Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about the Books by Snail service, you may find an answer in the list below. If your question does not appear on this page, call our direct line at 573-817-7092 or the Columbia Public Library at 1-800-324-4806. You may also email us at [email protected].

Registering for Books by Snail

Returning Books

Other Common Questions

Registering for Books by Snail

Who can participate in Books by Snail? Kids entering kindergarten through twelfth grade in the following areas: Auxvasse, Hallsville, Harrisburg, Hatton, Kingdom City, Mokane, New Bloomfield, Sturgeon or Williamsburg.

How do I register? Fill out our registration form and tell us what you want to read. You may also call us at 573-817-7092 and we can sign you up over the phone.

How does BBS work? After registering on the website, the Books by Snail staff double check all your information to make sure you qualify, and then they start selecting your books. During registration we ask for information about what kind of books you like and if you have specific requests. We check those books out to your library card and send them to you in the mail in a blue bag. Once you finish reading your bag of books, complete the re-order form. Put the re-order form and the books back in the bag, flip the mailing label and put the bag in the mailbox. Once we get your bag of books and re-order form back, we'll send you more books!

I've moved but participated last year. Can I do BBS again? That depends on where you moved to. You can participate again if you moved to one of the following areas: Auxvasse, Hallsville, Harrisburg, Hatton, Kingdom City, Mokane, New Bloomfield, Sturgeon, or Williamsburg. If you're not sure, email us and we can help!

I forgot to return my books from last year! Can I still participate in the program? Of course! The really neat thing about our library is that we don't have overdue fines. So, if you return any long-overdue books, all charges will be taken off your account. If you lost a book from last year, give us a call and we'll figure something out.

Returning Books

How should I send books back when I have more than one bag? If there's room, then you can stuff everything into one bag, including your additional bag. Otherwise, you can split the difference between the bags and mail them all separately.

I mailed a bag and the books haven't been checked in yet. It takes a few days for the post office to get your books back to us, so don't worry! If it's been more than a week, then you can call or email us and we'll take care of it.

My sibling and I sent our bags back on the same day, but they got theirs back first. Why? Sometimes when looking for the perfect book to send you, we'll have to transport it from a different library branch, which can take an extra day. If your books are taking a little longer, that just means they're going to be extra special.

My books are almost due, but I'm not done. What should I do? The library will automatically renew your checked out items on their due date if they are eligible for renewal. You can also actively renew your books. Read more about renewing your books here.

Other Common Questions

A book has been purchased for me. How long will it take for it to be mailed? This can take a few weeks from the time we place the order to its delivery at the library, then it must be processed into the catalog, and finally, we send it to you. However, we'd love to send you some similar titles while you wait for your special copy!

What if I don't like my books? Then let us know, and we'll try again! The more descriptive you can be with your return sheet, then the better our selections will be. There's nothing more exciting for us than to figure out what your personal “style” is and get you great books!

When do I get my hold? If your hold arrives and we're already working on a bag for you, then we'll add it to the bag. If your hold arrives afterward, then we'll send it as a special delivery!

Why am I getting the same books as last year? Oops! Sometimes if you request books like "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," we'll send you a similar series like Big Nate, without realizing that you read the whole Big Nate series last year! Let us know when you return your bag, and we'll find you different fun books instead.

What if I get books that aren't on my reading level? Remember when you first registered and one of the questions was “A book I enjoyed reading?” Well, if you enjoyed reading "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus," and you're in second grade, then we're probably going to send you more picture books than chapter books. When you send back your books, please tell us more titles you've enjoyed reading that are on your reading level. Help us help you!

Can you send me DVDs or books on CD? Sorry, but our Books by Snail program is only for books!

If you have a question that did not appear on this list, call our direct line at 573-817-7092 or the Columbia Public Library at 1-800-324-4806. You may also email us at [email protected].