Monday, February 20, 2012

The Library Card

I haven't been to the library in about four years b/c the last time I went it seems we managed to rack up over $60 in overdue fines. Figure at a quarter per book per day, even 4 books adds up to $7 in a week. Add into the equation 4 children under the age of 9 and a new house up to the rafters in boxes and, well you can do the math.

But one of the kids needed to reference a book from the honest-to-God library for a school report. So I packed up my pride and most of the kids and drove over to our small-town library and inquired politely at the desk as to whether I still had a vaild card. She clickety-clacked her computer and said (in a rather loud voice for a librarian), "Oh dear, it seems you have some unpaid fines. They're from quite some time ago and it was for a large number of children's books, see?"turning the monitor towads me.

At this point the people behind me are peering at the screen and giving me hoity looks. Trying to retain a shred of dignity, I quickly pull my kids along and tell the librarian, "OK, thanks", with a non-chalant 'I didn't care to check out any books anyway' smile. Not wanting to let it go, she was telling me as I was walking away, "I'm afraid you can't check out anymore books until the fines are paid". I flashed the non-chalant smile once more but kept walking. Actually I walked right on downstairs to the children's section to gather my thoughts, and it was there that I hatched my evil plan.

I casually strolled over to the children's librarian and ever so cooly asked, "If my son wanted to get a library card, would that be through me or something entirely independent?" "Oh, that would be completely independent of you" she replied, oblivious to my scheme. A smile spread across my face as I told her, "Well then my son James here would like to get a library card, please". Before you could say "overdue" she printed out a shiny new card for James. We then took our time moseying through the library, picking out books that interested us and finding the reference books needed for the report. We checked the books out on James' new card, then walked back upstairs to look at one more thing.

Actually, it was just an excuse to walk past the librarian with a pile of books in my arms and watch her puzzled expression out of the corner of my eye.

When I got home, I related the whole story to Patrick. He just looked down at me and said, "You're just takin' down the man, aren't you?"

Now, if we rack up outrageous charges on James' card, we still have Julie. Beyond that, we may just have to adopt a few more children ....

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jlund151 said...

Most libraries have a maximum fine - usually $10 or so where they cap the fines at a reasonable amount. Not sure why your town doesn't do that...

I agree, the point is to get people to use the library and the fines send the wrong message, especially when materials are returned.

I actually have a good friend who is a librarian and she goes in and waives my fines for me. Ssh don't tell... I highly recommend finding a powerful friend like that!

Those $1/day video charges are insane and I have had to avoid the library for awhile myself. If you are late on a few titles, it might have been cheaper to just buy the thing...

Anonymous said...

once i alo jut bought the book..we couldn't find it and when the library said it would cost $3 I wa in..I just racked up $3 in fines. I swear they did not email me my reminder. I put in for text now....i was also about to do without the library..but even with those fine i come out ahead with the 100's of book and videos we have checked out

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