To preface today's topic, I need to relate it has been a busy couple weeks. Watching a puppy is very similar to having toddlers around. The amount of time for projects diminishes into 30-40 minute bursts of time when combined with other required activities like food prep and housework. Gone is my ability to blog, to sew, to knit, to visit friends...I know my nieces can relate, I feel you Les and Stacie! All that pent up creativity, boxed up for the fleeting times when you have complete quiet for several hours and the energy, let's not forget energy. I do remember raising our girls, but I realize I have glossed over just how full my hands are with toddler, house, and fitting time in with my sweetie. By evening, after a day of puppy sitting, I am too tired to feel like sewing, I know I would make too many mistakes, so, instead I turn to a good book.
So, speaking of good books, I want to share some fun things about finding and borrowing books these days.
One traditional source of books has been the library. The hours of operation can be a challenge, some days they are closed, some days only open from noon to five and etc-- this irregularity can be even more difficult to manage if you work. Like many Boomers, I have very fond memories of going to the library regularly with my mother and sisters. The library has a certain smell and sound, both of which I love, it is a wonderful place, full of possibility, adventure and knowledge. To borrow books for several weeks, just long enough to peruse or read and then turning in for new ones, suits the current philosophy of recycling, is efficient, space saving, affordable and I can change interests quickly and satisfy the hunger accordingly. But as I mentioned, getting there isn't always easy, returning books late racks up late fees. Kindle, used bookstores and borrowing from friends used to fill a void for me, but I missed the library. Did you know...the library now comes to us electronically? I certainly didn't!
Several years ago at book club, friends described being able to borrow books and read electronically through several applications or reserve books and pick up at a library I designated. I stored the memory away, as all things computer take some quiet time and focus to master. Finally, last year, I came back to it, and now borrowing online is a regular resource I use. Do the younger people already know this, do my friends? Not only do they have books, but they have electronic books on tape and e magazines.
To find this resource, go to your county website for the public library. Look for electronic books or e-books in the menu. BE SURE to have your library card number. It is a matter of setting up an account and downloading an application. The log in is the library you use and your card number becomes the password. Read the how-to narrative which includes a link to download the application described, for our library it is called Overdrive, and then, go to the section where they list the books and audio tapes and have at it. When I select a book, it gives me the choice to download into Overdrive or onto my Kindle. If you go to Overdrive, you read it on the browser, e.g. you click the book icon in the library account and it directs you to Overdrive where the book opens to the first page or the place you last read.
Our library allows you to borrow 4 e-books at a time. If someone else is using, they have an option for you to place a hold, and they notify you by email once the book is available to read. If you have Kindle, you can also download the book into your Kindle book or onto the Kindle app using your Amazon account if you use Kindle application on a regular computer, iPad, or iPhone as I do. You don't have to have a Kindle book to use Kindle application. The library lets you keep the e-book for a couple weeks, then it goes back. No late fees. You can often renew if someone else is not waiting for it.
I have found e-books especially handy for "best sellers" or quick reads that are hard to recycle to used bookstores. I traditionally buy hardbound reference books, favorite reads and children's books for my home library. I carry some of my hardbound reference books electronically on my iPad as well, such as Claire Schaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide or Lonely Planet travel guides as they are too hefty to carry otherwise and I often need to look up particulars when I am in a store or traveling. Some hardbound books such as Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague come with access to e-book automatically, allowing me to download patterns as I use them. These type of books provide errata and other electronic updates, internet response to requests for help with a project question. How do you find books? What do you think about e-books and the e-library?
I find good books through my book club, the library ebook newsletter which has information on new books as well as I use their sorting mechanism to narrow down genres. I also have taken the time to make a Goodreads account, (another free online application), by providing the account with books I have read, it is able to offer suggestions of other books I might enjoy. Goodreads also has a newsletter. I can find my more literary girlfriends on Goodreads and follow them and others that select books I like to get more ideas on books to read. Amazon has lists of books such as New York Times best sellers and Edgar Awards, as well as lists made up by followers. Just last week, Colette, a favorite sewist blog started a monthly book club (the book was the Forgotten Seamstress, a great quick read that was available electronically).
Have fun, explore, write or call me if you need help doing this and you too will find a whole new love for the library! If you have a toddler, remember, audio books while driving or caretaking or stash a book in the only private sanctuary...the bathroom.