It won't surprise you that as a book lover we really love our library. I'd go absolutely broke buying all the books I want to r...

Finding Great Books at the Library

Saturday, March 02, 2019 BookBairn 8 Comments

It won't surprise you that as a book lover we really love our library. I'd go absolutely broke buying all the books I want to read if it wasn't for the library (though I know we are very fortunate to get sent books from publishers thanks to our status as book blogger-influencer).  In fact last year over half the books I read were borrowed from the library. If you are looking to raise a reader, then the library is a great way to do that! We often borrow books that we otherwise might not have come across as well as test out books before we buy.

If you follow my Insta Stories you will know that I go to the library with the bairns on a weekly/fortnightly basis and we often check out a bundle of really great books. And when we do share I get so many questions about how we find such great books at the library and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to share.

1.  Put books on hold. As someone who is actively involved in the children's book world on social media I see a lot of great recommendations and I instantly want to read them. So whenever I see a book I would like to read (be it children's or adult's) I take a screenshot on my phone or save it on my Instagram tabs and when I have a little more time I pop over to our library's online catalogue (most libraries have this - ask your librarian next time you are in) and search on there and request them. Or you could just pop in with a list and ask the librarian's to do it for you! Sometimes it takes a few days and other times it takes a couple of weeks but we always get what we are looking for and they just send a text to say that the books are in. This is great if your children go a little wild in the library - you can still check out books without staying too long or having to scour the shelves as well as supervise those little monkeys! We are lucky that in our local authority it is still free to request books but if there is a small fee think of it as much cheaper than buying a book!

2.  Find your library's sweet spot. Don't be fooled by the great hauls of books we often pick up - our library can be hit or miss just like everyone elses, especially when it comes to board books. But we have learned how to find our library's sweet spot! I know that it's never a good idea to go to get a great haul of books from our library on a Wednesday or a Thursday because they host their Bookbug session on a Wednesday morning so it's usually well and truly wiped out as other people have been in early (unless of course you are going specifically for the Bookbug session in which case I'd make sure you arrive fifteen minutes before the session starts and get your books checked out and in the buggy before anyone else gets their hands on on them!). I also know that the deliveries come from the central library as well as transfers from other libraries on a Monday and a Thursday so the shelves are restocked on those days and being in bright and early on a Tuesday and a Friday are the best days to get the best hauls. And that's also the day my holds are likely to be in too!

3.  Ask the librarian. Your librarians are there to help you! They want to help you. They want your children to be readers too. So ask for their help! They will be able to tell you every single dinosaur book that the library has in stock and find them much quicker than you. They will be able to find you a princess book that doesn't make your feminist-self weep as she is rescued by the prince and then succumbs to his charms. They know more about your library than anyone else. Let them help you!

4.  Let you kids choose themselves. Whilst my children are colouring (thank goodness our library has colouring) I tend to quickly peruse the shelves and pick out a bundle of books for them to choose from. We usually test a couple to make sure that we like them but ultimately I let them choose which ones to take home (and I add a couple if I really want to read them too). Even if it's a book that I don't like (and I won't name names but there have been a few), you can always hide behind the fact that it's due back at the library so it's only in your life for a couple of weeks. And you have taught your child that you value their opinion. That their interests are valid! I know a lot of people also set a number of books on how many their children can borrow - I don't - but I believe that one book for every year of their age works well as a rule.

5. Try a different library. In our local authority once you join the library you have access to every library in the area. That means you can request books from other libraries and they will get delivered to your local one which means we have access to lots of books. But it also means that we can go on a library adventure to a different library and see all the wonders that they have to behold - some have much larger children's sections than ours and different bookish toys for the kids to play with so they get all excited. And it's a completely free day out. And the best thing - we can return any books we borrow to the library on our street rather than trekking back to the farther away one we borrowed from. Perhaps your local area is the same? Just ask your librarian!

I hope that helps you to find a wide variety of quality books for your kids and for yourself!

Happy Reading,
Kim and the bairns xx

Read With Me


  1. I ask my librarian lots of things all the time. :-)

  2. We haven't been to the library in what feels like forever! Used to love going as a kid. #readwithme

  3. I used to go to the library really often, but visits have gradually got fewer and far between. Mainly because my other half takes the boys to WH Smith and Waterstones most weekends. And also I have such a backlog of review books, that I don't have time for extra reads really #readwithme

  4. Some great tips! I would never have known there were days and times when it was better to go in and find a decent stock of books there. We haven't been to the library since the kids were small. They don't read any more, apart from my daughter who reads very slowly, and I just buy my books.

  5. I've been taking one or both of my children to the library for seven years now but I still picked up some handy tips from this post! I love our local library, and like you I wouldn't be able to read half as many books as I do with my little ones if it wasn't so well-stocked. A few local ones have either closed or are now volunteer-run (which is great, but not the same) so I'm passionate about using public libraries. #readwithme

  6. I used to love taking my children to the library when they were little. We found one of our favourite books there (Don't let the pidgeon drive the bus) and ended up buying the set so we could have them at home. They're all too old for those books now, but we can't ever get rid of them!

  7. I think it's important that we respect children's library book choices. I've bitten my tongue several times but as long as the book is appropriate for the child's age and ability it's important to let them choose too. I have also been pleasantly surprised by some of the choices on occasion :)


  8. I quite often use our library online catalogue and reserve books but I've never thought about figuring out when they get their deliveries, great idea! #Readwithme