right now and put the rest of them on hold. That way, you’ll get the other books when you have more time to read them.

The only problem with that, of course, is when all the books you’ve put on hold come in at the same time, and you arrive at the library to discover you have ten books waiting for you, and all the holds are going to expire within a few days.  You are, in short, in the same position you were in when you were first overwhelmed by the riches available at the library and put those books on hold.

There’s a solution, naturally. You can suspend your holds, and if you’re clever about it, you can set things up so you get the books arriving in a steady, but manageable, stream over a period of time, so you’ll be able to finish the first few before the next few arrive on the shelf with your name on them. You can do this yourself online, or you can have a clerk or reference librarian do this for you at the library.

If you’re doing this yourself, place the hold as usual (go to easywls.org, log in, search for the book, click on “place hold”), and then go to “My Account,” go to the Holds tab, and at the very bottom, you’ll see a button called “suspend holds.”  Select the hold or holds in question, and then a pop up box appears asking when you want to suspend the hold and when you want the hold available again. There’s even a little calendar widget to help you decide when you want the books to come in.

The alternative is to ask a librarian to do this for you, but isn’t it cool to be able to do it for yourself?

This suspension of holds is also really helpful if you’re going to go on vacation and don’t want your holds showing up when you’re not there to get them (losing your place in line), or if you’re about to be involved in something time-consuming that will make it impossible for you to do some serious reading (planning a wedding, say, or a family reunion).  All you have to do is choose when you’ll be ready to read again and your books will come to you then. Simple and so helpful!

There’s only one thing you have to watch out for if you’re suspending holds: make sure you don’t have them all unsuspended at the same time, or else you’ll run into the same problem once again.

Of all the problems in the world, wanting to read more books than you have time for is probably one of the most pleasant, and one of the easiest to solve.  So go forth and suspend!


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