Guest Blogger

The Great Reading Scramble

Photo of overflowing bookshelf

There are two weeks left in 2016 and life is chaotic with end of the year parties, secret Santa exchanges and putting the final touches on projects. There is one project that is more intimidating than anything else: too many books to read.

I had a rude awakening yesterday when I looked at my Goodreads account and saw that in 2015 I read 278 books, while in 2016 I have read only 166 books. Add to that the fact that an overwhelming amount of “Best of 2016” booklists are coming out, Mock Election results are coming in, and librarians are making their own lists of the top titles of the year. Kids have more time to read and are running up to me exclaiming about the great book they just read, which somehow missed my radar. Then sometimes I want a break from juvenile books and decide to branch out and read YA or “grown-up” books.

The result? I currently have 109 items checked out and have reached my libraries hold limit of 100 hold items. It is difficult to maneuver through my apartment without tripping over a pile of books.

Clearly, I do not have time to read all these books, although I really want to.

Here are some ways I wean down what I read:

  1. Skimming is OK. This is something I need to constantly remind myself because it feels wrong. However you can look through a book enough to get the general idea and recommend it to the kids
  2. Reviews are your friends. Other librarians and professionals have already read these books and are giving you the information on them. Reward them for your hard work by using their resources. School Library Journal, Horn Book and Booklist have great reviews along with many more professional journals.
  3. Reach out to other librarians. There are so many great children’s librarians around on Twitter, Facebook or with their own blogs. See what they are reading and what books you can’t miss.

And finally as much as I hate to say it, you can come to the acceptance that there are simply too many books and too little time.

I cannot be alone in these struggles right? Please post your tips for deciding what to read!

(Picture courtesy of guest blogger)


Today’s guest blogger is Emily Bayci. Emily is a children’s services librarian at the Naperville Public Library. Her philosophy is to always have just as much fun as the children, if not more fun.

Please note, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


  1. Laura Simeon

    I know that feeling all too well! One way I winnow down my pile is by prioritizing books that I suspect will take a little extra promotion to circulate. There are some truly wonderful books out there that for various reasons may need a little bit of hand selling to kids, and if I’ve read them and can talk about them with genuine enthusiasm that helps a lot (versus the ones that fly off the shelves with little effort on my part).

    1. Deb Marshall

      So true on this.

    2. Deb Marshall

      This is not really a tip on how to read more, but for me it’s how to not overwhelm myself. Picked this up from a publisher rep at a conference. I don’t keep my TBR piles in the areas I read. They are either in my office area at home, or on a bookshelf (er, make that… bookshelves). I only have one book out at a time, even if I am reading more than one. Surprised at how well that works.

  2. Eileen Makoff

    I have no useful suggestions–I fear that I will be crushed in my sleep one night when the piles of books on my nightstand finally succumb to gravity. But I did want to say thank you for the post. It’s good to feel less alone on this!

  3. Megan Smith

    Take a visual stroll along the ILL shelves, I always like to see what’s popular. I might not read them all but at least it gives me a feel for what’s super in demand and also check if a) there’s just a long holds list or b) it’s something that should be ordered because we don’t own it.

  4. Deb Marshall

    I do all that you suggest and this break I’ve been listening to a lot of books while driving and when I am feeling too sleepy to keep eyes open for more reading. Where possible I’ve also sped up the audio to 2X…that only works with certain readers, but it helps.

    Very grateful for working in a school. Breaks help with catching up.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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