Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Library Grouchiness

I have been listening to recorded books lately. Various volumes of Patrick O'Brian's Aubreyiad, the first half of War and Peace... I've been borrowing them from the St. Louis County Library. But lately I've been having this problem. It goes like this:

You request and audio book, wait weeks and weeks for it to come in. When you go to pick it up, you prudently put in a request for the next book in the series, hoping you will be able to go straight from one to the other. When Book 2 arrives after several frustrating weeks, you decide to plan ahead and put a hold on several other titles. But now, instead of coming in at staggered intervals so you can enjoy them one at a time, they all come in at the same time. And even after you've used up the maximum number of renewals allowed (on those that you can renew), the library demands them back before you've had time to listen to them all!

In the case of War and Peace, I ought to have "read" it fast because someone else had it on request after me, and so I couldn't renew it. I should have started listening to it right away, rather than finishing the book I was already on, because by the time I started it I was already well into the "six days of grace" before overdue-book fines started to pile up. Eventually, in spite of several days of listening to it while driving to and from work, and while at work, and during a long round trip to visit my folks o
ver a holiday weekend, I had to turn it in when I was just a little over halfway through it. Of course I immediately put it on request again, but it will be weeks before I get it back. Grr!

As for the Aubreyiad, I had to return half a dozen titles from that series un-listened-to after getting a notice that one of them was nearing the end of its "six days of grace," also having been reserved by another reader, while most of the others were coming due & could not be renewed any more than they already had been. A knowledgeable informant tells me I should have put a "freeze" on my request for all but the very next book in the series, so that somebody behind me on the hold list could move ahead until I was ready to pick it up; or, perhaps, that I should have gotten a library card for each of my cats, and put them just behind me on the holds list.

These and other suggestions are more or less ethical, but it really doesn't relieve much strain off the question: How am I supposed to stay sane when the audio books I rely on to drown out 10 hours per week of road noise, commercial breaks, lousy music, and excruciatingly stupid talk radio, are never there when I need them--are suddenly all there when I can only listen to one at a time--and, too often, go back to not being there again before their time?

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