Calling all bibliophiles with online public library access: my favourite new research tool is Jon Udell's LibraryLookup bookmarklet.
Once installed on your browser, it allows you to use Amazon's search and recommendation power to find interesting books, and then immediately jump to your local library's site, checking ISBN matches to see if they have a book in their system. If you're lucky, they may let you order it to the closest branch. (Note: You'll need to figure out what online software your library uses.)
In a recent fit of landscape-architecture research, I ordered the contents of my Amazon wishlist (used primarily for bookmarking) from the Toronto Public Library, and a few days later went up the road and picked up a stack of books that almost knocked my bike right over. Besides all the reasons to advocate book-sharing, I'd argue that this is even a good thing for Amazon, since it lets you spend some time with big, expensive books before deciding to buy them.
From the latest catch, some new and old:
Plan B / Lester Brown (see Jamais' review here)
Inevitable Surprises / Peter Schwartz
A Field Guide to Sprawl / Dolores Hayden
The Natural Step for Communities / Sarah James
Reinventing the Garden: Chaumont-Global Inspirations / Louisa Jones
Radical Landscapes: Reinventing Outdoor Space / Jane Amidon
The Hidden Connections / Fritjof Capra
Land and Environmental Art / Jeffrey Kastner, ed.
Permaculture: A Designer's Manual / Bill Mollison
The Self-Made Tapestry / Philip Ball
Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use / Von Weizsacker, Lovins, & Lovins
Power to the People / Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran
Half of the entries on my Amazon wish list have memo fields reading "Reminder to look this up at the library."
I can't wait to try this.