It’s 5:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. Your child suddenly remembers that he needs a book on the Transcontinental Railroad for school. Tomorrow morning. You rush to the library, only to discover that every other 4th grader in Sunnyvale also needs the same book. The train has left the station, and the Transcontinental Railroad shelves look like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. Don’t panic. While we might not be able to put that book in your child’s hand tonight, we can offer other solutions.
Teachers often warn students about the reliability of online sources. Just last week, during a class visit to the Library, nearly every 4th grade hand went up when I asked the question, “What’s the downside of Wikipedia?” It’s great that kids know enough to question their sources. It’s also great that the Library offers online resources that should pass muster with even the most cautious teacher. Through the Library’s Web site, students can access articles – and even full books – in digital format by tapping into our online databases. An extra bonus in some databases is the “listen” feature, which allows kids to hear the article read aloud with their choice of accent and reading speed!
Is there another library you visit? If so, let us search their catalog and see if the desired item is available. I usually advise parents to call and confirm that the item is there before making the drive. Many libraries will pull the item from the shelf and put it aside if they know you’re on your way. We do!
Can You Wait a Bit?
The Sunnyvale Library is a member of Link+, an interlibrary loan program comprised of over 50 participating libraries in California and Nevada. While all of Sunnyvale might be studying the Transcontinental Railroad, it’s possible that all of California and Nevada are not. Your child can request a book through Link+ at no charge and have it available for pick-up at the Sunnyvale Library within a week or so. Link+ is also a terrific resource for obscure titles, as several University Libraries participate in the program. Important to note is that Link+ overdue and loss fees are high, so it’s important to keep careful track of Link+ items.
We also offer free holds on our Library items. Popular titles like The Hunger Games or Diary of a Wimpy Kid usually don’t last long on the shelves. You can place items on hold from home or we can do it for you at the desk. We buy many copies of high-demand books, so the wait list can move along more quickly than you might expect.
Get Out of Jail Free
We librarians are funny about getting materials into the hands of patrons. We’ll turn over every rock to avoid sending a student home empty handed. If your child still has to leave the library with fewer items than desired, ask us for a teacher form. While not technically a Monopoly styled Get Out of Jail Free card, this librarian-signed-and-dated form shows the teacher that your child came to the library but found the needed items unavailable. When paired with a database article, this form often satisfies the book requirement until other materials are in hand.