I have an excel spreadsheet with all the titles and authors I want to read (currently at 250+) and only make requests or take books out about 2-3 at a time.
Lately, not at all, however, bcz I am just lacking the time to read them. (I'm still working on the fluffy 200 page romance I started when I was in the hospital giving birth to the kiddo, which was 7 weeks ago!)
I'm truly awful with library books. My library service has a limit of 24 books per borrower & I'm almost always nearly at my limit. Luckily I work for the library service so I don't have to pay overdues if I forget to renew stuff (which happens more than you would considering I work in the library) but I try not to hand on to reserved items because I feel bad for the other people waiting!
I feel I should take a leaf out of your book & try to cut down on the amount of books I reserve!
I figure it's a pretty harmless addiction. My hold list is always really long (I think I have about 25 things on it right now), but then I'm in 75th and 120th place on some of the books, so they (usually) come in pretty well spread out. During the school semester, most of the holds I add are audiobooks (for the drive to and from school), movies, CDs, or books that go back unread. I have no plans to curtail my library habit anytime soon. ;-) (This semester so far is a little less intense than last semester was as far as studying goes, so I might actually be able to continue to, you know, READ BOOKS FOR FUN over the next 17 weeks. I'm so excited.)
I've found Goodreads is very helpful for this. I've got to have at least a hundred books on my "to-get" list, and I reserve my "to-read" list for books that are actually in my possession, but I haven't cracked open yet. I've also got those two lists, and my "currently reading" and "read" lists, set to be mutually exclusive, so that a book can only be on one of those lists at any given time. This means that when I put a book from my "to-get" list on my "to-read" list, it automatically jumps off my "to-get" list, and so on.
And, I don't know about your library, but I believe the Boston Public Library website had a "list" function that was distinct from actual requests. I assume you'd already be aware of it if the site did, though! :)
Oh, yes, I have this problem. It's worse, even, because at my library I ORDER the books. ;-) This is actually why I started my Goodreads account -- I put books in my queue there rather than placing them on hold at the library, so I remember that I want to read them but don't end up with 87 books at once!
NYPL has a 10-item cap on holds. it's a blessing and a curse. i wait antsy for them to come in so i can fill it up again. this works most of the time.. except when the majority come in at once and i'm faced with 3 500+ page novels and 2 knitting books a cookbook and work deadlines. my goodreads "to-read" list has become my "hold" list. i currently have only 249 books on it and i have a pile of notes of books to read that haven't made it in yet....
Heh, I haven't taken books out of the library in a while, but I used to have the same problem. I still read a lot, don't get me wrong. I just own all the books I need to read. We have this GREAT second-hand books store here in Nashua. Of course, that means there is less and less space for Joey in my room as more and more of it gets taken up by the books on my to read list. But I love being the family librarian.
When I DID go to the library though, I considered myself their best PAYING patron, because I was always late bringing books back.
You can do it. I have the same problem, and keeping a "to read" list is really helpful. I try to keep my request list fairly small, because I hate to think I'm tying up requests for other people who might want them. So the only time I go over my "hold list" limit is when it's a prepub, and I want to be at the top of the list once it starts circulating.