Friday, September 14, 2007

Mea Culpa

I am having relationship troubles with the library. What was once a source of unmitigated joy has become a source of guilt, resentment and dread. I think we need to go in for counseling.

The central issue is a book that got a little wet at the edge on its way to being returned, due to a leaking water jug in the car. Unfortunately I didn't notice it until it was on the return stack, when I exclaimed in astonishment, "Oh dear, it got wet!" A librarian in the vicinity must have taken note of it, because she tracked me down later and explained the book was irreparably damaged and I would have to pay for it--$22--but it was good of me to be so honest about it. We didn't have cash on us that night, so she checked it back out to us. And DOB pointed out that if I had thought not to say anything, we could have taken it back home and seen how well we could dry it out before we talked to them. But I don't have quite the radar for Not Getting In Trouble that he has.

It seemed worthwhile to take it back and see how it dried out anyway. So we carefully dried it, pages fanned, and then I carefully ironed each page with a dry iron. The end result was pretty good--it looked about as good as any book from the library that's been read a half-dozen times.
If you carefully examined the back pages, you could see a little wrinkling, but that was all.

Unfortunately, the same librarian was in the next week. And she was certain--even before she looked at the book--that it would not do. No, the whole book would have to be thrown out, and we would have to pay for it. Understand, there's no mold or stuck pages or blurred words involved. The back pages are very slightly wrinkled. That's all. If this is the standard for replacing books, it must have been implemented very recently, because I have often checked out books with crumpled pages, scribbles, and even ripped-out parts. Or they just penalize honest people.

Maybe not so honest~I'm going to iron those pages one more time and we're going to take it to the branch it originally came from and hope for a more merciful, or less picky, librarian. A fine for damaging the book would be one thing, but we didn't destroy it!

Meanwhile, there's a book the library shows me as having checked out that I am all but absolutely certain that I returned. I keep renewing it, hoping it will turn up on their shelf or mine. I keep checking places to see if the ducklings pulled it out of the return bag and lost it somewhere, but I'm about out of places to look. It's not a small book that can easily slide into obscure places. I know there's something you can do to claim you returned the book, but I'm not very optimistic about a positive outcome after the other experience.

And on top of all this, I just realized I forgot to renew books on Monday, which is the day I always renew everything for the upcoming week. So there's five days of fines on a dozen books that are absolutely, unquestionably, irrevocably, completely my fault.

Now I dread even going to the library and I hardly dare reserve any new books. That one librarian is going to start haunting my dreams soon.


Meredith said...

I'm having a similar problem.

I let Andrew take out two board books of "Max and Ruby"--titles I wouldn't pick in a million years.

Now the library counts them as lost, even though I'm certain I returned them. We turned the whole house upside down.

I wouldn't mind paying for them so much if they were worthy books. If they do indeed turn up among our things someday, I'll be so mad.

Queen of Carrots said...

Yes, unfortunately it's never the obscure, hard-to-find, but oh-so-fabulous books that get misplaced.

Eric and Wendy said...

That reminds me, I'm in trouble with our library, too! Why is it that whether we take out 10 books or 75 (our max to date), there is always 1 book we can't find?

I do end up paying for maybe 2 books a year, and maybe an exta $5-$10 in fines, but with as much as we use the library, it''s still a fabulous bargain!

chickadee said...

don't even get me started on the library, the fines i've paid and the books i've lost. i consider my fines to be my yearly dues.
and i really topped myself last week when i washed a book in the washing machine! i haven't told the library yet.

Steve said...

Books are not so often a stumbling block - at least they'll be in Heaven!

You'll have to put a PayPal logo on your site to raise money for fines and ever-so-slightly-wrinkled books.

Joy said...

Hmmm, I'm reading this entry just when I got a notice from the library for three overdue books! My initial response - but I've been soooo careful!!! I'm sure I returned them. My second response to my dd - this is an author you read, go and see if you have the books! Thoughts in the middle of all this - I'll never go to the library again! Final response - ok, it was our fault, when dd finds the books, tells me they were ds's and yes, we forgot to bring them back... ugh. I wonder if he even read them...

Thanks for visiting my blog :) I've left a response to your questions in the comment section.

My youngest ds would love your blog, by the way. He loves carrots - and when asked what he wanted in his own veggie plot - "Carrots, and only carrots!"



SongBirdy said...

Oh I have to say... I have a HUGE fine right now...

Sigh! So much for changing routines... because that's where the fine went.

As regards to returning a book, GO and SEARCH the library really well.

I've had this happen to me 3 times and each time I did find the book back on the library shelves.

Of course the time spent searching was huge but I felt vindicated!

Hope you find the book too!

Bruce said...

When I'm thrust by insistent mobs into my rightful position as Semi-Benevolent World Dictator, #1 on my To-Do List is: Library overdue fines will be tax-deductible.

Queen of Carrots said...

The trouble with searching the shelves is that the book came from another library; I have no idea which one. I do most of my reserving online and the books come from all over the county.

Julie said...

One time I renewed our books online for two weeks. What I did not know is that our library card expired in the middle of those two weeks. I went to the library and told the lady that I had renewed them, I had the receipt and everything she still made me pay half.
Now I will tell you. I pay fines monthly. I dont have a problem paying them. I was not happy paying what I thought I did not owe. LOL.
Also I sometimes wonder where they get the prices for these books. I lost a Janette Oke book one of her older ones. I found a copy on Amazon brand new for $9.99. They made me pay $39.99 for the book. They would not let me replace it either, I had to pay them for it.
Sorry, this is my thorn in the flesh...the library! LOL