Earlier this week the whole family went to our local library. I am a huge fan of the library. Have been going there regularly since I was a child. I love it there. I have a crush on the library. (Well, in high school I had a crush on a guy who worked at the library, but close enough.)
But sometimes I can take it for granted. Sometimes I lose books. Well, the children lose books. Or our house eats them. Or they get left outside and it rains. Sometimes I keep them too long. I have overdue fines. Sometimes I have to pay for the aforementioned damages. Let's be honest. Not sometimes. Lately it's all the time.
I allow my children to get a library card when they are in Kindergarten. They have to be willing to write their own name on the back of their card and sign the paper. It is an exciting milestone for us all. This year Penelope got hers.
I have learned how to work the system. Once a librarian who liked me leaned forward over the desk and told me in a whisper that they have a one-day grace period. They don't advertise this, but you won't get late fees until the second day late. So I use this. Regularly.
Also I know that I can turn things in late Monday night, and our branch will count them as if they are turned in Saturday, since they are closed Sunday and Monday. I use this too. Regularly. (Actually, I have been known to wake up early and drive to the library to turn them in Tuesday morning before they open. Pathetic, I know.)
I am pretty good to check online to help me keep track of the high volume of check-outs. I make lists of what we have due and we go hunting all over the house until we have crossed them all off. The children pass the blame of who was last seen with a book we can't find. They tell me there are no more in their room and I go unearth three from under the bed.
I get emails telling me when things are nearly due or overdue. Sometimes I glance at them. Usually I pretend they're not there. It stresses me out.
This week I didn't have time to look online and make lists and search high and low. I just did my best and hoped for the best. Did we get it all? Surely not. I know how this goes.
When it was time to check out I opened my wallet. I didn't want to have to pay any fines. It can be embarrassing. I want to give large home school families a good name. I flipped through my library cards. Mine. Jackson. Libby. Cash. Penelope. Which one has fines? Which one has a lost book? Which one should I hand to the librarian?? I had to pick quick.
It was like I was a shopaholic flipping through my maxed out credit cards.
I chose Penelope. Hers is new. Surely we haven't tainted it yet...
The librarian paused and looked at her screen. Something is amiss...
I only owed a dollar! Exhale.
But each card can only check out 50 items. If I went over 50, I'd have to go into my wallet for another card. And surely I wouldn't be as lucky.
As I placed the items on the counter, I counted them. I wasn't sure, I couldn't tell...I had already given her some things before I started counting. But I thought I had 49. Would she ask me for another card? The suspense...
No. I made it out. We all lived to see another day at the library.
It's all worth it to be entertained by things that don't light up or make noises.
Check out a book. Read!
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