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Books and More: Take Advantage of Library Website

kclswebIf you only use the library to put books on hold, you’re missing out!

While habits serve us by making life easier and allowing us to operate on automatic, we know from brain research that we need to seek novelty to keep our neural circuits firing optimally. You can do that in a host of ways through the King County Library System website. While our catalog of materials is one of the best in the country, we also have many other resources just waiting for you to discover.

For instance, just “below the fold” on the homepage of you’ll find a section of blog posts on everything from book, music, and film recommendations, to Top 10 lists, to entertaining and educational programs you won’t want to miss. Scroll down to see them all, and be sure to click on the arrows on either side of each frame for more choices. We have many talented website writers and this part of the website is constantly updated, just like the newspaper!

Under the tab “Books and More” you’ll find booklists such as “new and on order” where you can find the latest releases and place your hold even before the copies arrive at the library. And speaking of being first in line, the library has instituted a new perk at five locations (Federal Way 320th, Covington, Kingsgate, Renton, and Sammamish) that we call the Lucky Day Collection. These sites have additional copies of popular books with long hold lists. These books remain on the shelves for browsing rather than getting pulled to fulfill holds—so it’s your lucky day when you find one of these unlisted copies and you get that popular book sooner rather than later!

Under that same Books and More tab, look at all the offerings under Services. You’ll find resources for book clubs, free meeting rooms you can book once a month at almost every library location, and even free museum passes for Bellevue Arts Museum, KidsQuest, and the Washington State History Museum. What better way to spend a chilly February day than exploring a museum after you get your free pass from the library website?

Another service under that tab is “Personalized Recommendations.” Share your reading preferences with us and we’ll send you a list of six to eight books chosen just for you. Depending on the volume of requests, you can expect a response in one to two weeks.

And try looking on the right-hand side of the page for the catalog entry of a book you like. You’ll see the words “Explore Further” and suggestions from Novelist, a database to which KCLS subscribes.

You may notice the new “while you wait” feature that suggests things to read while you are waiting for your hold to come in. Take advantage of these new features and work those neural circuits!

Stay warm and connected at your library!

Wendy PenderWendy Pender is the older adult project specialist at King County Library System (KCLS) and a frequent contributor to AgeWise King County. Recent articles include Oh, The Places You’ll Go at King County Libraries (January 2016), King County Library System Events during Older Americans Month (May 2016), and Inspiring, Engaging, and Connecting Older Residents Countywide (December 2016). For more information, contact Wendy at 425-369-3285 or