Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to Pick Out a YA Library Book

Library signHi, Readers!

   Going to the library to check out Young Adult books is the perfect alternative to buying them from a bookstore.  Barnes and Noble is great, but there are many advantages to borrowing books from your local library. For example...
  1. The books, as well as library cards, are free!!!!! 
  2. Most libraries loan out books for a two or three week time period, and it is easy to renew them online. 
  3. There is an enormous selection of titles, from classics to the newest books on the market.  If your local library does not have a book that you are looking for, you can either request that they purchase a copy, or you can check it out via inter-library loan.
  4. You can also check out comic books/graphic novels, audio books, digital books, magazines, movies, and TV shows from your local library. 
  5. It is an environmentally friendly way to read - books are reused instead of collecting dust in the attic. 
       Because libraries have such a wide variety of reading materials, it is easy to get overwhelmed when picking out a Young Adult novel. If you are looking for a specific title, the easiest way to find it is to look up the author's last name, either on a mobile device or on a library computer, and then find it in the shelves.  On the other hand, browsing for books is much harder.  You first have to take your age into consideration. There are many Young Adult novels that are actually mixed in the Children's section.  If you are a reader aged 8 to 14, novels from the Children's section would appeal to you.  If you are an older reader, aged 14 or above, you may prefer novels specifically from the Young Adult or Adult section.

       The next step to picking out a library book is to determine the genre that you are interested in reading.  Knowing a genre or subject that you are looking for makes picking out a book ten times easier because you can use book covers to help you in your search.  Although it is important to remember the motto, "Don't judge a book by its cover", each genre of book has a stereotypical cover to draw in readers.  Here is what I can judge from a book cover:
Book Cover vs. Genre chart
Just note that all of my descriptions above do not describe every book, and some novels will be difficult to judge by their covers.  

       After you've found a few books with interesting covers, read the back (for paperbacks) or inside flap (for hardcovers) of each book for a short summary.  This summary tells you the novel's setting, main characters, and basic plot line. Also, keep in mind the author of the book, because each author has a particular writing style and favorite genre.  Finally, if you are looking at a series, make sure you get the first book so you know what is going on.  I know from experience that it is devastating to borrow a new book and then realize it is a sequel!  
Library card
       Feel free to check out as many books as you want to.  You don't have to read them all in the two or three weeks that you have them, because it is easy to either renew them online or check them out again when you have more time.  If you decide that you love a book that you have read, buy it for yourself at a book store.  The library is definitely my go-to place for checking out books.  Make sure you put your local library to good use.

Happy reading!

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