“There is a problem with your account.”
“Please see a librarian for assistance.”
It happened again! My overdue fees had exceeded the $25.00 mark(don’t judge- just don’t!) yet again and now I was going to have to make that walk of shame up to the check- out desk and well, it could not be a worse time….my mother was with me!
My mother, who checks out just as many books as I do, but somehow manages to keep them all in one place and never pay fines.
“Of course I pay fines,” she corrected me. “Last week I had a fine of eighty cents and thank goodness I had cash on me to get that taken care of.”
I just don’t know how the library puts up with me. They even let me volunteer there.
My husband insists the library not only puts up with me, but loves me. He says he has done the math and roughly a quarter of our yearly income goes to overdue fees.
As I tuned out my mother’s lecture while driving home, I got to thinking about my lifelong adventures with books and bookstores and libraries and reading…and it was a nice something to think about.
When I look at my family of readers and how we use the library, we couldn’t be more different.
My oldest son, once he learned how to read, quickly adopted the “been there -done that” attitude toward the library. He does not read for pleasure. I can’t complain too much about this because he is doing very well in college and has gotten us lots of nice scholarships. But he is not a library user. He views walking into those hallowed halls with all the excitement of standing in line at the DMV.
My youngest son is an ambitious reader, to say the least.
Joe– I think I will check out this large book of ancient cartography essays in the original Greek.
Me– Can you read Greek?
Joe– I’m sure there are footnotes….
My husband is a focused, determined plodder.
He finds a book he wants online, checks to make sure it is available, sets a date and time to go pick up the book, picks up the one book only and proceeds to the electronic check out system, reads the whole book(no matter if he finds it dull or boring–he has made a commitment!), renews his check in date if needed and returns said book to the exact same library. And he also refuses to let me use his card to check out anything!! EVER!!!
My mother, of the no fines, checks out lots of books at a single time. She loves fiction and devours mysteries and historical fiction. She can work that library card of hers on the computer like nobodies business.
Renew this one, put a hold on that one…she has the surgical precision of an air traffic controller.
And then there is me.
The last time I was at the library and paying my $25.00 fine, my stack of books included a book about reading books, one about how classical education has changed over the years, a book giving the main points of six major world religions, a book about the discovery of cave paintings and one about a woman who rehabbed injured song birds.
Remember what I said about judging!
And they are all wonderful!
Now you may be asking how I can’t keep track of them…well, it’s like this….
I might take one in the car to read while I wait to pick up Joe or I might have one in the kitchen to read while I make dinner. Lot’s of times I take them out on the porch or into my bedroom or shove them in a tote bag for time at the coffee shop.
Well, they end up all over the place.
But I do get them back to the library eventually!
And if any of my money goes to the support the wonderful institution which allows me to explore my world and the wonderful, wonderful librarians who never once have gotten upset with me—then it’s money well spent!