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Our Best Book Borrowing Tips

We're big book borrowers -- these are our tips...


Our Best Boston Public Library Book Borrowing Tips

1. Borrow The Max


There’s nothing more exciting than leaving the library with a bag full of books.

2. Get Everyone A Card


In Boston, we’re lucky that there are no age requirements to get a library card. While the library allows you to borrow 70 physical books at a time, their digital services (like Hoopla and Libby) only allow 10 books a month.


Having extra library cards can come in handy, if your family binges on ebooks.


3. Use Digital Shelves


For the books you can’t take out, the library makes it super convenient for you to mark books you want to read later. There’s a little bookmark next to the book.


Boston Public Library For Later Digital Book Shelf

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library website


Clicking it adds the book to a digital bookshelf. This makes it easier for you to track all the books you want to read. And you can access your “for later” books by logging into your account, then going to My Collections > For Later Shelf.

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library website


4. Try Self-Check Out

Kids view the world as the ultimate playground, which means everything is a toy. The library's huge self-check out box is no exception.


In Boston they’re red and require a step stool to access (which the library usually has). In addition to having to climb up the machine, there are buttons to press and a red laser that scans the book. There’s also a cool dinging noise when the item is accepted and the option to print a receipt. All of our girls loved checking out their own books and leaving with a long piece of paper.


The entire check-out process ends up taking way longer than if we checked out the books ourselves. But as long as no one is waiting -- we let our girls take their time.

5. Borrow Board Books For Your Little Ones

Gently turning pages is a skill I definitely took for granted. Our little ones can practice these important skills on board books (which have thickened, easier to grab pages that do not damage easily). They're called fine motor skills. And they require the coordination of small muscles in the hands, fingers and eyes to successfully turn a page.

6. Get Ready To Be A Book Doctor


On rare occasions, you may get a book that has a ripped page. We like to strengthen the page, so that the damage doesn't get worse. We use clear tape and try to make the repair look as neat as possible. Some libraries may prefer to do it themselves, so check with your librarian to see if that’s okay.

7. Take Advantage of ComCat


ComCat stands for Commonwealth Catalog. As Boston public library card holders, we have access to library materials within the entire state. While Boston has a pretty large collection, some books are only available through ComCat -- like this toy makers series.


8. Pay Attention To Alerts


The library emails reminders when your books are due. The email includes the book title, it's due date, and how many renewals (if any) you have left. Returning books on time helps you avoid fees and ensures that the next family can enjoy the books that you have.


Boston Public Library Books Due Email Alert

Does your family borrow books often? What borrowing tips would you add? If you want to know why we reserve our books online, you can check out the reasons here. And If you want to check out some of our favorite books, you can do so here.


Until next time…

Love the Journey,



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