July 12, 2018


Hi Nikki!

I LOVE to read your books. Since we don’t have much money, my mom said that I had to get them from the library. But, the library did not have all of them there. My school library had more, but they did not have Tales From a Not-So-Happy Birthday, plus my mom and dad do not like to spend money. What should I do?!?!

Bookish & Broke

Hi Bookish & Broke,

Okay, well first of all, I’m SUPER glad you’re excited about Tales From a Not-So-Happy Birthday! But it doesn’t release until August 21st, so that’s why you wouldn’t be able to find it in libraries or bookstores.

But as for the other books, I wanted to answer your question, because there are a couple COOL TRICKS about using a library that it seems like a lot of people don’t know. And I want ALLLL my fellow book-lovers to know, because everyone should have access to the books they want to read, no matter how much money they have!!!

So first, just because you don’t find a book on the shelf at your public library doesn’t mean they don’t have it! There’s a good chance it means someone else has checked it out. But that’s when you do this thing called PLACING A HOLD. It’s so cool. You can place a hold in person and, depending on the library, online. But either way, you can ask a librarian to show you how the first time.

When you place a hold, it’s like saving a spot in line. So if no one has placed a hold in front of you, your hold means that when the book gets returned to the library, it will then be held for YOU. Usually you sign up to get an email or a text letting you know that the book is ready for you, and most libraries give you a certain amount of time—mine is four days—to come in and pick it up. Sometimes, with a really popular book, there might be a few people who’ve placed holds before you, so the wait is a little longer. But still, by placing the hold, you’re saving your spot as next in line.

If your library’s branch DOESN’T own a copy of a book you want, they’ll usually borrow it from one of the other branches near them and then loan it to you. But if the whole library system doesn’t own a copy of the book you want, you can request they purchase it! Libraries WANT to know what books their readers want to read.

So again, this is something you can do on most library systems’ websites. But if not, go in and talk to a librarian. Ask them how to “REQUEST A PURCHASE.” They’ll know what you mean. I couldn’t believe it the first time someone told me I could do this. I can just say, “I want you to buy this book,” and they’ll be like, “Okay,” and then they’ll actually BUY it for me!! And then I’m the first person who gets to check it out in the whole library system!!!

Also remember that sometimes you can find books you want in other formats. If you have access to a tablet, computer, or e-reader, you can access books in digital format. There are also audiobooks (though with MY books you’d miss out on the drawings, which I happen to think are half the fun!!! 🙂 ) and large-print format books.

Finally, everything above applies to public library systems. School libraries all work differently. BUT the one thing that’s the same is that school librarians and public librarians ALL want to help kids read the books they’re excited about! So if you can’t find a book you want in your school library, talk to the librarian. If they say they don’t have it, ask them if there’s a way the library could get it. They might say no—school libraries often don’t have enough money for everything they’d like to do. But maybe you could brainstorm with the librarian on ways to raise money for the library. And when the library DOES get funds for new books, the librarian is going to remember the kid who came to and asked them about a book they were super excited about.

I hope this helps you understand new ways you can use your public library system and read the books you most want to read!

Libraries are full of so many cool things! In our comments section, please tell me the top three books you’d love to check out at your local library! Also, do you visit your local library regularly?