If you’re a frequent library user, you might be familiar with this dilemma: there are tons of books you want to read, but other people want to read them too. So, like the industrious library user you are, you put them all on hold.
And then, because the universe doesn’t care about things like how long it takes to read a book, ALL YOUR HOLDS COME IN AT ONCE. And maybe you have more time to read than I do, but between my family, my work, and my need for some semblance of sleep, I haven’t yet been able to get through nine books in three weeks. But it’s painful to return something, knowing that you’ll go to the back of the line and you’ll wait another six weeks (or months!) to get that book again.
So what’s an intrepid reader to do? The answer is easy. Suspend your holds!
When you suspend a hold, you keep your place in line but allow others to bump in front of you until you’re ready for your hold. This works slightly differently in our catalog and with Libby (digital books), so I’ll walk you through both processes.
For materials managed exclusively through our catalog – print books, audiobooks on CD, etc. – the suspend holds feature keeps your place in line until a specific date. If you reach the top of the holds queue while your hold is suspended, other people will jump in front of you until the hold reactivates.
To suspend a hold through the library’s catalog, log in to your library account and click the “my holds” tab. Here you can see all of your digital holds.
Simply select the title you’d like to suspend, and choose a date when you’d like the hold to reactivate. This can be a little bit of a guessing game, but if you know that you’ve got a vacation or something concrete planned you can select a time when you know you’ll be available to give that book all the attention it deserves. If your reading schedule opens up unexpectedly, you can always cancel your hold suspension and you will immediately start working your way up the hold list again.
DIGITAL MATERIALS THROUGH LIBBY
If you do some of your reading through Libby by Overdrive (and if you don’t…why not? It’s amazing!), the Libby app has its own hold suspension system. It works similarly; you keep working your way up the hold queue while your hold is suspended, and if you reach the top slot Libby will allow one person at a time ahead of you until your hold is reactivated. To suspend a hold in Libby, go to your shelf and then your holds tab. Click on the red/blue “manage hold” square on the title you’d like to suspend.
From here you can cancel or suspend your hold. I suggest you suspend.
This is now the step that doesn’t feel intuitive to me. You will be taken to a screen that gives you some information about your hold; click on the button in the lower right corner that says “active”, and then choose how long you’d like to suspend your hold.
You will then be given a confirmation screen. If you immediately regret your decision, you can click “update hold suspension” and go back and rethink your life choices.
Suspending holds is still a bit of a guessing game; unless you’re really diligent about knowing your place in every hold queue, there’s still a chance that your best-laid hold suspensions will all activate at the same time and you’ll still need to figure out how you can listen to a 48-hour audiobook in three days and still sleep and interact with other humans (I’m going to go ahead and tell you that you can’t. It’s just impossible. Forego human contact or resign yourself to jumping back into that hold queue.).
Still, it’s a tool in your belt. Place holds with abandon, and use the suspend feature wrangle them into a manageable state. Your personal reading queue will thank you.