a program of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation

Making Time to Read—From the Experts!

Do you love reading but feel like you never have enough time to pick up a book? You’re not alone—with so many distractions (from work to television to Twitter) competing for our free time, it can be difficult to read as much as much as we would like.

However, the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award panelists are experts at making time to read despite a busy schedule. While evaluating nominations, they often read upwards of ten books per week on top of working full-time and tending to personal commitments. We asked three of our panelists for their top tips on making time to read more books without sacrificing comprehension or enjoyment.

1. Use audiobooks to multitask

“Audiobooks are my favorite way to squeeze in extra books. Downloadable audiobooks and Playaways are really easy to listen to while doing yardwork or house work. I also always have an audiobook on while driving.” –Christi Miller, children’s librarian at Allen County Public Library

2. And use ebooks for on-the-go reading

“Ebooks are great for reading on my phone. It’s really easy to squeeze in a few pages while standing in line or waiting in the doctor’s office.” –Christi Miller

Note: if you’re a cardholder at The Indianapolis Public Library, you can check out ebooks and digital audiobooks from anywhere with an internet connection.

3. Make a habit out of reading every night

“When it comes to reading for purely enjoyment, start reading at night—right before turning in. Even if this only results in a few pages a night, you'll get through more material this way than if you wait for "the perfect" time to sit and read. Over the course of a year, you will read far more books this way than you would have thought possible. (To further help out this strategy, I also recommend turning off Netflix [or any other TV/streaming service] in the evening hours.)” –Stephen Zimmerly, English professor at the University of Indianapolis

4. If you need to read critically, annotate as you go to keep track of your thoughts

“I also suggest annotating when you're looking at something critically—read with a pen or pencil in hand. I hold very few books as sacred, especially if they are paperback. Write in the margins and make notes. If you are fighting time constraints, keeping a written log of your thoughts, reactions, questions and critiques will help you come to conclusions on any number of elements earlier than you otherwise would.” –Stephen Zimmerly

5. Never be afraid to abandon a book you’re not enjoying

“I’m always willing to abandon a book after giving it a chance. Too many readers stall out on a book and feel like they have to finish it before moving on to something else. This leads them to read less.” –Christi Miller

6. Try reading multiple books at the same time

“I read more if I always have something that fits my mood, so I’ll normally have an ebook on my phone, one or two paper books, an audiobook for the car and really exciting audiobook I only listen to while doing chores (which also encourages me to do more around the house. Win-win.)” –Christi Miller

7. Make reading a priority

“It helps to take a few days away from work and do nothing but read!” –Carol Tully Harrison, President of TEI Landmark Audio