Good morning to all. Today I’ll take a moment to speak to library patrons and anyone else who wants to delve into the deep dark secrets of the library world.
WARNING – this article contains topics of an adult nature, such as how to correctly checkout and return library items.
Library Patron: “But I didn’t think it was that complicated.”
Library Lady: “It’s not, if everyone does it right.”
Here are three ways to make life easier for yourself and your librarian.
1. I’ve Already Returned That
Let’s say you’ve turned in your library books but according to your account, Gone with the Wind and Zombies, is still outstanding.
What? you think. This is not possible. I turned in all my library items, there must be a mistake.
You approach a librarian and say, “I already returned this. I specifically remember putting that exact book in the slot. “
Well, here’s the thing, dear friends, we at the library want to believe you,
but . . . everyone says that. The tune or the lyrics may differ from person to person, but it’s essentially the same song. And guess what? Nine times out of ten, when the person agrees to go home and check around, they find Gone With the Wind and Zombies in their reusable grocery bag, in the trunk of their car, or in their child’s backpack to name a few notorious hiding places.
So here’s what the Library Lady would like you to know. Before you get in a tizzy about a missing library item, do this: look under the couch cushions, on your children’s bookshelf, under beds and between mattresses. Check under the car seats, in stacks of newspapers, and my own personal favorite – in your luggage. (I once paid for a lost book I knew I’d returned, then found it in my suitcase when packing for my next trip.) If after all this you really can’t find it – come on in and let’s talk.
2. I Never Checked This Out
“A Mermaid’s Kiss? I would never check out a children’s book. I only read mysteries. This is definitely a mistake.”
I get this. Why? Because it happens all the time. Once again I’ve done it myself. You look at an item on your account and think, what is this! After becoming all hot under the collar and fuming about the injustice of someone else’s book getting checked out on your card, you stumble across that very item in your work locker or on your coffee table underneath the magazines.
“Ohhhh, that Mermaid’s Kiss.”
What the Library Lady would like you to know: If you have an item on your account that doesn’t ring a bell, Google it, or look it up on Amazon. There you’ll find a cover picture and description. If you’re still sure you never checked the item out – come on in, we’ll talk.
3. It Was Like This When I Got It
Oh the stories I could tell, but I won’t (tell all of them) because I love book people and wouldn’t want them to think I was amused by their antics. One patron returned five children’s books which all had purple felt pen coloring in them. The father of the budding artist was convinced the books were like that when he checked them out. Unfortunately, the odds are pretty slim that out all of the books in the library he chose the five which were identically felt penned.
We’ve had books returned with so much water damage they wouldn’t even close.
“But it was like this when I got it.”
Believe me, it wasn’t. Nothing like that goes back on the shelves. Cover ripped off and dangling by a thread, stove burner imprint melted into the cover of the book, crushed with tire marks across pages 73 and 74 – same answer.
Of course, nobody’s perfect least of all the Library Lady. Some times things slip by and a patron gets home with a problem which really was not their fault.
What the Library Lady would like you to know: Before you take things home from the library, look at them carefully. Open DVD and CD cases to see if the discs are really in there. Check children’s and other books for damage – coloring, torn pages etc. Then, If you accidentally get home with a damaged item, call us right away, and we’ll talk.
The whole idea of a public library is to get great books and media into the hands of great people. Hopefully this little reminder will make that process easier and more positive for all.
Have you ever lost a library item then found it in a weird place? I’d love to hear about it – I’m keeping a list of places for people to look.
Going on a trip? Always check for cool libraries at your destination. You never know what treasures you’ll find – Spectacular Libraries of Paris.