Compiled by Heather Gruenthal
Infographic compiled on YALSABK
by Alison Paulette
Library Media Specialist
Appomattox County High School
Appomattox, VA

One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes is called Time Enough at Last. In this episode, Henry Bemis wants to do nothing but read all the time, however his wife is always nagging him to do other things. After a nuclear explosion, everyone is destroyed while Henry has survived in a bank vault and Henry thinks his dream has come true:

Henry Bemis: And the best thing, the very best thing of all, is there’s time now… there’s all the time I need and all the time I want. Time, time, time. There’s time enough at last. [goes to pick up a book, but in doing so his glasses fall off and break. He slowly raises his glasses to his face, seeing they are completely broken]
Henry Bemis: That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all. There was time now. There was, was all the time I needed… IMDB

The curse of a librarian is to be surrounded by thousands of new and exciting books and not having enough time to read. I like to compare it to the myth of Tantalus; surrounded by temptation, but never able to quench your thirst.

I discovered an answer to my problem at a Bureau of Education & Research conference lead by Deborah Hipes in which she revealed a secret: She gave us the titles of 4 books that she had read and asked what they had in common. The teachers and librarians in the room were all struggling to find a theme to link these four seemingly random books, when Deborah finally revealed that the common link between them was: she completed those 4 books during the last year by reading 2 pages every time she went to the restroom!

The resulting discussion generated a list of places and times that book lovers secretly squeeze their love of reading into their busy schedules. I also asked all my librarian friends on the YALSA BK discussion list what their secrets are for finding time to read and the results were surprising; from moms who admit to reading during their kids’ games to secretly reading on their smart phones while others think they are merely updating their Facebook status (names have been withheld to protect their identities...)

Finding time to read:
  • Read more than one book at a time
  • Keep a book in your school bag, briefcase, or purse
  • Leave a book wherever you might sit down
  • Read while standing in line
  • Keep a book in every bathroom, read 2 pages
  • Read at lunch
  • Never ride in a car, plane, train, bus without a book
  • Subscribe to or other inexpensive sources for downloading audiobooks. Then listen on your iPod while walking, exercising or commuting.
  • Download audio books to your computer from your public library and listen while working
  • Check out books on tape from your public library and “read” in the car
  • Download the Kindle App for your smart phone or computer. Get free books at where you can download lots of great classics (did I mention they’re FREE?).
  • Read books online, there are many free at Project Gutenberg
  • Find a reading spouse or friend & take a reading vacation
  • Take a book to the movies and read during previews
  • Keep a book by the computer to read during boot up time
  • Take a book to doctor or dentist appointments and read in the waiting room and also while waiting in the exam room
  • Read to someone else: your students, children or elderly relatives
  • Read instead of watching TV
  • Read during TV commercials
  • Schedule time to read each day. Lock the door so no one interrupts.
  • Read on the treadmill at the gym
  • Read before bedtime
  • Read instead of eating a snack
  • Join a book club (peer pressure!)
  • Go on a date with a friend to the bookstore and read there
  • Read during your coffee break
  • Reward yourself: while doing a task you are avoiding, make a goal to do the task for 10 minutes; then treat yourself to a few minutes of your current favorite book. Repeat until finished!
  • Get up early and read before work
  • Read or listen to a book while getting ready in the morning
  • Keep a book in the car and read while waiting to pick up kids from events
  • Read during a pedicure or hair appointment
  • Read during a bubble bath (just don’t get the book wet! Librarians hate that!)
  • Read while your kids are watching TV
  • Take your kids to the library and read while they select their books
  • Have a “silent reading” time with your kids before bedtime
  • Read after the kids are in bed and before you fall asleep from exhaustion
  • Read while brushing your teeth, it makes those 2 minutes fly by!
  • Read during kids practices or dance class
  • Check out a Playaway from your public library and listen to books while you work on a repetitive task such as laundry
  • Listen to a book while cooking dinner
  • Take a Reading Retreat Vacation: by Laura Miller at SALON

Let me know if you can think of more!
Hipes, Deborah. What’s New in Young Adult Literature and How to Use it In Your Program Resource Handbook. Bellevue, WA. Bureau of Education & Research. 2008

Twilight Zone. Time Enough at Last. (TV series 1959–1964) (#1.8) The Internet Movie Database. . 2011/ 27 /1.
YALSABK List Serv, Anonymous Posters. January 2011.
Written by Heather Gruenthal