Our local public library is one of my favorite places to be in town! And I hope that after reading this guide, it inspires you to go out to visit your local public library! This year, in particular, I have made it a goal to always search to see if the library has books I am looking to read, instead of purchasing them! This has helped greatly with my budget and has also led me to many new reads that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about! Here are 10 things many people often do not know about our local Waco-McLennan County public library!
1.) Lucky Day Books – Lucky Day Book designations are for the latest, hottest, and freshest books on the market. These books are designated at the front of each library on a shelf indicating “Lucky Day Book.” Due to their popular demand, the books have no reserves and no holds and can only be checked out for 7 days. Recently, I’ve snagged two Lucky Day Books: How to be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (which I highly recommend!). Nowadays when I visit the library, I always check the Lucky Day Book shelf to see what is on there! You never know what you may find!
2.) FREE Guest Passes to Local Museums & Attractions – Are you a local Wacoan and have yet to visit local attractions like the Cameron Park Zoo, Waco Mammoth Site, Dr. Pepper Museum, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Rangers Hall of Fame & Museum, Historic Waco Houses, or the Mayborn Museum? You can check out museum guest passes from the library that waives the admission fees at these locations! The majority of these passes allow for 2+ adults per pass and a designated number of kiddos.
These passes do not have holds so you will need to get it on a Lucky Day; however, you can view when the return dates for the guest passes are online and see if they are checked in!
Adults can get one pass per week at every library location. To use your pass, you check out the pass for the specific venue of choice, receive a receipt to take to the venue, and bring your receipt to the venue. Passes automatically expire in 7 days, so you don’t have to worry about returning them. I’ve personally checked out the Mayborn Museum guest pass once!
3.) How Long Can I Keep My Items? – This is a frequently asked question! According to the Waco-McLennan County Library website: Books, audiobooks, and CDs may be checked out for 21 days and renewed twice. DVDs and Lucky Day Books check out for 7 days and may not be renewed. Items are renewed from the date they are renewed (not the current due date) and may not be renewed if another patron has them on hold.
4.) Online eBooks – Did you know you can also check out eBooks online at the library? eBooks and eAudiobooks are available with CloudLibrary. You use your library card number and PIN to login in and start reading them right away. OR you can download the app on any smart device to take your books on the go.
5.) View Library Shelf Online – Once you create an online account, you can browse all inventoried books at the library online to search their availability and/or to place a request to hold the book. You can also view the books next to the book you are searching for. It’s as if you were going in person to browse the books – but a virtual shelf! Lately, through this feature, I have been able to browse through new library books in the comfort of my own home.
6.) Amount of Items I Can Check Out – After 7 days of activating your library card, you can check out FIFTY items at a time. You can check out up to 25 book sat a time, 5 DVDs, 15 Audiobooks/Music CDs, 2 literacy kits, and 5 kits at a time!
7.) Requesting Books from Other Waco Libraries – Did you know that rather than venturing out to a Waco library that is further away from your home, you can request for a book online and then designate that you would like to pick up the book at the library nearest you? Requesting for books is one of the easiest ways to check out books without the need to search for the book in-person and/or travel further away from where you are located.
8.) COVID-19 precautions – Did you know that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, books are also quarantined due to COVID-19 precautions? The library follows quarantining guidelines from the American Library Association; therefore, requests for materials may be delayed due to the book quarantines. In addition, the library continues to require masks in person, has installed plexi-shields at all public service desks, and has no public seating to encourage physical distancing as a way to lower the spread of the virus.
9.) The library now has curbside pickup – Along with the above COVID-19 pandemic precautions, the library also now has curbside pickup Monday through Friday from 10am to 5:30pm. For curbside pickup, you go online and place your hold. You indicate where you want to pick up the items. When your hold is ready, you will receive a text or email. You then call your pickup library location, drive to the designated library, and call when you arrive, with your library card. Stay in your car as the librarians will then come out and bring your holds to a designated spot for curbside pickup.
10.) Annual Fall Book Sale – The Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library conducts an annual fall booksale in November at either the Waco Convention Center or Extraco Events Center. While we have not yet heard updates on whether or not the book sale will be active and/or what the plans are for this year due to COVID-19, this booksale traditionally has free admission days on the weekends, special savings for teachers and non-profits, and even a $10 bag of books day on the last day – traditionally a Sunday afternoon. The profits from the annual book sale goes toward enhancements of the local libraries including new books, equipment, youth and summer programs, and library staff enrichment opportunities.