how we borrow library books

When you take your kids to the library, do you let them pick out their own books to take home? My kids have a niche in finding the stupidest (and longest!) books, so honestly, I don't.

This is what I do instead.

Our library system has a great book reservation service where I can make unlimited book reservations online and pick them up when the books are ready (usually in 2-3 days if the books are readily available). So, every 2 to 3 weeks I will sit down in front of the computer and reserve between 20 to 25 books.

This brings me up to my next question - how do you find good books, with so many bad ones out there?

When selecting books, I think about what the kids are currently interested in, take any upcoming holidays (like the Lunar New Year or Valentine's Day) into consideration, and try to recall if the kids have any specific requests. I use Amazon to find age-appropriate books and read reviews before placing the books on reserve.

Tip: Not only Amazon is good for reviews, but the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section is invaluable to me. When the kids love a certain book, I will search for that book on Amazon and refer to the suggestion list to find similar books.

The other night I spent a good amount of time selecting and reserving a new stash of books for the kids. Will is still in the thick of his dinosaur-loving phase so there is a bunch of those books coming. I remembered Anna asking for Clifford the Firehouse Dog after seeing a picture of it on the back of another Clifford book so I reserved that, too. I thought back to one of Luke's favorites, Lost and Found, and reserved two more books by the same author.

Making reservations at home is so convenient and it saves me the headache of going through the shelves at the library while keeping an eye on two kids, especially since Will likes to climb the furniture and doesn't understand quiet voice yet.

When we go to the library with a batch of books waiting for us to pick up, the trip goes a lot smoother. We stay for 30 to 45 minutes and, during that time, the kids brings me whatever books they want me to read right then and there and I let them pick out a few books of their own choosing to take home. When we are done, I grab the books I have on reserve, the kids fight over who gets to scan the books, and we head home.

As the kids get older, I will rely less on the reservation service and give them more free choice, but right now this works for us.


  1. I really love the reviews on amazon... people really get honest (for the most part). Great idea on the library reservations!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  2. We do the same thing. If I forget to put any on reserve, I usually do some looking while the kids play with toys. Some days I can't find anything that looks good and other days it's every book I pick up!

  3. I tend not to use the reservation system because I have NEVER picked them up in time, hehe. I just never know when I or the kid wants/has time to go to the library. So, we just roam around the kid's section and he picks out alot of books to read. And toward the end of our hour there, I ask him if he wants to bring any of the last ones home. This weekend when we got home, he asked me where such-and-such a book was. I was like, You didn't say you wanted it. We'll get it next time.

    I'm just so glad that my kid loves to read! Plus, it gives us a chance to test-ride books before bringing them home.

    LOL on kids picking the longest books. My son also does that, especially right before bed.

    1. For us the books are on hold for a week so I usually can find time to pick up, either by myself or with the kids. Once a week, Grandma takes Will to story time so she can pick up for me too.

  4. The same problem happens for adults too - finding "good books" that is - there is sooooooo much "trash" out there! Fortunately the library is a "cheap" way to "peek" at a book and leave it behind if it is trash!

  5. I haven't tried the reservation system for the kids since I find it faster for me to look through the shelves. I'm more of a visual person so it' usually the illustrations that draw my attention, then I just quickly scan the book to see if it's "good". I let my kids pick but then they get distracted with all the other activities in the children's section, like the computer or toys/games. This gives me ample time to browse :) - Eva


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