Library hold policy (was Re: freedom and necessity)

Venkarel venkarel.geo at
Fri Mar 1 02:20:44 EST 2002

--- Paul Andinach <pandinac at> wrote:
> On Wed, 27 Feb 2002, Venkarel wrote:
> > I have this theory, sometimes, that when you
> > place a hold on a book, the librarian doesn't
> actually
> > look for the book and place it on hold for you,
> but
> > waits until some unfortunate soul tries to check
> it
> > out, the computer flags it, and the book is taken
> away
> > from them.
> I can't see when that would ever happen, since that
> would imply that
> the book was available to be borrowed already, and
> people only put
> holds on books that aren't available to be borrowed.

I don't know how holds work in other libraries, but
the Los Angeles city library has a wonderful online
catalog and electronic reserves system through which
people can put a hold on just about any title they see
in the catalog.  Often, it is for new titles or books
that are so highly in demand there's a waiting list. 
A lot of times, it's just for a book that is not
available at the person's branch library (either
because they don't have it or someone has already
checked it out).  My local branch library rarely has
any books that interest me, but the library system has
a very good selection of books so the hold system
works as both a reserve and intra(inter?)-library loan
apparatus.  I love using this because it means I have
access to just about anything in the catalog, and I
don't have to go through a librarian to set up each

Thanks to this, I got to read Sorcery and Cecilia,
even if it did take several months for me to get it. 
(The library system has only one copy, so even if
there were only a few people in the queue, it takes a

(who is grateful that the library system carries the
majority of DWJ's booklist since several titles are
still out of print in the US)

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