Pete Gilbert">

Daughter has a Library Card, Dad has a Delinquent Account

As the school year is coming to an end, my daughter’s school does a really neat thing to encourage reading over the summer. They send home forms for kids to get a public library card. The form gets filled out by the parent, returned to the school, the school sends it to the public library and the library mails it to our house. Simple enough right?

My daughter was super excited about the idea of having her very own library card. She returned the form to school in the morning and came home later that day asking if it arrived in the mail yet. After two straight weeks of asking as soon as she got off the bus, it finally arrived.

You would have thought it was Christmas at our house.

Then a little bit of panic set in. “Dad, it says sign back of card. Do I sign my first name only? Can I sign first and middle name? Which purse should I keep my library card in?” After deciding to sign first and last name, and choosing her small denim purse that looks like a skirt, we planned for a library trip the very next day.

On day two, the excitement of owning a library card was showing no signs of wearing off. On our drive over to the library my daughter was so anxious to get there she asked if we could sell our house again and this time move closer to the library.

Once we got there, Eloise was quick to send me with her younger sister and brother to the “baby section,” then she headed straight to the American Girl and Junie B. Jones books. Next, she flagged down a librarian just to tell her about the new library card in her possession. After about 20 minutes of looking around she had already gone three books over her self-imposed limit of five.

It was time to check out.

By then I collected several books for the other kids too, but Eloise was adamant about checking out her books on her card and the rest of the books on my card. I was next to her at the self-checkout helping her through the process, then it was my turn. As I scanned my card a prompt came up, $15 lost book fine, please see attendant. Good grief. There is a little back story to this. To make a long story short, the library thinks I lost a book that I never checked out. I’d been ignoring it because I was still able to check out books, until now. The powers that be in the library must have had enough of my shenanigans.

For a brief moment I thought about using my daughter’s card to check out my library books too. There were two reasons I didn’t. First, even if I would have been able to pry my daughter’s card from her iron clad grip, she most likely would have tattled on me to the librarians for not using my own card. Second, using my daughter’s library card, because mine was delinquent, seemed about as shady as the people that open a line of credit up in their kids’ names because their own credit is too bad to get a credit card.

I swallowed my pride and made my way to the attendant. I told her the long version of why the library considered me a delinquent. She then got her supervisor and I had to tell her the same long story again. By this time, my kids are certain I’m in trouble and my son thinks I’m going to get arrested over the whole ordeal.

This library trip was turning into a disaster. My oldest daughter was still telling everyone she met about her new library card. My son was getting sad because he thought I was headed to jail. My youngest, who still thinks she needs to be held all the time like a baby, kept trying to take the books out of my hand so she could throw them on the floor.

FINALLY, the supervisor had mercy on me, cleared the $15 fine from my account and sent us on our way. I’m not sure she really believed my story, I think she just want me and my family out of the library as fast as possible.

-Pete

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