You’re Not Holding Enough Books on Libby

  • Post category:Adults / Libby

We’ve all experienced it. The crushing disappointment when a book you are white-hot on has a wait list of weeks or months. “73rd in line? Come on!” Mine was The Emperor of All Maladies. I started 48th in line with only 3 copies available in the county. 40 weeks. The terror.

But, I kept my head down and listened to my current audiobook, only to experience the same frustration a week later—I had one hold, 39 weeks. There must be a better way!

You cannot speed up your holds, but you can defer them. This means, whenever a hold becomes ready, you can delay them by a custom number of days (ASAP to 180 days). You can choose “deliver later” an unlimited number of times. Combine this with everyone’s far-too-long “to read” lists, and we have a solution brewing.

Here is my method:

  • Whenever I think of a book I could be interested in listening to, I add it to my Holds List, regardless of wait time, giving me a stable of several books on hold (up to 20 with your Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh card).
  • If a book becomes available and I am not ready for it, I delay it 7 days.
  • When I am ready for a book I have delayed, I change the delay option to ASAP.
  • Voila. A rotating cadre of books you want to read that can be available within days of your readiness. Not as satisfying as having them the day you are interested in them, but they will get to you when you are ready!

For instance, it has been 40+ weeks since I held The Emperor, and I am still not ready for it. But when the time comes, it will be there waiting for me within a few days.

Any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at

Happy holding.

Cameron R.S. Smith

Cooper-Siegel Community Library