When I was growing up it cost fifty cents to put a hold on a book. Because of this large cost I never did that, not even when the sequel to Gone With the Wind came out. I can remember my dad putting a hold on a book once. Now, thanks to computers, I get 90% of my books from the hold shelf.
Though I enjoy looking up books in the catalog and finding them in the stacks, as well as wandering the fiction stacks to happen upon a new author or series, I have to say I love the hold system more. Sure, it takes the random happenstance out of the library process, but our library has many enthusiastic patrons and also has many branches which means that if you have a certain book in mind it is most likely either 1) checked out or 2) checked out at your branch but available at another branch. Because of this, it is much easier to just find the book online and place a hold. Then the kindly library employees get to to your branch, place it on a shelf for you and send you an email letting you know the book is ready. All this is free! Free!
The central library branch has been my branch since I moved here in 2001. When the new Kenton branch opens I will change branches, but it will be with a heavy heart. I love going weekly into that great structure. When I first started picking up holds at the library, someone named Collins, Melanie Dee also had a lot of holds. I would see her books every time I went in to pick up my holds. I thought one day I would run into her, but she disappeared. Or at least her holds did. She has been replaced by Collins, Callie Jo. Perhaps I will encounter her one day. Or perhaps not. Strangely, I never look to see what either of my hold-mates read. It seems a bit voyeuristic.