I love bananas, preferably when they’re slightly green and the peel still has a bit of snap to it. Inevitably when I see rows upon rows of lovely green bananas at the supermarket just waiting for me to bring them home to ripen, I can’t resist. I take them home always hoping they they’ll ripen in a spectrum, each at a different pace so that I’ll have a banana ripened to my version of perfection each day. It never works out that way. The bananas, not attuned to my culinary preferences ripen all at the same time and I end up either eating them more quickly than I’d like or waiting until the last one or two over-ripen and make banana bread.
So why the talk about bananas on a library blog? This week, as I looked at a small bunch of bananas I bought yet again ripening all at the same rate, I realized this type of “feast or famine” happens a lot at the library as well. Whether it’s because several authors you enjoy put out books at about the same time, you just discovered a genre you really enjoy and you want to read a bunch of books in that style, or you just heard of a series that’s been out for a while and you want to read as many of them as you can (this happens with TV shows, too), sometimes your hold list gets a little unmanageable. The next thing you know, what was once only trickling in a book (or DVD, or CD) or two at a time, becomes a deluge with your name taking up half the hold shelf. Don’t get me wrong, we love all of our patrons who use library services to any extent, and many of them accomplish the admirable feat of tackling all their holds very quickly. But for those of us who can’t get to more than a few holds at a time or get a bit anxious having our checked-out items reaching the double-digits, allow me to introduce you to the suspended hold.
This feature that Evergreen offers has been such a fantastic option for me that I thought I would talk about it here, since it seems to be relatively little-known even amongst the library’s most avid users. A suspended hold allows you to keep an item on your hold list, but it won’t come in for you until you are ready for it. The best part is if you’re in line for an item that has a long hold queue, suspending a hold will keep your place in the queue. So if you’re #78 for the new James Patterson novel and you suspend the hold, you’ll still be working your way up to the top of the queue. If you reach spot #1 in the queue before you’re ready for it; that’s OK! Your hold is still suspended, but you’ll stay at the top of the queue until you activate the hold again.
(A quick note on privacy. We at the library keep the account information for each of our patrons strictly confidential and would never reveal your holds, checked-out items or any of your personal information to anyone, at any time. We would never take a patron’s information to use in any part of the library’s endeavors without the patrons explicit knowledge and consent. The following screen shots are from my account. Because I feel strongly that this service would be useful to many of our patrons, I have given the the library permission to use these screen shots that reveal a some of my items on hold.)
Now that we have the privacy issue covered, let’s talk about how suspending your holds can hep you manage your hold list. When you look up an item decide you want to put it on hold it defaults to being an active hold. This means one of two things: 1) that whichever library has the item available will check the item in and send it to your preferred pickup location right away or 2) that you are now in the queue for the book which other people have also requested. If you’d prefer the item not to come in right away, you can suspend the hold. Here’s how:
From the library’s main page, log into your account
After logging in, you’ll be taken to your account management screen. Select “Items currently on hold.” As you can see, I have a fair number of holds on my account and I wouldn’t be able to get to them all if they all came in at once.
I’ve already suspended a number of my holds. The “Active” column on the far right of the screen (not pictured here) will tell you whether a hold is active or suspended. If you’d like to suspend an active hold, check the box next to the item you’d like to suspend and from the “Actions for selected holds” drop-down, select “Suspend” and click “Go.”
The page will refresh and the item you checked off will now be suspended. As I mentioned, if you are waiting in a long queue, your place will be held until you’re ready for the item.
When you’re ready for the hold, you go through the same process you did to suspend it. Check the item(s) you want to activate, select “Activate hold” from the “Actions for selected holds” drop-down and click “Go.” The item will now go through the regular hold process and be delivered to your preferred library location.
I hope this information is helpful to any of you who find yourselves coveting a book or movie but feel they already have too much on hold or don’t have the time to read/watch it right away. In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as “too many holds” because that means your to-read, or to-watch, or to-listen shelf will always be ready when you are. This weekend, dear patrons, I encourage you to go on a bit of a holds-spree and request all those items that have been on your list for a while. Now that you know how to suspend and activate them, you’ll always have something ready when you are and you’ll be able to keep that blanket fort well-stocked!
*Points to all who got the “How is a raven like a writing desk?” parallel from Alice in Wonderland.