ARTICLE – Reading to learn – the great and the free

Reading to learn –
the great and the free

Great books to learn from…for free?

A mash-up of your local library and Amazon?

Should be interesting, right?

Firstly, a bit about how this tip came about:

  • I love learning and trying to improve myself.
  • I love physical books as a source of knowledge and learning.
  • I like to “taste” a lot of books, putting some aside immediately, skimming others, going back to others again and again.
  • I can’t buy every single book which I’d like to.

When I am learning about new subjects, I rely heavily on books and do lots of reading. It improves my awareness, gives me some of the basics and helps me figure out what I want and how to progress further.

Libraries Ireland offers a great online service allowing you to search for books in its libraries, renew your loans etc.

The great thing is that your search includes every library in Ireland – not just your local library – so there is a huge selection of books available. Most popular on given subjects are available…and many unpopular books too.

The problem: If you are interested in a particular subject – let’s say it’s “training games” – the library portal shows lots of books matching your search. BUT, you have no way of knowing which of the books are the best or the most suitable for your needs.

The solution: This tip allows you to easily find good books on the subject you’re interested in so you can borrow them from your local library. You can be confident that they’ll probably be of some use to you and they will cost you nothing!

Books, books everywhere…

1. So many search results…where to begin?

So, when you search on the library website, you get loads of results, but it’s very hard to know which books to choose.

Which are relevant to you?
Which books are the best?
Which are the “go to” books on the subject you’re interested in?
Which are best avoided?

Search results for “training games” on the library online portal

2. Narrow it down and dig a bit deeper

OK, the thing to do here is have a glance through the books and get some idea which might be good choices. You can usually get some idea by looking at the basics about the book, like the title (maybe you’ve heard of it), the author (a famous expert in the field?) or the date (pretty recent, so it’s not out of date).

The real problem here is that you’ve nothing else to judge the book by! No star rating, no reviews etc, but we are about to workaround this in the next couple of steps.

Next thing to do is to click into the detail of the book and copy the ISBN or the title of the book.

3. Off we go to Jeff Bezos’ Olde World Book Shop

Or…Amazon, as it’s more commonly known.

We search for the books were are interested in by its ISBN or title.

4. And here we go: reviews galore!

So, now we can check out the reviews of the books on Amazon and figure out which is the right book for us!

5. Back to the library portal and request the book

So, once we’ve decided the book we want, we go back into the library website.

We can click the ‘Request It’ button beside the book and the library we’d like it delivered to.

Usually it takes about a week for the book to arrive and usually you will get an email or text to let you know.

Sometimes if there’s a hold on the book it will take longer, but sometimes you’ll find slightly different versions of the book listed, some of which may be ready without a hold.

You can join the library by dropping into any branch, bringing a proof of address and some ID. You can also start the process of joining the library online here, but you will need to call into a library branch bringing the items mentioned above. You can be setup with access to the library online portal when you join the library.

If you are already a member of the library, but do not yet have access to the library online portal, I believe you must call into a library branch and they will arrange access for you.

So, I hope this article has helped and that you can pick out some really nice, helpful books to learn from!

So, what do you think?

Do you like to learn by reading or what’s your favourite way?

Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Do you still like reading on dead wood or is it electronic format for you now?

What good book did you read recently that you’d recommend to others?

What did you enjoy about it and take from it?

I’d love to hear your feedback, perspectives and thoughts on reading and learning!

If you’d like to publicly share, you can leave a comment below or you can contact me directly