Saturday, August 16, 2008

If you haven't tried the library lately . . .

When I was a little girl, the library was a big deal. My Mom took us to the library all summer long to take part in the summer reading program, and it was a fun tradition for my Dad to take us on Saturdays to pick out new books. I loved it so much that it was even used as an incentive for good behavior: "If you can't behave, you won't go to the library on Saturday."

As an adult, though, I've neglected the library. I've gone to story times here & there with my little ones. I've gone a few times just to check out books. And those few times I've gone, I've incurred fees to the point of throwing up my hands and deciding I'm simply too irresponsible for the library.

Well, this year we re-start our four-year cycle of studying history chronologically. I really want to be able to just give Malachi & Graham actual books to read and let them explore on their own. On top of that, I finally had to be a good steward (and a good wife) and delete my credit card from's stored information. It was simply too dangerous - every time my cart would get up to their $25 minimum for free shipping threshold, I'd order. That might happen once in a month. Or it might happen once in a few days. :-X Sometimes, I'd just order a book on a whim and not even like it when it arrived. So, with a big sigh and a bad attitude, I headed off to the library to pay off our fees and check out some books.

I approached the desk and presented the two cards I needed to pay off: mine and Malachi's. Malachi's fee was $20, just what I was expecting. No problem. I got out another $20 to pay off my card, and the face behind the counter said, "yours is $160." :::eyes wide open::: "$160?" Holy cow, friends! How in the world did it get so HIGH? She ran down the list with me as I listened in shock. I paid $20 and thought about how long it would take to pay the rest of that fine.

Malachi was gone at camp, but Graham, Caris & Canaan carefully chose the two books each I said they could check out. They looked long and they looked hard, and they had their favorites in hand. We approached The Face again and handed her Malachi's card. She asked if Malachi was present and I told her that he was not. Oh - well, we couldn't check out the books on his card without him present. I started to get anxious and said that I would just go ahead and get Caris a card, then. Right. Can't do that without a photo ID. Of *course* I have recently LOST my photo ID. She said to bring in a bill or something with my name and current address on it. We left feeling defeated - the kids disappointed at not leaving with the books they'd chosen and me feeling like I am the world's biggest idiot.

As we left the library, I realized that I had a check in my wallet with my name & address on it! Oooh - hope! I went back in and asked if it would be ok to use that and The Face said, with a Smirk, "yes, with a photo ID." I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell at her. I wanted to disturb the Public Library Peace. And most of all, I wanted to cry. But I didn't. I went home and pouted.

A few days later, Malachi returned home and Graham realized that we could now use Malachi's library card! Hip-hip-hooray! We loaded up and went to a different library, found some books and checked out with no problem at all. During quiet time, I made a few phone calls to library personnel, and guess what? Mrs. Very Nice at the library nearest me? She reduced my fines by HALF! HALF!! I told her I would be in that day to make my next payment.

That afternoon we went back to the library by our house, returned the books we'd just checked out that morning, and got more books. I have to tell you, as I watched my children perusing the hundreds of tempting titles, my baby looking through the baskets of board books, choosing one, and heading over to the pint-sized tables to "read" . . . I fell in love with the library again. I thought, "I cannot BELIEVE we haven't been taking advantage of this all these years."

As I planned out the first weeks of our new school year last week, I asked my friend Liz to walk me through reserving books online. She did, and I requested like 20 books to be sent to my local library. Yesterday 5 of them came in and how awesome was that to just walk in and have my selections waiting for me at the counter?? My kids exchanged books too. As we went through the books they'd been holding for us, Mrs. Very Nice commented on our book selection and I told her that we homeschool and that the books go along with our history lessons. She said, "we have a large homeschooling contingency here! If you ever think of a title that you think would benefit you and your homeschooling friends, please let me know. I'm in charge of ordering for this library and I'd be happy to stock whatever you think would be of benefit to the homeschooling community." WOAH! Thank YOU! She even gave my kids pizza hut coupons that were left over from their summer reading program!

:::swoon::: I love the library!


  1. I dont have a card in my county...I have my previous city and county card on my desk.
    My youngest 2 have been to the library ONCE...on a girlscout field trip to the new library...
    No wait, twice...the other time while waiting for the oldest to finish book club....and they were sooo obnoxious...we sat outside and talked instead.
    But, the new library the kids section is its OWN FLOOR....I keep thinking I might just try that...
    But we did visit the used book store saturday where nathan bought every star wars book he could find...
    I try to make the used book store a regular visiting place especially since I heard the one I spent years of my childhood sitting on their floors was forced out of business.

  2. OH my goodness, such a good reminder Emiles. I forget there are things there for babies. Sort of pathetically, I was determined to find Wiggles dvds for free (they didn't have them, shoot)!

  3. And not to mention...I am SO SORRY about that completely inflexible librarian. Ahhhh sooo frustrating! And mainly for YOUR poor disappointment for the kids. Darn it darn it!