Remember the days of Reading Rainbow?
It’s a book, just take a look…
For a while I was going crazy at Half-Priced Books:
- Joining their mailing list, getting e-mails for printable coupons
- Using their FREE in-store calendar with monthly coupons (25% off entire purchase…)
- Becoming their friend on Facebook
…but with the recession (and a general desire to save some of my hard-earned money…) I decided to go back to the library. (Not a novel concept, one reason I didn’t return earlier was a pending $50 fine…)
Housed off the City of San Antonio’s website, the San Antonio Public Library system (SAPL) is surprisingly user-friendly and functional. It lacks creative, modern interfaces (no Flash can be a good thing…) but you can do almost everything you want to do.
Getting the Card:
Physically go to the SAPL nearest you with the following:
- Who are you? (I.e. driver’s license or photo ID)
- Proof of Residency (lease, utility statement, checkbook, etc.) <=free to all Bexar County residents…
Bits about Online Features
What’s missing, how long do I have?!
After you go to the library and create an account you can register online. Not only can you see what’s been checked out and when it’s due but you can also register for e-mail reminders (3 days out) to return which books/movies. You’ll also be notified when books/movies placed on hold are ready.
I’m still looking for the stupid book!! Help?!?!
Relax, just renew it. They even have a nice, “Renew All” button (although if you prefer you can put a checkmark next to individual titles too.)
Movies checked out for a week can be renewed once. Books, twice (potentially keeping a book for 9 weeks!)
Byte: If someone else wants the book, you can’t renew books that already have holds.
Browse/search the catalog, across SAPL branches, and find what I want!
Let’s say I moved, my old branch has a book my new branch does. No worries, I can place it on hold, either at the library or online, within my account. By finding what you want and placing it “on hold”, you’ll get a nice email letting you know everything is ready and waiting for you at the branch of your choice. You can waltz into the library, head straight to the holds shelf and find all the books you wanted, with your name on it, bundled with a little rubber band. And you’re done! (This is especially nice for parents with children who don’t feel like going or on the way home from work…)
You can place 20 items (movies and books) on hold at any time and once they’re received, they’ll keep it for 10 days.
Little Bits (LBs)
A SAPL branch by any other name is still as sweet…
You don’t have to return the book to the same location you got the book from! As long as it’s in the SAPL system you can drop it off!
It might not be too late…
As long as you drop it off before the library opens, the morning after it’s due, it’s NOT late! For example, I thought I was a day late (because my book was due Saturday) and was expecting a fine – I didn’t make it before the library closed that same Saturday. But because it was in the book slot before the library opened on Sunday I had a get out of jail card and no 10 cent fine. (This to me says, “We really want you to come and read!”)
Reserve books from across the country (or another country)…
The library doesn’t even have to have your book, if your book can be checked out from a library in Texas, the US, Canada (or other countries, as needed); they’ll ship your book to the SAPL branch of your choice in 2-12 weeks!
For example, I want to get into iPhone programming but SAPL only has a couple resources. However, by going to the Interlibrary Loan website and creating an account, you know have millions of books at your finger tips (more bits here).
One man’s old magazine is another man’s reading material…
Before you enter the library, there’s a plastic bin where you can swap your old magazines for someone else’s. Let someone else enjoy magazines you’ve finished while finding some new periodicals to peruse.
Better late than never…
Finally, don’t forget to return the books. When you have reached your renewal limits, bring the books (and especially movies!!) back to avoid the following fines:
Books: $.35/day (adult-aged, $10.00 maximum), $.15/day (kids, young adult, $6.00 maximum)
Movies: $2.00/day ($10.00 max)
Don’t forget to check out the maps to find the nearest library location AND to find out where the SAPL Bookmobile stops!
SAPL Locations on Google Maps
View San Antonio Public Library Locations in a larger map
SAPL Bookmobile Locations on Google Maps
View SAPL Bookmobile Locations in a larger map